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Car reviews - GWM - Ora


We like
Price, eager acceleration, decent fit and finish, value for money, good on-paper range, Tesla-like infotainment and instrument screens
Room for improvement
Soft suspension, slow and over assisted steering, boot space, wind noise, rear seat headroom, real world range an unknown quantity

We drive the GWM Ora, Australia’s most affordable EV, from under $45K drive-away

9 Feb 2023

GREAT Wall Motors (GWM) recently announced pricing for its Ora all-electric hatch, the $44,490 drive-away model undercutting the MG ZS EV by $500 to take the title of Australia’s most-affordable battery electric vehicle (BEV).


First shipments of the five-door model – which is sold in other markets as the Ora Good Cat or Funky Cat – are expected in April. The vehicle will be known simply as the GWM Ora in the Australia and New Zealand markets.


Available with two battery options, a 48kWh unit offering 310km driving range (WLTP) or a 63kWh unit offering 420km (WLTP), the Ora may be charged from 10 to 80 per cent in as little as 41 minutes.


Power outputs are listed at 126kW and 250Nm, delivered to the front wheels, with selectable one-pedal operation. For comparison, the MG ZS EV sends 130kW and 280Nm to its front wheels and has a 320km claimed range.


Overseas, the Ora is claimed to offer a 0-100km/h time of 8.3 seconds.


The GWM Ora is comparable in size to the Nissan Leaf (priced from $50,990 + ORC with outputs of 110kW/320Nm and 270km claimed range), measuring 4235mm long, 1603mm high, 1825mm wide and with a wheelbase of 2650mm.


Offered in three grades – Ora Standard Range, Ora Extended Range and Ora GT (to be available later) – the line-up includes a long list of standard equipment and “almost every conceivable safety feature” as standard, says GWM Australia.


The model is offered with a five-star EuroNCAP safety rating and GWM is said to be working closely with ANCAP towards updating this classification for Australia and New Zealand.


More details on the Ora range, including full specification and pricing, is available here.


Like all GWM products, the Ora range is backed by a seven-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty with five years of roadside assistance and capped-price servicing. The battery receives warranty coverage for eight years.




Driving Impressions


Like the GWM Tank 300 Hybrid sampled recently, our experience with the Ora was more taste test than comprehensive drive, and this ‘review’ should be treated as such – at least until we spend more time behind the wheel.


That said, a short spin around the Australian Automotive Research Centre in Wensleydale, Victoria did provide an idea of the Ora’s ride, handling and performance that shows a focus on value for money, a refreshing change for those wanting an electric car without the hefty price tag.


As a competitor to the likes of the Cupra Born, forthcoming Fiat 500e, MG4 and Volkswagen ID.3, the GWM Ora is an interesting looker that offers generous levels of equipment for the price. It is seemingly well screwed together with finish and materials quality we would classify as very good for the coin.


Perhaps it’s that “for the coin” phrase that needs to be front of mind when considering the Ora. This is not an electric car that competes at the higher end of the food chain. Instead, this is a budget friendly model that should be considered as such.


Jumping in the for a dash around the AARC’s high-speed loop we found the Ora is quick to spin the front wheels from a brisk standing start, perhaps showing less refinement in power delivery than some EVs we’ve sampled previously. It gets up to speed rather well, but once there shows a little wind noise from the wing mirrors, expected tyre hum, and just a little bit of suspension float.


In finding a couple of corners around the back of the AARC complex it’s the softness of suspension that proves to be the Ora’s shortfall. Body control is quite variable when progressing through tightening corners, the slow, light steering doing little to promote confidence. 


You might say the Ora is best suited to city streets, and not challenging proving ground test roads. Which for most is probably no big deal. Sportier EVs are available after all, and the lower end of the market certainly needs more electric offerings. We’d just like to see a more composed ride, one perhaps that benefits from localised tuning…


Still, there are good points to the Ora some EV manufacturers have yet to master. The brake pedal feel, for example, is nicely metered with decent assistance, and the one-pedal mode is as good as any we’ve sampled elsewhere.


And while we didn’t sample the nuances of the Ora’s human machine interface (largely due to the fact it was still in Mandarin), the screens did present with a Tesla-like clarity we found impressive considering the vehicle’s price.


The seating and steering wheel adjustment was very good, and although the steering wheel felt rather large, it is well positioned to offer a good view of the instrument cluster, which we’re sure many buyers will appreciate. The screen itself looks a little busy, but again, this could be a result of the information being presented in the Ora’s native tongue, and not one with which we were familiar.


Materials inside the cabin are of an expected quality for the price, which is to say a little plasticky. However, the assembly quality is as good as we’ve experienced elsewhere from Chinese brands and should prove durable – and easy to keep clean.


Storage options are plentiful and accommodation generally good, though taller drivers may find rear-seat headroom a little on the short side. Further back, the Ora offers 228 litres of cargo space, which is ample for a weekly shop, but not as generous as some of the rivals we listed earlier, which may prove problematic for those wanting greater practicality.


Overall, however, it must be said that the GWM Ora offers a lot for the money. The level of safety equipment offered here is exceptional for the price, as is the range-for-money equation (we can’t really say ‘bang-for-buck’; anymore, can we?) and city-sized pragmatism.


We’ll be very keen to see how the range claims stack up in the real world too.


Once we have spent a little more time behind the wheel, and in an environment perhaps better suited to its role, we’d be keen to see just how well the Ora fits the bill for savvy EV buyers.


Watch this space.


Model release date: 1 April 2023

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