Cupra Formentor (2021) Review
Written by Justin Delaney, an Independent Reviewer, Journalist, and Motor expert.
This one still seems to be confusing for many so let us start, with the basics. For many years the Cupra brand was associated with the performance arm of Seat cars. When you laid eyes on the Cupra badge, depending on what engine choice, you knew it was a little or a lot more powerful. Now the parent group Volkswagen, have decided to split the two brands because what became apparent was that both had completely different target groups. A new standalone Cupra badge was born and the Formentor was developed to be a door opener to new customers that look for exclusivity, modern design and innovative tech.
There are currently four Cupra dealers in Ireland (two in Dublin, one in Cork and one in Limerick), but plans are well under way to double this retailer network. With the launch of the Formentor, the Cupra brand was quick to add to the range with the Cupra Leon, Cupra Leon Sportstourer and the Cupra Ateca. The Formentor which we recently had on test was named after Mallorca’s Cap de Formentor and what a good-looking vehicle it is!
When you approach the Cupra Formentor you are struck by the large front grille proudly displaying the copper badge and accentuated by sharp full LED headlights on either side. Fog lamps sit separately below alongside the aggressive air intakes and the bold design continues along the profile and into the rear where you get a sporty rear diffuser, rear spoiler and exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels that frame the brake discs. Buyers will have a choice of sharp modern paint options to include petrol blue matt, magnetic tech matt and four soft metallic paints. If you really want to stand out there are three special paints, to include graphene grey as seen on our test car, dark camouflage and desire red. Inside the sophisticated, sporty design continues with comfortable sports bucket seats and a steering wheel that not only feels amazing but also houses the engine start and mode select button.
The premium materials continue flanking the dashboard in leather with copper stitching. Horizontal full-LED wraparound ambient lighting running the width of the dashboard and into both front doors gives you a nice ambience whilst the centerpiece 12-inch infotainment touchscreen provides the functionality and connectivity to all that’s important. Space in a crossover vehicle is no doubt important also and at 4,450mm long, 1,839mm wide and with a height of 1,511mm the Formentor provides decent headroom for all the passengers while the wheelbase of 2,680mm offers legroom even for adults in the back. The boot capacity isn’t exactly class leading at 450 litres but it still makes for a practical staycation vehicle.
A 1.5 TSI 150 HP petrol engine mated to a DSG gearbox powered our test car but buyers can choose from five different powertrains, which get significantly more fruity as you go up in price. Topping off the range will be a Formentor VZ e-Hybrid 1.4 TSI 245HP DSG front-wheel-drive and a traditional petrol Formentor VZ 2.0 TSI 310HP DSG 4Drive but the likelihood is that the 2.0 TDI 150 HP will be the volume seller. The VZ name translates into Veloz in Spanish, meaning quick or fast, so when you see that on the rear of a Formentor, know that it’s one of the most powerful versions of the Cupra!
When building a new vehicle albeit on the common MQB Evo platform, safety is naturally a priority but it will always result in anxious times for a new brand as it gets crash tested for the first time. Thankfully the Cupra Formentor has been awarded a five-star safety rating from testing organisation Euro NCAP.
A suite of safety systems including Autonomous Emergency Braking, Side and Exit Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, Traffic Jam Assist, Light Assist and Pre-Crash Assist, work in unison to create a protective bubble around the vehicle and for occupants. Add to these the integration of seven airbags along with Emergency e-Call and the Formentor becomes one of the safest vehicles available in this segment.
Cupra Formentor Prices
The Cupra Formentor range starts from €37,135 for the 1.5-litre 150hp TSI model with a 6-speed manual transmission, rising to €40,885 with a DSG transmission. Our test car came in at €47,472 thanks to the optional extras that included the premium paint, DSG gearbox, 19-inch wheels and aero package.
At the top of the petrol range is the flagship 310hp 4Drive VZ model for €64,425. There are two, 2.0-litre TDI diesel models with 150hp. The version with a 6-speed manual gearbox costs €39,135, while the DSG 4Drive version costs €45,975. Pricing for the 204hp e-Hybrid starts looks set to start from €39,895, with the more potent 245hp version starting from €50,130.
The Formentor e-Hybrid integrates a system that combines a 150hp 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine, a 115hp electric motor and a 13 kWh capacity lithium-ion battery to offer the best of both worlds in terms of performance and emissions. Some will be able to do the daily commute entirely on electric mode thanks to a range of 54 kilometres.
The Cupra Formentor, all be our test vehicle not the most potent version still maintains the relationship between powertrain and chassis to deliver a compelling drive. 100km/h comes up in just under 9 seconds and we averaged about 7 litres of fuel per 100km/h. Pushing a little on twisty roads highlights the chassis and steering performance and it feels engaging to drive and not to firm, even on 19-inch wheels.
It turns heads no matter where you go and people seem intrigued by the badge. In our time driving the Formentor we were asked two questions quiet often. “What is it?” which we kind of expected and the other, “Is that the quick one?” at which point you have to say no. This will no doubt change in time as people become more familiar with the brand and their offerings but we must say they are a welcome addition to Irish roads. Stylish offerings are few and far between at the entry price point of the Formentor so it’s certainly worth considering if you want to differentiate your wheels from your neighbours!
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Cupra Formentor Pros
Cupra Formentor Cons
People asking what is it?
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