Published on June 24th, 2024 | by Subhash Nair


GWM Ora 07 Long Range Review: Embrace The Quirkiness

The Ora 07 Long Range may not be original, but at least it’s not generic.

These last 12 months have been largely about electric vehicles for us at Yes, we get the odd PHEV, ICE and hybrid test car but the sheer number of EV launches in Malaysia have forced us to expand even our Vehicle Of The Year Awards to cover new EV niches. To be quite honest, most EVs tend to deliver very similar drive feel because most of them have very similar characteristics. They’re all grossly overweight and most have sophisticated suspension setups to cope with the weight.

GWM Ora 07 Long Range review

They all deliver instant torque, so there aren’t any ‘slow’ EVs out there. They all have some premium aspirations as they’re generally quite expensive when taxed like regular cars. More than anything a lot of them are greatly lacking in character, particularly EVs from China. It’s a combination of a lack of automotive heritage paired to the general lack of sound, vibration or drama. They come across as appliances rather than cars.

Well, there’s one exception to this general rule and that’s the Ora 07. This is the bigger brother to the Ora Good Cat – the first Chinese EV to be launched in Malaysia in late 2022. If you’re wondering why the 07 doesn’t have a feline-inspired name, it’s because GWM is finding it hard to trademark names with the word “cat” in it in certain markets. So rather than risk copyright issues, they’re just going for a generic numbering system. This will slowly trickle down to the rest of the line-up as well. The 07 does still feature at least one cat-themed feature – an introduction video that plays across both its digital screens upon startup that shows a fish and a cat kissing with a floating heart morphing into the Ora logo accompanied by a distant meow. Now let’s see how many men walk in for a test drive and instantly know this sole feature is something they can’t live with.

In fact, it’s doubtful that your typical “man’s man” is the target demographic for the Ora 07. The brand itself definitely leans into some feminine lifestyle aspects in general but in the 07, aside from the weird cat theme and a few other strange soundscapes, the 07 is probably only going to scare off men who are a bit insecure about their masculinity. If you don’t want a car that’s angular and aggressive, the Ora 07 is actually crafted with quite a lot of curves and care. It’s also one of the rare EVs that isn’t a crossover. Its ground clearance is low, putting you quite low to the ground in the driver’s seat. While that may be enough to convince you to get in one, maybe the actual performance of the car will.

The model we tested is the “lower” specification Long Range model. To be honest, this is the variant that makes the most sense. Its battery range is genuinely quite impressive. We took a drive from Bukit Jalil to Klang via the Federal Highway on a weekend during our test drive. The route featured some brisk sections, moving traffic, standstill traffic, overtaking… basically a typical mixed route most Malaysians will find themselves in on a daily basis. This 30+ km route ate up about 5% of our battery, which means 600km on a full charge is realistic if you’re not too heavy on the throttle. On paper, the 07 Long Range is supposed to deliver 640km on the outdated and lenient New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). So, it’s not too far off actually.

The unfortunately named L.E.M.O.N platform from GWM is a flexible thing that can be configured for hybrids and EVs alike. Because of that flexibility, the Long Range model is front-wheel driven rather than rear-wheel driven – the default on many new dedicated EV platforms. Despite this “limitation”, it’s actually an extremely well-sorted chassis.

It feels almost as rigid as a premium continental car despite the massive amount of glass on the roof and is planted through the corners. The overall impression we got from our drive was that it felt like an overweight hot hatch – rapid enough for some weekend fun, but nothing as neck-breaking and nauseating as the smart #1 BRABUS. It’s less engaging and powerful than a Golf GTI, but the immediacy of power puts it ahead of a standard Golf TSI.

Perhaps the most interesting part about the chassis is that it handles rough road surfaces well. We took it over some gravel roads and found it simply glided over everything with minimal vibration transferred into the cabin. For a car of this size and with its tax-free pricing, the Ora 07 is simply punching above its class, but most will be too caught up with its divisive looks and silly feline theme to notice.

However, a lot of these new Chinese EVs are competent in the drive department. The problem is none of them have much character. Well, that’s where the Ora 07 plays its trump card – simulated engine noises. That’s right, noises – plural. You get to choose whether you want it to sound like a performance 4-cylinder, 6-cylinder or 8-cylinder. They’re not exactly labelled as such, but that’s sort of what they sound like to our ears.

