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Ora Funky Cat in the test: charm offensive from China


The Ora Funky Cat from China looks cute and playful. A few clever details make the small electric car currently perhaps the most exciting Chinese model - but with a real weakness.

First impressions:

From the front, the Ora Funky Cat looks like an old Mini, with those bug-eyed headlights.

The humped rear he has more of the VW Beetle.

And then in pastel colors!

The manufacturer calls it »retro-futurism«.

And that friendly style is striking - especially since so many other new cars come along with a much rougher face.

That's what the manufacturer says:

Funky Cat - that's an unusual name for European ears.

In China, next to the dog, the cat is man's best friend.

So it's no wonder that »Haomao«, which is the original model name, is translated as »good cat«.

The desired friendship between driver and vehicle should grow over the years, says Ora-GWM spokesman Jörg Machalitzky, referring to the artificial intelligence of the cars.

Not only is it constantly expanding the vocabulary of voice control, but it also constantly looks at the driver with a small camera.

The Funky Cat should eventually recognize the mood of the person behind the wheel and react with the right music, for example.

However, Ora knows that there is a certain skepticism in Germany about this form of human-machine relationship - especially when it is maintained on Chinese servers.

"That's why it can all be deactivated," promises Machalitzky.

We noticed that

while the dialogue with other manufacturers always starts the same way, Funky Cat can be given every imaginable name.

Instead of »Hey Mercedes«, »Alexa!« or »Hey Siri«, it works in the car with »Scharz«, »Miss Müller« or »Hi Buddy«.

Voice control also has more to offer than most of its competitors.

Not only can it be used to control infotainment and automatic climate control, it also opens the trunk when called.

And if things get boring while driving, the car tells jokes or entertains the passengers with riddles.

Sounds silly, but it can help - especially when an electric car charges as slowly as the Funky Cat.

As solid as the kitten can be driven, as well-balanced suspension and steering are tuned and as fast and fluid as the small car tiger through city traffic - it is as lame as it is at the socket.

More than 67 kW direct current are not possible, so that despite the rather small battery, it takes an agonizingly long 48 minutes until the battery is at least 80 percent full.

In return, the Ora beats the German electric entry-level models in a different discipline: the choice of materials is noticeably higher quality than that of the VW ID.3, for example.

The design also shows more attention to detail and the list of equipment, some of which are optional, is longer.

In any case, massage seats like the Funky Cat are still a rarity in this class, just like the TV reception.

Only in the competition for the largest display does Ora not participate and is limited to a relatively small screen behind the steering wheel and a second one that extends over the center console in the same frame.

You have to know that:

Ora is the lifestyle brand of the Chinese conglomerate Great Wall Motor and is distributed in Germany by the Swiss Emil Frey Group, which also imports brands such as Mitsubishi and Subaru.

Emil Frey Germany already has around 140 dealers under contract and wants to expand the network to 200 partners by the end of the year.

Together, around 6,000 Ora cars are to be sold.

With a length of 4.23 meters, the five-door is about as big as a VW Golf, but offers noticeably more space inside.

This is mainly due to the so-called skateboard platform with the battery in the floor of the car and the drive close to the axles.

Great Wall uses this platform for numerous electric models, including the electric version of the new Mini that BMW is having the Chinese build.

For the time being, Ora is planning two configurations of the Funky Cat for the German market, both of which are equipped with a front engine with an output of 126 kW: for the entry-level price of 38,990 euros, there is a 48 kWh battery (range 310 kilometers).

A battery with a storage capacity of 63 kWh is installed from 44,490 euros (range 420 kilometers).

We won't forget that:

the posh toggle switches at the foot of the center console.

They can be used to turn on the air conditioning or the windscreen heater.

They look wonderfully retro in such a futuristic car - and are a pretty blatant salute to the Mini.

Apparently, the copy-cat factor hasn't completely disappeared from China cars.

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2023-01-26

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