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Ora Good Cat Test Drive: Upmarket RM140k Electric Hatchback
December 1, 2022 Andrew Cheng

The EV market in Malaysia is steadily growing as more brands are bringing in their lineup of electrified vehicles to our shores. One such brand is Great Wall Motor (GWM), which just launched the Ora Good Cat earlier this week.

Touted as the most affordable EV in Malaysia with a RM139,800 starting price, I managed to take the electric hatchback out for a spin for a few hours. Despite being the “cheapest” EV in Malaysia, the hatchback does not feel cheap at all…for the most part.

First, let’s talk about the Ora Good Cat’s equipment first. Two variants of the EV are offered in Malaysia: the 400 Pro base model goes for RM139,800, and it offers up to 400km of range from its 47.8kWh lithium iron phosphate battery. The higher-end 500 Ultra variant, on the other hand, has a larger 63.1kWh ternary lithium cell (up to 500km range) for RM169,800.

Beyond its range, the Ora Good Cat can be charged – with a DC fast charger – from 30% to 80% in only 32 minutes or 40 minutes for the 400 Pro and 500 Ultra models respectively. It also has an electric motor driving the front wheels that offers a respectable 143PS and 210Nm of torque.

Other specifications of the Ora Good Cat include a 7-inch digital instrument cluster, a 360-degree surround camera, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, traffic jam assist, 18-inch alloy wheels, synthetic leather upholstery, as well as a 10.25-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support.

In pictures, the Ora Good Cat looks like a cute, relatively compact electric hatchback. But in person, the EV is actually quite sizeable! In fact, measuring 4,235mm long and 1,825mm wide, it’s actually wider than, say, the latest Honda City Hatchback, though the B-segment car is a bit longer by 110mm.

In short, the Ora Good Cat is certainly not a small car; I reckon it can comfortably accommodate four adults on a road trip too. Its ground clearance is also slightly higher than a typical hatchback, to the point where it almost feels like a crossover of sorts.

And then we have the interior of the Ora Good Cat, which is excellent. There are plenty of soft touch points inside the cabin, and the design elements both look and feel great. For an EV at this price point, the quality of the interior is definitely a class above – it feels very, very premium.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the infotainment system’s software. It is not intuitive to navigate, it feels quite sluggish, and some settings can only be accessed here. If I want to adjust the air-conditioning, for example, I have to go through a number of menu before I can do so.

Yes, there are no physical buttons for climate control. Even volume control is limited to the steering wheel and infotainment screen. Not exactly a great user experience.

But what the Ora Good Cat lacks in practicality is made up by its driving dynamics, in my opinion. The instant 210Nm of torque from the electric motor, for one, is great to quickly get up to speed. I even get pushed back into the seat when I put my foot down on the accelerator pedal – the perk of an EV with a lot of torque to offer.

The ride quality of the Ora Good Cat is refined as well. Despite its large 18-inch alloy wheels, it still offers a comfortable ride. This comes at the expense of noticeable body roll, unfortunately enough, but for folks who aren’t driving enthusiasts, they’ll definitely appreciate the smooth ride of this electric hatchback.

As for the handling of the Ora Good Cat, it’s good enough. While I do wish the steering was quicker and less numb for a more dynamic driving experience, it does feel adequate for city driving, which is (probably) where the EV will spend most of its time in.

Last but not least is the ADAS capability of the Ora Good Cat. The steering assist – albeit a touch too aggressive for my liking – can negotiate even tight corners quite well. The ADAS will even slow the car down as it approaches any given corner; very nice.

However, the adaptive cruise control of the Ora Good Cat does have room for improvement. Not only is the braking not as smooth as it should be (it’s quite sudden), it leaves too big of a gap between the lead car in slow-moving traffic as well, even when I’ve selected the shortest distance.

Nonetheless, there’s no denying the premium appeal of the Ora Good Cat. Its interior is very impressive – far more impressive than any other car at this price point – it has good performance under the hood, and its cute, quirky design gives it a…unique appeal, to say the least.

While I do wish it had better driving dynamics with a more refined adaptive cruise control and infotainment system, some folks may not mind these shortcomings at all. And to be fair, I’ve only spent a few hours driving the car, so there may be more to the car beyond these drawbacks.

For what it’s worth, I did enjoy driving the Ora Good Cat, and I look forward to driving it again at the next opportunity.

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