Cupra’s break up from the bigger SEAT model a couple of years in the past actually went via its share of criticism with out a bespoke mannequin to base it on, however now, lastly, it has a mannequin all of its personal within the Formentor crossover.
It joins the Ateca and Leon in a variety that finally appears to be like to be shifting in the correct course as a standalone model. It’s because, regardless of the predictable crossover type and in any other case standardised MQB underpinnings, the brand new Formentor is definitely a really spectacular automotive, and one which now makes a really pertinent case for Cupra’s existence.
Engine, transmission and 0-60 time
The Formentor runs on a mixture of the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform and its varied powertrain ranges, which as of 2021 contains two plug-in hybrid fashions with both 200bhp or 242bhp, a base turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 148bhp and this top-spec 306bhp 2-litre 4.
All however the base automotive are fitted with a regular DSG ’field, and the 310 TSI mannequin options all-wheel drive – the remaining make do with two pushed wheels. The highest-spec automotive we’re driving right here is powered particularly by an engine acquainted to any VW Group scorching hatchback aficionado, the (you guessed it) EA888.
Whereas the Formentor’s inherent platform and suspension parts are nothing uncommon (MacPherson struts up entrance, a multi-link rear), the way in which that Cupra has organized them is definitely fairly totally different from most MQB merchandise. A scientific behavior of all MQB crossovers is a barely ‘off’ driving place that just about has you pitched over the steering wheel, not in contrast to in an outdated Renault Sport Clio 182. That is because of the steering linkage on the entrance axle being set on the identical level as in a standard Golf or Leon, and the rake of the steering wheel being extra vertical to satisfy the upper seating place. It’s an irksome quirk of so many VW Group SUVs, but isn’t a difficulty within the Formentor.
Long run exams
The Formentor’s driving place nonetheless sits increased than a standard hatch, however the distinction as an alternative is felt within the tall scuttle, excessive sprint and slim home windows, which make you are feeling correctly ensconced inside the cabin, in contrast to the perched place you get in an Ateca.
And as soon as in there, what a cabin to greet you. The Formentor just isn’t an inexpensive automotive, besides Cupra’s efforts to make the inside really feel distinctive and considerate is obvious. The seats are brilliantly comfy, the steering wheel feels nice within the palms, materials high quality is basically spectacular and our check automotive’s blue leather-based actually feels totally different and attention-grabbing. That is all underpinned by probably the most resolved execution but of the Group’s button-free digital interface.
What’s it wish to drive?
It’s simply as spectacular as the stunning cabin, proper from the off. There’s the standard mild contact to the controls as you draw back, however every part feels crisp and correct. The trip can be instantly pliant and beautifully judged, particularly on the adaptive dampers which might be customary on the high-powered 310 TSI.
Get on the throttle and the Formentor then differentiates itself even farther from its siblings by producing an engine noise with actual resonance and depth – much more so than the efforts of the technically comparable Golf R and Audi S3. After all, there’s some augmentation from the audio system, nevertheless it’s fairly properly built-in and doesn’t sound too inauthentic.
Begin taking part in with the totally different driver modes and the Formentor’s bandwidth solely will increase, revealing the EA888’s inherent flexibility and enthusiasm. It’s a robust engine in all functions, however even with a considerably portly 1569kg kerb weight, the Formentor feels good for its 306bhp claimed energy determine.
Get into the groove on a difficult highway and the Formentor will fortunately play ball, diving into its suspension journey to actually dig into the highway floor, discovering shocking front-end grip and rear-end traction.
With a heavier steering setting chosen, there’s nearly sufficient suggestions flowing via the steering to maintain you on high of how a lot grip the entrance axle has left, and because of the physique’s lateral motion the chassis itself contributes to the knowledge stream simply as successfully. But this softer edge to the dealing with doesn’t come on the expense of physique management, even with slackened-off damper settings.
If we’re being choosy, it doesn’t share the brand new Golf R’s rambunctious character proper on the high of its working window, and the brakes are a tad overservoed and lack development, however the non-compulsory Brembo brake improve may simply put to relaxation that mark on its scoresheet. General the Formentor is a small, quick crossover that feels extra at one with itself than just about some other we’ve pushed – a very good signal for the new-age model and a mannequin worthy of launching a marque.
Value and rivals
Formentor pricing kicks off at £27,395, however the awkwardly named VZ2 310 TSI we’re driving right here will set you again a extra severe £39,830. Commonplace tools is powerful, with nice heated leather-based seats, a full-spec infotainment and hi-fi system, 19-inch alloy wheels and crisp all-round parking cameras. The highest-level VZ3 is priced from £42,200 and provides within the Brembo brake package deal and a unique 19-inch wheel design.
‘Crossover’ rivals embody the costly and odd-looking £46,775 BMW X2 M35i and £44,015 Mercedes-AMG GLA35 (the much less stated concerning the Audi SQ2 the higher, however it’s no less than low cost, comparatively talking, at £37,315). Volkswagen’s T-Roc R is priced at £40,715, which feels a bit steep when in comparison with the Formentor’s superior… properly, every part.
Persist with conventional scorching hatchbacks and the Audi S3 can be fairly underwhelming at its £36,315, whereas the BMW M135i and Mercedes-AMG A35 commerce blows in even smaller packages. If a hatchback of this kind is desired, the £39,270 Mk8 Golf R actually is the standout providing proper now, thanks largely to its trick rear differential and the playful new edge it offers to the in any other case wise Golf. The additionally superb CLA35 AMG Capturing Brake is also thought-about a left-field different at £41,800.