MG4 front view
Beth Twigg

Beth Twigg

Beth is our Content and Paid Media Specialist, tasked with creating great articles to keep you both entertained and informed. She has two years previous experience, but has been writing and scribbling for much longer.

Read time of 7 minutes.

It’s the quirky electric hatchback showdown: should you go for the ORA Funky Cat or the MG4 EV?

We’re putting the MG pigeons among the Funky Cats to work out which small EV is the best one to lease. 

Two of the newest EVs to make their way out of China and onto our crowded roads, the MG4 EV and the ORA Funky Cat are both very accomplished hatchbacks that are perfect for small families and first-timers, and indeed anyone who needs something small enough to zip around town in without worrying that you won’t be able to find a parking spot. 

And both offer something different to the norm, bringing something a little more fun to a market that had been getting a little…. samey.

We’ve pitted the two together to see which one comes out on top, and so you can make the tricky decision between which electric car lease is right for you. 

ORA Funky Cat

ORA Funky Cat

Overview

No one is quite sure why ORA renamed the ‘Good Cat’, as it’s known in China, to the ‘Funky Cat’.

But we like it.

And they’re not wrong. This is one Funky Cat, with looks likely inspired by iconic cars like the Mini, K12 Nissan Micra, and Porsche 911. For reference, it’s about the same size as the Volkswagen ID.3 – not too big, not too small.

It’s the perfect size for zipping around the city and crawling into the tight parking space that everyone else has been driving past.

Update: The ORA Funky Cat has been controversially renamed the ORA 03 as of January 2024. We will continue to reference the Funky Cat (rather than the 03) throughout this piece, reflecting how it was named at the time of writing.

The MG4 EV – also a Chinese offering – is a step-up style-wise for MG. While the MG ZS EV and the MG5 can be accused of blending into the background, that’s not an issue for their latest electric model. And they’ve not sacrificed anything for looks either.

The MG4 is still an excellent blend of affordability, good range and sportier dynamics – and you’ll remember where you parked it when you go to the supermarket. It’s also about the same size as the VW ID.3, so there’s no winner or loser here.

But should you opt for an ORA Funky Cat lease or an MG4 EV lease? Read on to find out more.

ORA Funky Cat interior

ORA Funky Cat interior

Interior

The interior of the ORA Funky Cat is really something quite special.  

It continues the retro flair of the exterior styling, and there’s a bright two-tone option available for the trim. This, along with the large windows and flat floor, give it an airy feel inside despite its smaller hatchback stature. 

The soft-touch materials on the dash and chrome toggle switches give the Funky Cat a more premium finish than its price tag suggests, akin to something you’d find in the traditional luxury brands. There’s plenty of space in the cabin too, with ORA prioritising passenger comfort over boot space.

Those over six foot will fit comfortably in the back (even our very tall marketing apprentice had room to spare in our scientific test), and those in the front have more than enough space for heads, shoulders and knees. 

MG4 interior

MG4 EV interior

The interior of the MG4 is not quite as exciting as the Funky Cat, but it does the job very nicely and serves as a comfortable place to spend a long journey.

It is more affordable than the Funky Cat, and this is evident in the slightly cheaper feeling cabin. But everything is screwed together very well, it’s extremely practical, and it feels hard-wearing and like it can withstand plenty of knocks and bashes.

There’s enough room for four adults to sit comfortably, plus a smaller person in the middle seat. Plenty of space for those in the front, and enough space for those in the back. It works very well as a car for a small family, and because it is slightly taller than a regular hatch, you get a good amount of head room throughout.

WINNER: For the added cool points alone in the retro styling, this one goes to the Funky Cat.

MG4 EV

MG4 EV

Practicality

The MG4, though not the biggest car in the world, is still very practical. 

The boot is about what you’d expect from a hatchback at 363 litres, which is good enough for a folded-up buggy or the weekly shop. Big family holidays might prove a little trickier, but if nothing else, you’ll get very good at playing luggage Tetris. 

Storage inside the cabin is good.

There’s a couple of cupholders near the floor, a good-sized glovebox and storage in the central armrest, as well as the usual door bins that’ll take a water bottle. You also get a little spot for your phone under the infotainment screen (with wireless charging available on the Trophy trim), and a lidded bin to keep your valuables out of sight. 

Simple, practical, usable.

The ORA Funky Cat isn’t quite as good on the practicality front.

