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First Drive

First Drive: Cupra Formentor

CUPRA Formentor e-HYBRID 245PS VZ2
The story: The Formentor is Seat sporting brand spin-off Cupra’s first bespoke model, and is a coupe-SUV cross available with petrol or PHEV power
Key rival:BMX X2
On sale:Now

Cupra’s range as a stand-alone brand from Seat is expanding, with the Formentor its first true independent model, joining the Cupra versions of the Seat Leon and Ateca.

The Formentor is a striking coupe-SUV crossover; its strong styling features the curves and bulges associated with a performance model as well as a higher stance and driving position.

First Drive - June 2021 - Cupra Formentor - Image 2It certainly looks aggressive and stands out against more rounded and sober crossovers, a look that is enhanced in darker colours.

The sporting stance is backed up by some, if not all, of the powertrains. Indeed, there are a couple of options that manage to be both fleet-friendly and fast, thanks to the combination of petrol and plug-in power. There are two PHEV models of 204hp and (driven here) 245hp in a range that also includes 150hp, 245hp and 310hp petrol engines.

The more powerful plug-in has an official electric range of 33 miles, rising to up to 37 miles on the 204hp version, putting both into the 11% BiK band for this tax year.

The Formentor handles better than might be expected from a taller vehicle, belying its height and offering impressive levels of composure. With both powertrains engaged it’s also fast, although it never feels quite as quick and direct as top-end hot hatches. The powertrain can also be just a touch too hesitant in terms of deciding which source to use.

First Drive - June 2021 - Cupra Formentor - Image 3Rear space is decent, and although the boot looks small on paper at just 345 litres, it’s a more usable space than the number suggests.

Up-front, the cabin on the V2, VZ1 and VZ2 specs deploys some lovely copper detailing, raising the look and high-spec feel of the top-end models. The 204hp PHEV only comes in the lower V1 and V2 trims, bringing the car into a more reasonable price point than the higher-performance model here, which passes the £40,000 mark. Still, there are decent steps in equipment between each trim level.

Residual values and insurance costs are also impressive, and the Cupra can go toe-to-toe with the premium plug-in hybrid BMW X2, DS 7 Crossback and Range Rover Evoque.

paul barker



The verdict

Stand-out looks and a good driving experience give the Cupra brand some real identity for the first time, while PHEV powertrain makes it cost-effective as a company car.