Cupra Formentor Review
The Cupra Formentor is the first model from Seat’s off-shoot performance brand. It looks great inside and out and is fun on the right road, but there are bigger boots and higher driving positions available.
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The Cupra Formentor is the first model to go on sale from what is a new performance brand. Sure, you’ve seen the Cupra name at the end of hot SEAT models in the past, but now you’ll start seeing it at the beginning, with its very own models.
Those begin with the Formentor; a family SUV, doing a similar job to the VW T-Roc R and BMW X2 M35i.
Even if the Cupra badge looks like a tribal tattoo you wake up with alongside a hangover in Magaluf, the rest of the exterior is like a shot of Berocca. Its sloping roofline and sharp creases give it an even sportier edge than the brands over SUV, the Cupra Ateca, despite having the same number of doors and seats.
Inside, the good news continues, because the Formentor is much more interesting to behold than the Ateca, but also a T-Roc R or X2 M35i. It has a high centre console, an interestingly styled dash and doors, plus a massive widescreen infotainment system in the middle. Quality is very good too. We do wish there were a few more personalisation options inside, though, and that goes for the outside regards wheel choice, too.
There are a few annoying things with the infotainment system and buttons too. For instance, the screen is bright, sharp and quick to react, but the system’s menus are sometimes confusing. The touch-sensitive climate controls are difficult to use while driving, too, a criticism we’ve also levelled at the VW Golf, which gets a similar set.
Still, you can plug in your Apple or Android phone and it’ll display on the screen of every model, meaning you don’t need to worry too much about the in-built system, or satellite navigation for that matter. Phew.
We'd go for the 310hp petrol, because it's great fun to drive. V2 trim makes the most sense from a value perspective.
You sit lower to the ground in the Cupra Formentor than you do in a Cupra Ateca, making it feel much closer to a Leon in terms of its driving position. The driving position itself is great, but if you like being higher up the Ateca is the better option. Otherwise, there’s decent space for four adults inside the Formentor, and its boot isn’t far behind the Ateca’s for size or practicality. Nor an X2’s for that matter.
You can have your Formentor with either a 2.0-litre turbo petrol in 150, 190 or 310hp forms, or go the plug-in hybrid route and have a 1.4-litre petrol paired with a small battery and electric motor which together offers 204 or 245hp. These PHEVs will travel around 37 miles on electricity, meaning low CO2 and the cheapest company car tax.
So far we’ve tried the range-topping 2.0-litre petrol with 310hp. This power reaches the road via all-wheel-drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, a combination that ensures seriously strong acceleration in all conditions, plus lots of grip in wintery conditions. Cupra has also done a great job with the Formentor’s steering, which is fairly light, but confidence-inspiring on a country road. All-told, its as fun as a T-Roc and more so than the X2.
All Formentors come with suspension you can stiffen and slacken via a drive mode selector. That keeps its body in better check through quick, tight bends, but in its comfiest setting means lumps and bumps in town are no problem, either. And, despite the Formentor’s pinched rear styling, parking isn’t difficult because all cars come with a reversing camera.
The Formentor is even a comfy, quiet companion on the motorway, making it something of a great all-rounder. There are sporty SUVs with bigger boots and higher driving positions, but if neither matters to you, the Formentor should certainly be on your shortlist.
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