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GWM Ora 2024 review: GT

Despite the 'go fast' looking racey bodywork, the Ora GT is only as powerful as the base version. (Image: Chris Thompson)

When the GWM Ora showed up in Australia last year, it seemed to rely somewhat on its divisive cutesy looks and sub-$40K entry price to draw attention - and to some extent it worked.

Convincing Australians to buy an electric car is hard enough for any car company, let alone one that doesn’t have the brand cachet of Tesla or the traditional companies.

But an entry price under $40,000 doesn’t apply here, this is the GWM Ora GT: the top of the range for the small electric car.

It’s just had a massive price cut, but is it worth paying more than $10,000 over the price of a base Ora for some extra goodies when simplicity and fun styling was the original selling point?

Price and features – Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?

The GWM Ora GT was once a mid-$50K car, once you got it on the road. Its former sticker price of $51,990 before on-roads has, along with every other variant in the range, been dramatically knocked into a more budget-friendly shape: $46,990 drive-away.

That’s pretty cheap for a top-spec electric car, or for an electric car in general in Australia, but it’s still $11,000 more expensive than the entry-level Ora Standard Range ($35,990 DA).

The Ora GT also shares most of the key draw cards on its features list with the Ultra.

Its panoramic sunroof, electric tailgate, heated and ventilated seats with massage function and its heated steering wheel are all available in the Ultra for $3000 less.

The Ora GT is $46,990 (Image: Chris Thompson) The Ora GT is $46,990 (Image: Chris Thompson)

One of the only things the GT has in terms of functionality in the cabin is a light for the driver visor vanity mirror.

There are a couple of differences when it comes to driving functionality, and we’ll get to that in a later section of this review, but the rest of the tech in the cabin is standard across the range.

The 10.25-inch touchscreen and same-sized driver display, six-speaker sound system, wireless phone charger, electrically adjustable synthetic leather seats - it’s all in the base-level Ora.

What is missing, very notably, is Android Auto functionality. The Ora does however feature wireless Apple CarPlay.

Touchscreen and driver display (Image: Chris Thompson) Touchscreen and driver display (Image: Chris Thompson)

Design – Is there anything interesting about its design?

Yep, as a step-up from the Ora Ultra, the GT’s main selling point is its styling. For a car with a 400km driving range, it’s so non-threatening it looks like it would get beaten up and have its lunch money stolen by dual-cabs if it left the city - but cute works, just ask Mini or Fiat.

Its headlights have a splash of Porsche 911 in them. There are some angles that even look a little like someone had an Abarth explained to them then tried to draw it. More than one friend has told me it reminds them of a VW Beetle.

None of that bothers me in particular, but the GT-specific additions to the Ora make it feel like a deeply unserious car.

  • Exterior details pictured (Image: Chris Thompson) Exterior details pictured (Image: Chris Thompson)
  • Exterior details pictured (Image: Chris Thompson) Exterior details pictured (Image: Chris Thompson)
  • Exterior details pictured (Image: Chris Thompson) Exterior details pictured (Image: Chris Thompson)
  • Exterior details pictured (Image: Chris Thompson) Exterior details pictured (Image: Chris Thompson)

The fake carbon trim is tacky on a car that has no performance improvement over its base variant sibling, the red strip under the number plate looks like a tongue poking out under an overbite, the wheels look like Tony Stark designed them, and the rear ‘wing’ and diffuser just don’t feel at home.

One thing that didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would was the lack of ‘traditional’ tail-lights, instead a light bar under the rear window takes that role.

The rest of the Ora range is cute, fun, and looks at home in the city where the Ora is at its best. The GT’s features are mostly the same as the Ultra, so the extra $3000 for the GT exterior doesn’t really feel like value.

The GT’s main selling point is its styling (Image: Chris Thompson) The GT’s main selling point is its styling (Image: Chris Thompson)

Inside, however, the design is less in-yer-face. A tidy set-up features a Mini-style row of switches (for some of the climate control) under a bar that spans the dash with the vents integrated.

The steering wheel is big, arguably too big, behind it is the 10.25-inch driver display attached to the central multimedia display. Everything’s very tidy and minimalistic inside, even the gear selector is a round dial.