The boot is smaller, clocking in at only 228L, but the sacrificed space in the boot does mean extra leg room for your passengers. Still, it’s enough for daily life, and with the ability to fold the seats down in a 60:40 split you’ll be able to manage a tip run with relative ease.

There’s a good amount of stowage space in the cabin though, with plenty of little cubbies dotted throughout the cabin to stash all your bits and bobs in, a couple of cupholders and decent door bins.

WINNER: The MG4 beats out the Funky Cat on this occasion, with the bigger boot a bonus for most people.

ORA Funky Cat

ORA Funky Cat

Technology, safety and specification

ORA have crammed the Funky Cat full of some of the most innovative tech on the market, and even some fun little extras like voice-controlled games. There’s even facial recognition on the cards which will, once set up, recognise you as the driver and always put the seat in your favourite position.

Every model gets a 10.3in digital driver's display as well as the 10.25in infotainment system with built-in satnav, DAB radio and Bluetooth. You also get keyless entry and start, just to make mornings that little bit easier when you’re juggling bags, wallet and coffee. 

And when it comes to specifications, there are no choices to be made. 

The ORA Funky Cat is currently only available in one trim, handily titled the First Edition. It comes with absolutely everything you could ever want, including wireless charging, LED headlights with high-beam assist, a 360-degree camera, and the facial recognition tech.

However, quite surprisingly, there isn’t the option to specify heated seats or steering wheel, though it’s likely this will be added on later models. 

For the price of the MG4, there is a surprising amount of tech on offer.

MG4 EV

MG4 EV

No corners are cut here in the name of saving money, and yet the MG is crammed with the sort of tech you’d expect to see in a much pricier vehicle.

There are three models on offer here, ranging from the Standard Range SE model to two Long Range editions.

The entry-level SE model is generously packed with tech, including automatic LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors, climate control and a Bluetooth ‘key’ for your phone. SE Long Range comes with the same tech and a bigger battery, but also gets active grille shutters in the front that improves its efficiency.

Trophy Long Range is where it gets a bit more exciting. This gets you a black roof, double spoiler and tinted windows, heated leather front seats, sat nav, 360-degree camera, wireless phone charging and additional safety features.

You get the touchscreen infotainment system on all models, with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capabilities, and you also get handy buttons underneath the screen to control the most used functions.

Both cars have a five-star rating from Euro NCAP, and come with basic safety features like adaptive cruise control. You’ll need to opt for the Trophy trim on the MG to get all the safety kit, including blind-spot monitoring and lane-change assistance, while the ORA Funky Cat comes with traffic sign recognition and a driver monitor system as standard.

WINNER: It’s a tricky one, this. Both cars come with some of the best tech on the market. But for the most choice and the best value, it has to go to the MG4. 

ORA Funky Cat line up

ORA Funky Cat line up

Range

The ORA Funky Cat is only available in one trim, which means only one battery size: a 48kWh number with an official range of 193 miles.

Not dazzling numbers, considering the capabilities of some of its rivals, but it’s by no means bad. If you’re driving the Funky Cat in the way it's intended – nippy city car, good for the commute and some weekend adventures – then the nearly 200-mile range will prove to be more than enough.

And it’s likely that before long the Funky Cat will be given a bigger battery, which will increase the claimed range and make this already desirable car even better.

The MG4 EV fares slightly better.

The base spec SE model has a 50.8kWh battery which is good for a claimed 218 miles, while both Long Range variants have the bigger 61.7kWh battery. 

If you need the additional range, your best bet is the SE Long Range with its impressive 281-mile range, while the Trophy variant loses a little range in favour of more tech, but still has a respectable WLTP range of 270 miles.

WINNER: The MG4 is the clear winner here, even in entry-level guise. 

MG4 EV

MG4 EV

Verdict

It’s not the Cat that gets the cream this time around. Instead, the MG4 EV gets this crown. 

It is genuinely one of the best electric hatchbacks available on the market today. MG have taken everything they’ve learned about electric vehicles, considered the criticisms it received for previous attempts, and in the process created one of the best – and most affordable – EVs to hit our roads.

Impressive work for the brand – and this is likely only the start.

It’s a wake-up call to legacy manufacturers, who are going to have to start getting a little more inventive with their electric models if they want to match up to upstarts like MG – and ORA.

The ORA Funky Cat, while not the winner this time around, still stands up as a very good electric hatchback, especially if you’re after something that looks a little different and will stand out from the crowd. 

The innovative tech is a point in its favour, and if ORA continue to improve on the Cat, it’s only going to become a more and more desirable option for car leasing. 

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