2024 GWM Ora Extended Range Review

Andrea Matthews

Posted March 19, 2024

The GWM Ora is a small car with big ambitions. The EV hatch arrived at the low cost end of the electric vehicle market last year and was briefly the most affordable EV in Australia.

The GWM Ora is a unique looking EV in an increasingly competitive area of the Australian car market. It's joined in the electric small car segment by the current best-selling small EV, the MG4, and the BYD Dolphin, both of which have impressed with their capability and sharp value.

We got our first taste of the GWM Ora at its launch last year when it had a driveaway price in Victoria of $47,234. Reflecting the ongoing price pressure from its closest rivals (the BYD Dolphin launched with a driveaway price from $41,404), the Ora range now starts at $35,990 driveaway.

We've now driven the GWM Ora Extended Range model to see how the Ora stacks up against its competition.

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2023 GWM Ora

The 2023 GWM Ora has an exterior that's cute, not quirky. Image: Ben Weinstein.


How much does a GWM Ora Extended Range cost?

There are now four models in the GWM Ora line-up. On 4 April 2024, GWM confirmed updates to the driveaway pricing of its Ora range, addressing increasing competition in the market.

  • GWM Ora Standard Range – 48kWh battery - $35,990
  • GWM Ora Extended Range – 63kWh battery - $40,990
  • GWM Ora Ultra – 63kWh battery - $43,990
  • GWM Ora GT – 63kWh battery - $46,990

All GWM Ora models are backed by a best-in-class standard unlimited kilometre warranty that lasts for seven years on the vehicle and and eight years on the high voltage battery. GWM Ora owners also receive five years’ capped price servicing at just $99 every 15,000km or 12 months, and five years’ roadside assistance, representing one of the best aftersales deals available.

The Standard Range and Extended Range variants feature the same level of specification, the only difference being the size of the battery. Features include 18" alloy wheels, 10.25-inch full colour touchscreen, keyless entry, wireless phone charging with wireless Apple CarPlay, plush seats finished in faux leatherette, 5-star ANCAP rating, AEB pedestrian, cyclist and crossing, adaptive cruise control, 360-degree camera with configurable car display, blind spot monitoring, steering assist, lane departure and rear cross traffic alert.

The GWM Ora Ultra model adds:

  • Massaging Front Seat with Heating and Ventilation
  • Electric tailgate-handsfree
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Heated Steering Wheel
  • 6-way Electric Driver Seat with memory
  • Auto-folding Door Mirrors
  • Auto Parking Assist

The GWM Ora GT adds:

  • GT Bumpers and Grille
  • Red Calipers
  • Front Crossing Traffic Alert and Braking

You can configure your Ora on the GWM website and book a test drive at one of over 20 GWM dealerships across Victoria, many of which are located in major regional centres.

The GWM Ora cabin is simple but welcoming. Image: Ben Weinstein
Most functions are controlled by the touchscreen which can cause distraction for the driver. Image: Ben Weinstein.
The GWM Ora shifter is vague in its operation. Image: Ben Weinstein.

What is the GWM Ora Extended Range like inside?

For its price, the GWM Ora doesn’t feel lacking in detail. The first impression of the interior is favourable, thanks to the stylish contrast stitched upholstery, in a synthetic leather and suede finish.

The interior is a reflection of its cutesy exterior, but is an exercise in refinement. The dash layout is clear, and centre console area well organised. The result is a lack of clutter with controls are simple to use – although a lack of hard buttons does mean that most vehicle functions need to be controlled via the touchscreen.

Build quality and plastic finishes are good, and the heating toggles present a nice detail. They’re reminiscent of the controls found in modern Minis, but where the Mini befuddles with its contrived dash layout, Ora designers have clearly resisted the desire to make the interior too complicated.

The boot space is small with the rear seats up – just 282-litres and the shape of the boot means it is very tight should you need to carry a box or suitcase. It’s fine for the weekly shop and at least its size means things won’t roll around, but anything substantial will require the rear seats folded forward to accommodate.

There’s good storage available inside the car, and the lack of a handbrake and even stop-start button in the centre console frees up space for two phone trays. Two USB-A charge ports are available in the front and one in the rear.

In the rear of the GWM Ora, passengers are well accommodated with decent room for two adults and cupholders in the centre armrest. There’s also a surprising amount of headroom thanks to the Ora’s high roofline. The same budget-luxe upholstery finishes extend to the rear, but there’s no air vents, and passengers will need to share that single charge port.

2023 GWM Ora upholstery

The 2023 GWM Ora has a quilted upholstery which is a great design feature. Image: Ben Weinstein


Is the GWM Ora Extended Range good to drive?

