Cupra might be best known for being Seat’s sporty brand, but since splitting from its sibling Spanish firm it’s been finding its own feet with models like the Ateca and Leon – though these are still fundamentally Seats.
But now Cupra is taking a step further by creating its first bespoke model – the Formentor. It’s a stylish and sporty-looking SUV that Cupra has been able to have its own hand in, though it’s still made use of the Volkswagen Group’s wide resources, not least with its platform and engine options. There are even plug-in hybrid models on offer alongside more affordable petrol versions.
But is the Formentor getting Cupra off to the right start? Let’s get behind the wheel to find out.
Though Cupra might be a sporty brand, the Formentor is the first model from the firm that’s available with a huge range of options – from a low-cost 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol through to 242bhp plug-in hybrids, and a range-topping 2.0-litre petrol engine that underpins our test car.
It’s more-or-less the same unit as you get in models like the Volkswagen Golf R and Audi S3, and kicks out an impressive 306bhp and 400Nm of torque, which enables a 0-60mph time of just 4.7 seconds and a claimed top speed of 155mph. This model is also four-wheel-drive, too, while a seven-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic gearbox is used.
When it comes to fuel economy, Cupra claims 33.2mpg and 193g/km CO2 emissions, though low running costs could be achieved with less powerful models.
Ride and handling
The Formentor is a really rather impressive thing behind the wheel. Performance is always brisk when required, though it doesn’t shout about its pace, while the steering, brakes and ride quality are all perfectly judged for a model of this kind.
It’s impressively refined, too, on longer trips, though if you require more in the way of thrills, the excellent four-wheel-drive system provides great traction through the bends that helps to keep it very sure-footed.
Interior and equipment
With Cupra having access to the Volkswagen Group’s latest technology, there’s plenty on display here that will seem familiar – no bad thing. It’s headed up by a large central screen, as well as a fantastic digital dial system. Plenty of seating adjustment also enables you to get low in the car, which is quite rare to find in this class. The only downside is that some of this technology – while looking fantastic – can be quite fiddly to use on the move.
Despite the Formentor’s sleek styling, it remains an ideal family car option thanks to plenty of cabin space. Two adults should be able to sit comfortably in the rear seats, while a 420-litre boot is a decent size, too.
With five trim levels available, there’s no shortage of options on the Formentor. The entry-level V1 and V2 grades are limited to the non-performance cars, though standard equipment on the V1 still includes a 12-inch touchscreen, 18-inch alloy wheels and adaptive cruise control. Upgrading to the V2 brings larger 19-inch wheels, along with Nappa leather bucket seats and a reversing camera.
VZ1 then brings sportier looks, dynamic chassis control and an electric boot, with the VZ2 adding a heated steering wheel, copper detailing and additional safety assistance tech. Meanwhile at the top of the range the VZ3 features 19-inch black and copper wheels and Brembo brakes.
Depending on whether you want a sporty Formentor or not, prices actually start from an attractive £27,400 for the entry-level model, which gets you a lot of car for the money.
Hybrid models are noticeably more expensive at £35,730, while this range-topping engine seen here is only available on the top-spec VZ2 and VZ3 grades, which cost a rather steep £39,870 and £40,240 respectively.
Cupra has really done well with the Formentor, as it has utilised tried-and-tested technology and powertrains from the VW Group, but has created a truly unique and interesting car from it.
It brings plenty of style and sportiness to this SUV class, while still being practical and easy to live with, too. It certainly points to very positive things to come from Cupra.Enquire on a new Cupra Formentor