The Formentor is a five-door SUV with sporty overtones. If the name Cupra sounds vaguely familiar its because it was the sporty sub brand of quick SEAT’s for many years. Spanish car maker SEAT is part of the vast Volkswagen Group and benefits from its economies of scale, so why not leave things as they were? The VW Group had been looking for a premium sporty car brand to fill a gap in the market and its portfolio for a number of years but to no avail. Finally it decided to construct a brand from within the group and CUPRA was born (see our news story http://motorhub.ie/cupra-launches/). Any car fan will already have respect for the name as it graced the Golf R rivalling SEAT Leon Cupra for many years. The CUPRA Formentor is the firm’s first all new car, so what is it like?
Size-wise the Formentor has mid sized SUV proportions with a crossover twist. The Formentor is bigger than a SEAT Ateca and the same width as a Volkswagen Tiguan (1,839mm). The Formentor is 4,446mm long – some 59mm shorter than the VW. At just 1,520mm high its 147mm lower than a Tiguan and this delivers a more crossover stance on the road. The Formentor’s wheelbase is quite long (2,679mm) and this helps deliver a spacious cabin and has a positive impact on the driving dynamics. The boot is also quite large at 450 litres.
The exterior looks meaty, and for an SUV quite low set. It looks very smart riding on its optional 19 inch ‘Aero’ alloys in black & copper (18 inch alloys are standard). Our test car in Graphine Grey (option) looks particularly sharp. The body features plenty of body line creases and bulges that imply a certain dynamic ability. Unique CUPRA wheels and distinctive lighting (LED headlights are standard) and rear light-bar also help the Formentor stand out from the usual suspects – for now. The light-bar is being used more and more in car design and will soon be quite common.
Diesel and petrol engines feature and there is also e-Hybrid power trains too. Manual and automatic (DSG) gearboxes are available. Font wheel drive is standard and ‘4Drive’ all wheel drive comes on more expensive versions. High performance ‘VZ’ models, now we’re talking proper CUPRAs, come with more powerful units like the 245hp e-Hybrid (€50,130) and 310hp 4Drive version (€64,425). We are testing the entry point Formentor in front wheel drive but with the DSG option. It delivers 150hp/250nm from its 1.5 litre TSI petrol engine. Top speed is 204km/h and the dash from 0-100km/h takes a reasonable 8.9 seconds. Average fuel consumption is quoted at 6.7-7.2L/100km (WLTP) and CO2 emissions are 151-163g/km (WLTP).
Depending on the model Formentor can come with selectable driving modes and a variety of driving aids. A nice touch we liked is the way the blind-spot indication light is house in the door panel’s trim and its amber warning light seems to appear from nowhere. The switches and other bits and pieces are tried and tested from the VW Group’s parts bin. The large centre display houses lots of techy stuff and you can really spend a lot of time trying to work out what is what. Leave plenty of time for the dealer to do a complete hand over.
-The cabin gets a good amount of standard equipment with some of the highlights being: a digital cockpit, park assist, rear-view camera, good LED headlights (auto high beam), 3-zone climate control, wireless charging and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a very large 12 inch touch screen that houses the usual stuff plus a nav system, heated steering wheel and front seats and ACC adaptive cruise control. CUPRA Connect is the app on offer that facilitates real time traffic updates among other things. Our car had a few extras: premium paint (€1,089), leather bucket seats (€1,338), those 19s (€2,043), a hands free tailgate (€629), Dynamic Chassis Control (€955) and Safe & Drive “L” (Side Assist, Exit Assist, Exit Warning) at €533. Our test car had a base price of €40,885 and a further €6,587 of options that brought the total to €47,472.
On the road the Formentor has fast steering and a ride quality that feels tight and well tuned for a more sporty experience. Despite the 1.5 litre’s power output that on paper doesn’t seem that exciting or remarkable the Formentor felt eager to please and a kick down on the accelerator usually delivered sufficient power to do what we asked of the car. The driving position is commanding and if you like you can sit nice and low for a more car/track-like feeling. Our test car’s leather sports seats with integrated head restraint provided a near perfect balance between being comfortable for long journeys yet supportive when cornering with enthusiasm… plus they looked great.
The CUPRA Formentor delivered on its promise to feel sporty and deliver good driving dynamics – even in its lowest powered form! This bodes well for the Spanish brand as premium rivals don’t really play the ‘performance’ card with their offerings and this leaves a niche to be filled by the new kid on the block.