You may scoff at the idea, but we think it actually works better than the simulated spaceship noises you get in premium EVs. Most just sound like sci-fi nonsense and sort of loop endlessly, making it hard to really connect subconsciously to an experience one has had with a vehicle in the past. With the 07, you actually get petrol engine noises that rev up and down, sort of simulating gear shifts but mostly just helping to make the sensation of speed feel more planted in the familiar.

We have to admit it actually tickled us, switching to “Multi-Cylinder” and getting the sounds of a different sportscar from the last setting. Yes, it’s all simulated, but it at least makes an EV feel a touch more organic. And if you really don’t think it’s for you, you can turn all the artificial noises off too and still enjoy an objectively well-engineered, great-to-drive car that punches above its weight class.

All that said, it’s impossible to run away from the way the Ora 07 looks. Many have criticized it (and the Good Cat) for essentially copying Porsche’s playbook. In fairness, it’s pretty obvious to see that the 07 is more than just a little inspired by the Porsche Panamera. It even takes some of its bevelled motifs from Bentley. Chinese brands have been accused of plagiarism before, and it’s almost unthinkable that GWM decided to lean into this.

But then again, we’ve had 100 years of car design – how many new shapes and new experiences can we expect? Shouldn’t at least ONE sub-brand with ZERO heritage try to pay homage to this specific automotive design language? After all, even Porsche is moving away from these shapes in the electric age, and Bentley won’t show their electric vehicle until 2026.

And it’s not as if Ora is passing the 07 off as a knock-off Panamera either – it’s a completely different product. It’s electric, a couple of sizes smaller and has no performance car legacy. No one’s going to mistake this for a Porsche either, not with that ridiculous looking exclamation point logo. We absolve the 07 of its automotive design sin of copying from the best but of course taste is subjective and the mode seems to be angles and aggression, so the MG4 and BYD Seal might do a little better in sales than the 07 regardless of what we think.

Put aside the Porsche-inspired look and you’ll still find plenty to talk about here – vibrant and unique colours, tasteful chrome trim, a pop-up spoiler, hidden door handles, intricate 18″ alloys, a dimpled front bumper.

The interior build quality is really excellent and material choice is also top notch. You get nice Alcantara and leather as the primary upholstery and these materials can be found on the dashboard and both front and rear door cards. The most offensive and scratchy plastic pieces are hidden away below the centre console where you’ll find slightly out-of-place twin USB Type-A ports. There’s a USB Type-C port for the rear passengers though. Ambient lighting is featured as well.

Ora has cleverly framed the digital instrument cluster to make it look like it consists of three circular displays rather than one generic rectangular one. The infotainment system doesn’t have any party tricks but is simple enough to operate with some physical buttons below it.

We really appreciate the presence of physical AC controls with toggles and dials for key climate settings like temperature and fan speed. Very good job. You also get a pretty cool wireless charger slot that holds your phone perfectly in place even when pushing the car hard. There’s also a retractable single cup-holder that’s there mostly for a bit of ‘pop’.

All that is well and good but there’s something that really sets the 07’s interior apart and that’s the layout of the glass roof. Most EVs try to deliver an uninterrupted glass sunroof from front glass to rear glass. The 07 does something different.

There’s a smaller sunroof for the front passengers, then a large roll-protection bar followed by a rear occupant sunroof that starts at their knees and goes all the way behind their heads to the tailgate. This makes it look like you’ve got a massively oversized rear window, lending a very unique feel to the cabin. The factory tint “fades” in nicely at the roof level, showing an attention to detail that would go past most.

At just under RM170,000, the Ora 07 Long Range is actually still one of the best value EVs on sale right now, just looking at how much range you get per Ringgit spent. GWM Malaysia also includes an industry-leading 6-year/150,000km warranty. On top of that, the 8-year/180,000km battery warranty includes a one-to-one battery swap should the battery health drop below 70%. Considering also that its 11kW AC charger is faster than what BYD can offer, I’d say the Ora 07 presents really good value in the segment.

Having driven just about all of its rivals, we think it has the most character. Its biggest drawbacks:

  • The weird cat-fish-heart animation at start up
  • The clearly derivative styling and weird looking logo
  • The rather high boot lip

If you can live with those, we think the 07 Long Range is one of the most characterful EVs below RM200,000. It may even be the most characterful EV at any price point to be honest – every other EV seems to just want to deliver generic performance and style.

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Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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