THERE’S so much to like about the first model to come out of the new Cupra stable, a spin-off brand from Seat in much the same vein as Lexus is to Toyota and DS is to Citroen.

The Formentor – named after a cape of that name on the Spanish island of Majorca - is a coupe SUV with looks as sharp as a chef’s knife and a ride quality that provides both composure and performance.

Its curvy lines certainly turned heads during my week-long series of road tests, yet for a car that is certainly no wallflower I was surprised to find that the name does not appear anywhere but on the front of the owner’s manual.

Sure, the copper-coloured Cupra logo and name can be seen inside and out, but on several occasions I was asked just what this beautifully crafted car was called.

So now you know, and here’s the full range: There’s a 1.4-litre petrol 245PS plug-in hybrid, tested here, a 1.5-litre 150PS petrol unit, 2.0-litre petrol with 190PS and a range-topping 2.0-litre turbo charged petrol offering with a power output of 310PS and four-wheel drive.

The plug-in hybrid offers moderately fast acceleration, shooting from 0 to 62mph in a respectable 7.0 seconds. You will have to opt for the range-topper for seriously fast speed. It travels from 0 to 62mph in 4.9 seconds.

You can choose between a six-speed manual transmission (150PS model only) and seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission.

If you intend to use the Formentor largely for commuter journeys etc, then the plug-in might be the choice for you. It will travel for about 30 miles on electric power alone, with the safety net of petrol power always in the background if you need to make a longer journey. For those making regular longer journeys, then the straight petrol offerings might make more sense.

There are six trim levels to pick from - V1, V2, VZ1, VZ2, VZ3 and VZ Edition. Even with the standard V1 trim, customers get 18-inch alloy wheels, 12-inch infotainment touchscreen with connected navigation, 10-inch digital driver binnacle, LED headlights, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive cruise control, wireless smartphone charger, a leather steering wheel and rear parking sensors.

Full of character, the Formentor sits closer to the ground than other SUVs to highlight its sportiness.

It measures 4,450mm long and 1,839mm wide. Its height of 1,511mm provides adequate headroom, while the wheelbase of 2,680mm offers excellent legroom for rear occupants. The adequate boot capacity measures 450 litres (420 litres for 4Drive models) or 1,475 litres when the rear seats are folded.

The dynamic proportions of Formentor are underscored by the visual emphasis placed towards the rear of the vehicle, with seamless rear lights that add a subtle visual width to the vehicle, while a lengthened bonnet accentuates the car’s sportiness.The sporty aesthetic is completed with standard 19-inch alloy wheels – available in copper finish – which house 18-inch performance Brembo brakes.

The Formentor’s exterior design is perfectly matched by its high-quality interior, providing a sense of modernity and sportiness. Don’t look for any dials on that ultra-modern dashboard with its wraparound ambient lighting– there aren’t any to be found.

What you will find are high-quality materials, with brushed dark aluminium and copper accents adding to the ambience.

The centrepiece of the dashboard is the 12-inch touchscreen which provides the functionality and connectivity and reduces button count.

Based on the MQB Evo architecture from Volkswagen, the chassis and steering of Formentor offer a precise and involved drive.

The front MacPherson struts and rear multi-link set-up balance the needs of comfort for everyday driving and the dynamic response required in more enthusiastic drives.

The range of driver assistance and safety systems also makes the Formentor one of the most relaxing and safest vehicles on the road.

All in all, this is an excellent first entry from an exciting new(ish) brand.


Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid VZ1 245PS DSG

Price: £38,625

Engine: 1.4-litre TSI petrol plus 12.8kWh battery producing 245PS

Transmission: Six-speed DSG automatic

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 7.0 seconds; top speed 130mph. EV range of 34 miles.

Economy: 176.6-188.3mpg

CO2 emissions: 33g/km


Performance: ****

Economy: ****

Ride/Handling: ****

Space/Practicality: ****

Equipment: ****

Security/Safety: ****

Value For Money: ****