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20/10/2021

Motoring Review: Cupra takes its own Seat at the table

Something fresh: The new Cupra Formentor is the Spanish brand’s first bespoke model

Motoring review: Cupra takes its own Seat at the table

The new Cupra Formentor

Having been used as a sign of Seat’s performance-focused cars in the past, Cupra is now a new brand with its own distinct identity.

The new Cupra Formentor is the Spanish brand’s first bespoke model, with Cupra’s high-performance values at the very core. The Formentor’s design inside and out is something quite different to what we have seen before, and brings with it a new dimension in style and sophistication. Being part of the Volkswagen Group means that Cupra has access to cutting-edge mechanicals and technology, and this has enabled the new Formentor compact SUV to hit the ground running, so to speak.

There is a lot of money and confidence behind the Cupra brand, and that is evident in the bold product plan promised by the company.

Engine & Trim Options

The Formentor sits on the familiar MQB set of chassis components that also underpins other crossovers such as the Seat Ateca and VW Tiguan. Petrol engine options in the Formentor consist of a 1.5-litre TSI with 150bhp and a 2.0-litre TSI unit with a choice of 190, 245 or 310bhp. The 1.5 TSI engine is available as a 6-speed manual or 7-speed DSG (automatic), while the 2.0 TSI comes with a DSG transmission as standard, with Cupra’s 4Drive (all-wheel-drive) system standard in 310bhp guise. A 2.0 TDI (Turbo Diesel) EVO engine is available with 150bhp and can be mated to a 6-speed manual or 7-speed DSG transmission, with the latter coming with 4Drive as standard.

Additionally, a 1.4-litre e-Hybrid powertrain is available with a choice of 204bhp or 245bhp, both of which are mated to a 6-speed DSG transmission with promised fuel consumption as low as 1.2l/100km on a combined WLTP driving cycle.

There is a choice of two trim levels in CUPRA’s new compact SUV — Formentor and Formentor VZ — with the latter being the Cupra Formentor’s most powerful trim, named in reference to the Spanish word ‘Veloz’, meaning ‘fast’.

The Formentor VZ trim offers high-performance powertrain options. Coming with 19” alloy wheels, a 12” Navigation system, autonomous assistance technology and performance bucket seats as standard.

Test Car

My test car was a Cupra Formentor 1.5 TSi (150bhp) DSG (7-speed automatic) which was finished in stylish Graphene Grey Premium metallic paint with optional 19” Exclusive Aero Black and Copper alloy wheels for an added dose of visual drama. Producing 150bhp and 250Nm of torque, the 1,498cc engine propels the Formentor from a standing start to 100km/h in just 8.9-seconds, on its way to a top speed of 203km/h (204km/h in 6-speed manual guise).

Key standard features include full LED headlamps and Daytime Running Lights, rear ‘coast to coast’ light with welcome ceremony, front fog lamps with cornering function, heat-insulated and tinted rear windows, leather-wrapped multi-function heated sports steering wheel, dark aluminium glossy interior package, textile sport seats, keyless unlocking and ignition system, 10.25” Digital Cockpit, 10” Media System with DAB radio, Connect Online infotainment (included for one year), rain and light sensor, heated front seats, adaptive cruise control, park assist, rear view camera, Drive Profile Selection, and auto high-beam assist, along with a suite of advanced safety systems.

Optional extras fitted to my test car included premium metallic paint, black leather bucket seats, 19” alloy wheels, hands-free electric tailgate, Dynamic Chassis Control, and Safe & Drive “L” (Side Assist, Exit Assist & Exit Warning). The sweet-revving petrol engine in my test car produces 150bhp and 250Nm of torque, enabling the car to sprint from 0-100km/h in 8.9-seconds, with claimed fuel consumption as low as 6.7-l/100km (42.2 mpg).

As in other VW Group models, the 1.5-litre engine is commendably quick to drop onto two cylinders to save fuel when cruising, and the process of cutting out and back in again is hard to detect. Composed and predictable handling is admirable, as is the Formentor’s ability to soak up road imperfections with ease.

Impressive Sporty Interior

Take a seat behind the wheel of the CUPRA Formentor and you could be forgiven for thinking that you are in a hatchback rather than a compact SUV. The seating position is low, as is the base of the windscreen, so you feel like you sit much closer to the road — as you would in a performance-focused car.

Selectable driving modes in the Formentor consist of Comfort, Sport, Cupra and Individual, with each mode bringing a greater degree of aggression and engine noise that gets pumped through the cars speakers.

Cabin space in the Formentor is excellent, with adults over six foot tall still able to sit comfortably in the rear seats. You could even sit three abreast thanks to the shallow transmission tunnel. The use of quality materials, with a grainy metal finish in the middle of the fascia, makes the cabin of the Formentor a pleasant and comfortable place to be, while bronze Cupra highlights on the air vents add a sense of occasion to every journey. The boot capacity of 450-litres in the Formentor 1.5 TSI can be expanded by dropping the rear seatbacks, allowing for even greater practicality when called upon.

The Formentor scored a full five star rating in its Euro NCAP crash test, thanks in part to standard safety systems such as lane-keep assist, forward collision warning, predictive cruise control and driver alert warning.

The new Cupra Formentor offers a more exclusive, contemporary vision of sportiness, which is instilled into an exquisitely sleek and bold design.

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