The front-wheel drive GWM Ora Extended Range is driven by a torquey 126kW motor that delivers spritely perfomance. It drives well in both an urban setting and on the open road, although even this extended range model sees range quickly diminished on long drives where there’s little opportunity to use regenerative braking.

Under test cycles the GWM Ora Extended Range with 63kWh battery is hoped to achieve up to 420km range. However, with usage up to 17kWh/100km, my test route saw me closer to a 300km range. Judicial eco driving and the use of the one pedal driving feature would likely serve to improve range as would more trips in slow traffic.

One surprisingly user friendly feature is the lack of a start button. Open the car and sit in the driver’s seat and the GWM Ora Extended Range is on and ready to go. It takes very little time to get used to not having to start the car, but its important to lock the car when you've stopped so it switches off.

The GWM Ora Extended Range does have some quirks, including the rotary shifter which does not allow the Ora to move quickly between drive and reverse, resulting in a stunted feel when executing a three-point turn or parking manoeuvre.

I also found the indicators frequently do not self-cancel, and are sensitive to a correction so instead of cancelling manually, will select the opposite indicator when you try to switch them off. It’s annoying and one of the detractions from the GWM Ora Extended Range drive experience.

The car does do well in the urban environment, and in tight spots thanks to its excellent 360-degree camera which gives fantastic around car vision, including while driving away at low speed. As a light urban proposition, it represents a good value introduction to EV ownership.


2023 GWM Ora boot

The GWM Ora boot space is small, but the folding rear seats allow for larger cargo. Image: Ben Weinstein.


What safety features does the GWM Ora Extended Range have?

The GWM Ora has a five-star ANCAP rating and a good level of safety kit included as standard. But the performance of its driver assistance technology is worrying, frequently proving more of a driver distraction than assistant in practice.

As with most driver assistance technologies, all systems are automatically ‘on’ when the car is fired up. That includes technology such as autonomous braking and lane keeping assist, both of which are intended to guide the car safely on road if it senses an immediate hazard, if the car is going to veer out of lane, or into the path of another vehicle.

When well implemented, this feature will provide a gentle assist, which is noticeable but not overt. Unfortunately, in the GWM Ora Extended Range, this technology is not well calibrated. Forward cameras and radars combine to deliver feedback to the car which creates hazardous conditions all by themselves. Should you be on the freeway and the car ahead of you is exiting, even if you are continuing straight ahead, the car will slow you down dramatically.

Should it believe that you are too close to a white line, or the vehicle in the next lane is a danger, it will steer you away with a tug, not a light hand. And if you don’t give the vehicle a signal that you’re going to shift lanes (think retaking your position on the road after overtaking), there is a strong chance the car will react violently, wrenching the steering wheel in the opposite direction.

Inexperienced or unconfident drivers are likely to be very uncomfortable with the implementation of this technology in the GWM Ora Extended Range. Experienced drivers are likely to be very annoyed. Simply put, this tech is better executed by other manufacturers.


2023 GWM Ora charging

2023 GWM Ora charge port. Image: Ben Weinstein.

How does the GWM Ora Extended Range compare to other EVs?

Driver assistance technology aside, I enjoyed the GWM Ora Extended Range. I liked walking back to it in the car park and seeing its bold, funky exterior. I enjoyed the interior ambience created by the stylish interior although the reliance on the touchscreen is overwhelmingly distracting and unintuitive.

The GWM Ora Extended Range is definitely affordable electric motoring, but it is small, and much reduced in practicality compared to the MG4. It also isn’t as amenable to drive as the rear-wheel drive MG so if you’re considering the GWM Ora, then its definitely worth comparing the two with a decent test drive.

The other obvious competitor is the diminutive BYD Dolphin. It's worth noting the GWM Ora Extended Range on test here compares more closely in price to the 150kW BYD Premium which has a driveaway price of $47,656.90.

2023 GWM Ora. Image: Ben Weinstein.

The GWM Ora Extended Range is ideal for the urban environment but longer trips will require planning. Image: Ben Weinstein


Should I buy a GWM Ora Extended Range?

There’s exciting moves afoot at the most affordable end of EV ownership. For small car shoppers, the GWM Ora Extended Range represents a good entry point into electrified motoring.

As to whether the GWM Ora is the pick of the bunch, on balance we’d recommend the MG4 over the GWM Ora Extended Range. It's more practical with additonal space and more enjoyable to drive. It isn't perfect though, and suffers from similar issues with its driver assistance technologes.


2023 GWM Ora boot

The GWM Ora has a distinctive look on the road. Image: Ben Weinstein

The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit racv.com.au. As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.