It looks like a reasonably fashionable interior, but when it comes to the functionality, it starts to fall apart.

  • Interior details pictured (Image: Chris Thompson) Interior details pictured (Image: Chris Thompson)
  • Interior details pictured (Image: Chris Thompson) Interior details pictured (Image: Chris Thompson)
  • Interior details pictured (Image: Chris Thompson) Interior details pictured (Image: Chris Thompson)
  • Interior details pictured (Image: Chris Thompson) Interior details pictured (Image: Chris Thompson)
  • Interior details pictured (Image: Chris Thompson) Interior details pictured (Image: Chris Thompson)
  • Interior details pictured (Image: Chris Thompson) Interior details pictured (Image: Chris Thompson)

Practicality – How practical is its space and tech inside?

I can see the appeal of the Ora, but there are some glaring issues that I suspect many will find frustrating over time during ownership.

I’ll start with the big one - Android Auto. Or the lack thereof. Apple CarPlay is available however, even wirelessly.

Being a car journalist in 2024 involves a lot of playing around with in-car tech, and it’s been an awfully long time since I wasn’t able to mirror my phone to a car’s central screen where those with an Apple iPhone could. About 70 per cent of the world uses a phone running Android, by the way. Mostly Samsungs, like mine, but pretty much anything else that isn’t an iPhone too.

It wouldn’t be as major an issue if there was a navigation function in the car’s native multimedia system, but there isn’t. Having only a Bluetooth connection and no map felt a little like taking a step back in time, with an old iPad tacked onto the dash. No Fruit Ninja though.

Front row seats pictured (Image: Chris Thompson) Front row seats pictured (Image: Chris Thompson)

Smaller things come down to basic ergonomics. The touchscreen itself and the system on it are simple and easy enough to use, if a little unresponsive. The driver display is fairly simple and doesn’t fall too far into the trap of sub-menus on sub-menus.

Physically, the cabin is almost there - the seat and steering wheel adjustment, however, made it a little tricky for me to find a comfortable driving position. 

I’m pretty much dead-on the average height of an Australian man, and the lack of tilt for the base of the seat meant no under-thigh support if I was to be the right distance to have a proper hold on the steering wheel - not telescopically adjustable, by the way.

Another interesting ergonomic fail is the placement of the drive mode select button (one of the GT’s few unique features) being to the right side of the steering column, near where you’d expect rarely-used controls like the headlight height adjust to be - or in this case a couple of centimetres from the button that kills the power to the battery if pressed while not in motion.

Rear row seats pictured (Image: Chris Thompson) Rear row seats pictured (Image: Chris Thompson)

This caused severe embarrassment at a set of lights while searching for the drive mode switch, with no obvious way to start the car again, short of opening and closing the driver door.

Oh, and switching through the drive modes elicits a unique videogame-style chime or jingle for each mode. Gimmicky at first, potentially rather irritating after some time.

A positive of the interior layout, however, is the space in the rear seats is fairly generous for a small car - at almost six-feet tall behind my own seating position, I wasn’t lacking space to move and the seat itself is comfortable enough for a decent trip.

Behind that, a relatively limited 228-litre boot is probably less useful for a decent trip, though its 858L of space with the rear seats folded down is more handy in a pinch.

  • 228-litre boot space pictured (Image: Chris Thompson) 228-litre boot space pictured (Image: Chris Thompson)
  • 858L-litre boot space pictured (Image: Chris Thompson) 858L-litre boot space pictured (Image: Chris Thompson)

Under the bonnet – What are the key stats for its motor?

All four variants of the Ora have the same outputs from its front-mounted electric motor - 126kW and 250Nm. Yes, even the GT.

What the GT does have over at least the base model is a larger battery shared with the Long Range and Ultra variants, but despite having the same weights and outputs, the GT is, on paper, claimed to be a tenth of a second slower to 100km/h than the rest of the range: 8.5 seconds versus 8.4sec for the cheaper models.

Efficiency – What is its driving range? What is its charging time?

That aforementioned larger battery is a 63kWh lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) battery, over the 48kWh unit in the Standard Range base variant.

