First Impressions: ORA Good Cat

Jay Tee

Funky looks and funky name aside, the ORA Good Cat proved to be a capable chariot on our road trip from Thailand to Singapore.

Photos: Jay Tee & GWM


It’s one thing to drive an electric vehicle within the confines of Singapore, but driving an EV from the capital of Thailand all the way to the heart of Singapore is a whole other thing entirely. 

But GWM is setting out to dispel the notion that EVs can’t perform cross-border road trips. Driving an EV from Bangkok to Singapore isn’t unheard of, and we know for a fact that such a trip can be completed in under 30 hours.

So earlier this month, we found ourselves in the Bangna district standing before a fleet of ORA Good Cats on the front porch of GWM’s showroom at the Att U Park. 

Spanning a total distance of over 2,000km, the GWM EV Convoy Tour 2023 is the longest trip for Chinese carmaker Great Wall Motor (GWM) – perhaps the longest (in terms of both distance and duration) that we’ve undertaken and certainly the longest press drive I’ve been on. 

Watch the Ora Good Cat drive from Thailand to Singapore here!

The natural disposition of an EV meant that our trip was punctuated with multiple charging stops, but the GWM EV Convoy Tour is clear proof of concept that such a trip can be done. All it takes is proper planning and well-timed charging stops.

As an added bonus, the trip does give us a unique (and VERY in-depth) insight into how the car behaves on a multitude of roads – from the winding coastal roads of Hat Khanom to the bustling city centre of Kuala Lumpur.

The mission: Travel down south from Bangkok and arrive in Singapore in time for National Day.

Good Cat? Funky Cat? Haomao?

Yes, the nomenclature of ORA’s products are decidedly feline, but it’s a bold naming convention. One that only serves to cement the Good Cat in consumers’ minds. The marque ORA stands for “Open, Reliable and Alternative”, and they certainly have strayed toward alternative design methodologies to make this little hatchback as striking as its name suggests.

ORA calls the design of the Good Cat “retro futuristic” and there are plenty of early sixties stying cues in the front fascia, with various design nods that are no doubt inspired by early VW Beetles, classic Minis and luftgekühlt Porsches. 

The flared front arches and ridges in the bonnet do lend the car a slight resemblance to the Porsche 356 – no surprise since the Good Cat was designed by ex-Porsche designer Emanuel Derta. The headlamps and DRLs are LED units, with chrome surrounds that are evocative of sixties cars.

Round the back, the car’s styling takes a more futuristic turn, but it is still reminiscent of superminis like the Fiat 500 with its tapered roofline and short rear overhangs. The full-width taillight strip is housed in the rear windshield, with your reverse and indicator lamps mounted lower in the rear bumper. The car even gets a central-mounted rear fog lamp. All Ora Good Cats (even the more powerful GT) are fitted with 18-inch rims as standard, wrapped in 215-section Giti rubber.

What’s it like inside the Good Cat?

Just like the exterior, the cabin of the ORA Good Cat is also resplendent in retro-modern fittings with period-correct colour themes and a well-appointed mix of materials. The dashboard is swathed in a suede-like leatherette that is colour matched to the quilted door panels and seat trimmings – the driver’s seat is electronically adjustable and even has a massage function.

Ahead of the driver sits a single panel that houses a 10.25-inch infotainment screen and a 7-inch digital gauge cluster. Mounted just beneath the infotainment screen is a climate control switch panel operated by way of MINI-eqsue toggle switches. However, you’d have to delve into the infotainment screen to gain full access of the temperature and fan speed controls.

There are a number of items in the cabin that differ from that of the Singaporean-specced cars, which are more in tune with the Funky Cat (same car, different name) being sold in the United Kingdom. 

Local models of the Good Cat come with a larger 10.25-inch gauge cluster with updated graphics and the latest UI interfaces. The Singaporean cars will also get a proper tilting and telescoping (our chariots lacked the latter function) steering wheel and both front seats are electronically adjustable ventilated massage seats. 

While my co-pilot and I would’ve enjoyed the ventilated seats, we found that the native HVAC system was potent enough to keep us chilly in the tropical ASEAN climate.

How practical is the Good Cat?

Aside from the aforementioned goodies that our car lacked, the Thai/Malaysian ORA Good Cats are largely identical on the inside, which bodes well for interior comfort. Even with both front seats pushed back to our ideal settings, rear occupancy is still generous enough to accommodate two adults with plenty of legroom for all parties thanks to the car’s 2.65m wheelbase. 

One could even put three people in the back, but the Good Cat’s 1,825mm width does mean that you’d be rubbing shoulders more often than you’d like.

But while the cabin of the car is commodious, the 228-litre boot capacity means that you wouldn’t be able to fit much more than a large check-in suitcase. Thankfully, our convoy support cars did all the haulage duties for us, which gave us more room to bring back an assortment of snacks from the various regions we travelled through on our journey to Singapore.

Page 2: Driving the ORA Good Cat from Thailand to Singapore

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electric car electric vehicle EV good cat GWM ora ora good cat

About the Author

Jay Tee

A millennial with the mental age of a quadragenarian, CarBuyer's latest stringer writes and talks about anything with four wheels and a motor. Doesn't fully get TikTok, makes TikToks anyway. Moonlights for TopGear Singapore. Follow him on Instagram (and TikTok) at @jayyteejy

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