According to GWM’s brochure, the GT’s electric driving range under WLTP is 400km, 20km less than the Long Range and Ultra (and like the acceleration time, for no obvious reason).

With a 400km claimed range and 63kWh battery, the Ora GT should return a power consumption figure of around 15.75kWh/100km, though on test we saw 16.4kWh.

GWM claims charging with 11kWh AC power will take 6.5 hours to jump from 10 to 80 per cent charge, while 80kW DC charging takes 50 minutes to do the same.

The Ora GT has a 400km claimed range (Image: Chris Thompson) The Ora GT has a 400km claimed range (Image: Chris Thompson)

Driving – What's it like to drive?

As is the case with the GT’s outputs and features, there’s nothing to suggest the GT would be fundamentally better to drive than any other variant. Unless all those kids at school were right about red bits making cars go faster.

The Ora’s front-drive layout paired with relatively immediate electric torque delivery, however, means you probably wouldn’t want it to be much more powerful with this particular mechanical setup.

The Ora, as a city car, does its job reasonably well in standard drive modes, though its sport mode is possibly a little too eager for day-to-day affairs - and the way it quite conservatively understeers on corners suggests there’s not much ‘sport’ driving to be done in this cute EV.

The Ora GT weighs 1580kg (Image: Chris Thompson) The Ora GT weighs 1580kg (Image: Chris Thompson)

The steering itself feels fairly numb (again, fine day-to-day) and becomes heavier or lighter in different drive modes, but with no real advantage - the wheel itself is also a little on the large side.

Its suspension tune is comfortable enough for the low-speed streets on which this car is likely to find itself most often, where most city cars aren’t exactly riding on clouds, though can more obviously start to feel a little underdone on rougher roads at high speed.

It’s not a light car, after all, a hatchback that weighs 1580kg and has a short wheelbase isn’t going to be a dynamic masterpiece, though it does at least feel stable enough through corners thanks to its low centre of gravity.

It’s not going to encourage any heroic driving, but it’s also more likely to deter rather than outright punish any silly behaviour behind the wheel.

Safety – What safety equipment is fitted? What is its safety rating?

The GWM Ora’s safety features are almost all standard across the range, which is great even if you don’t opt for the GT.

This means its seven airbags (dual frontal, side chest, curtain and centre) are all standard, as well as autonomous emergency braking, secondary collision avoidance, rear cross-traffic alert and forward collision warning, lane keep assist, traffic jam assist and even a surround-view parking camera. The Ultra and GT are the only variants with a front parking sensor and auto parking assist.

The features are all there, but some finer tuning when it comes to some driver assistance could be looked at - thus the slightly lower side of the scoring scale for a car that’s ticking all the boxes on paper.

The Ultra and GT gets front parking sensors (Image: Chris Thompson) The Ultra and GT gets front parking sensors (Image: Chris Thompson)

Ownership – What warranty is offered? What are its service intervals? What are its running costs?

GWM offers a seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, as well as an eight-year/unlimited kilometre battery warranty. The former is quite decent for the industry, the latter relatively par when it comes to battery warranties.

Five years or 150,000km of roadside assistance is also included.

The Ora’s first five services, each coming in at 12 month/15,000km intervals, are capped price, all at $99.

The Ora has a seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty (Image: Chris Thompson) The Ora has a seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty (Image: Chris Thompson)

The GWM Ora is a solid electric car for the city with an extremely competitive price, balanced with some flaws that might frustrate some - Android phone owners especially. But the GT variant doesn’t offer enough to justify how much more expensive it is than the variants below.

It has a slightly lower range, no more performance (not that it needs more power), a features list almost identical to the Ultra and arguably loses its appealing cutesy looks. 

While the rest of the Ora line-up has its strengths and a cute but daring design, the GT effectively offers only its bark-over-bite styling changes.

If the Ora is on your shopping list, it’s certainly worth checking out the $43,990 Ultra, or even the $40,990 Extended Range if its list of features suits you. But if you for some reason enjoy the GT’s styling, that extra spend might be worth it.

$51,990

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

Score

3.5/5
Price Guide

$51,990

Based on new car retail price

Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.