Cupra is the premium, performance brand of Seat, with most of it’s models sharing it’s parent company’s DNA. The exception to that rule is the Formentor, a coupe crossover, offered with petrol engines & as a plug-in hybrid.
Specs & prices
The Cupra Formentor is available with a choice of four specs. V1, V2, VZ2 & VZ3. Prices start from £28,270the entry level V1 petrol 150 manual, rising to £43,550 for the top of the range VZ3 4Drive 310 DSG. Our test car was the VZ2 eHybrid 245 DSG, which costs £40,585.
On the petrol front, there’s an entry level TSI Petrol 150, available as either a 6-speed manual or 7-speed DSG auto. A TSI 4Drive Petrol 190 7-speed DSG auto & a TSI 4Drive Petrol 310 7-speed DSG auto, a model that is frankly bonkers to drive.
None of these though, are company car friendly, so those clever people in Barcelona, have also built the Formentor in two plug-in-hybrid versions. The V1 eHybrid AFV 204 6-speed DSG-auto, or the more powerful eHybrid AFV 245 6-speed DSG-auto.
The Formentor’s definitely a looker. Coupe meets SUV & it works. Narrow front LED headlights showcase a largish front grille with the Cupra logo front & centre. The rear is a little more conservative & a bit more Seat. The narrow lights run right across the lid of the rear hatch & the bronze finished twin exhausts, really make a style statement.
All versions come with LED headlights, a 12″ touchscreen infotainment screen, wireless Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, plus a 10.2″ digital drivers display. Safety is strong, with all models also getting Lane Assist, a seat belt reminder, forward collision warning with automatic braking, a driver alert system & a Safety & Driving Pack.
The V1 also has 18″ alloys, a leather multi-function steering wheel, rear parking sensors & an electronic parking brake. V2 adds 19″ alloys as standard, plus a Napa leather interior, parking assistance & a rear-view camera.
VZ1 & VZ2 are more powerful, so are also equipped with adaptive sport chassis control, sports front suspension, speed-sensitive power steering, 19″ “Exclusive’ matte black alloys & a rear diffuser with single exhaust pipe on each side. The VZ2 also features an electrically-adjusted drivers seat with memory function & the Safety & Driving Pack as standard, an option on the other models.
VZ3 adds 19″ ‘exclusive’ copper & black alloy wheels plus Brembo Brakes.
The interior of the Formentor really stands out, thanks to the attractive matte black, chrome dashboard, finished off with copper trimmed features, around the air vents & steering wheel controls. The 12″central infotainment screen leans toward the driver which is a good thing. However, as with many of the latest VW Group range products, there is a distinct lack of physical buttons, with most inputs undertaken via the touchscreen. For example, I find Lane Departure Warning hard to live with, so like to deactivate it. Having to enter the screen every time you start up, to turn off Lane Departure is extremely frustrating. A simple on/off button would have been much simpler.
Thankfully, there are some physical buttons, such as the climate control, which is operated by touch-sensitive bars. Disappointingly, they’re fiddly too. Again, we would have preferred a simple dial or switch. Happily, the Adaptive Cruse Control, heated steering wheel, driving data, voice control & the radio volume, can be controlled with steering-wheel buttons.
Apart from some cheap plastic adorning the lower reaches of the centre binnacle & doors, it’s all pretty good. So you get soft touch plastic on the dashboard tops, decent leather seat finishes & a tasteful black interior, all add to the sporty feel.
The door pockets are large & you get twin centre cup holders. There’s a phone charger in the centre of the lower dash & two slim spaces either side of the gear knob to fit your keys. There are twin ‘C’ USB’s up front & two more in the rear, which also features separate heating controls & an armrest equipped with two more cup holders.
Space inside is good, but seating wise, the rear will only comfortably fit 2 adults.Rear head & legroom is actually very good, with my six-foot tall son fitting in comfortably, when sat behind the driver.
The Formentor e-Hybrid comes with 345 litres of boot storage, 105 litres less than the petrol versions. The plug-in comes supplied with a two charging cables & a handy bag for each, but there’s no space under the boot floor to store these. Rear seats do fold 60:40.
CO2 & BIK
With just 29g/km or 33g/km of CO2, the two plug-in models are extremely fleet friendly & offer BIK of just 10% for tax year 2021/22 & 11% in tax year 2022/23. When the lowest petrol Formentor offers 32% BIK, it’s clear to see how much personal tax you can save, by choosing the plug-in version.
Plug-In charging times, fuel economy & full electric range
The e-Hybrid 204, offers a combined range of 235 mpg & a 37 mile pure electric range. The more powerful e-Hybrid 245, fares slightly worse with an 188 mpg combined range & a pure electric range of 34 miles. Charging at home, from 0-100%, on a 7.2kWh charger, will take 3hrs 40mins
Unlike most full electric cars & vans, most plug-in hybrids, the Formentor included, don’t have the capability to be rapid charged, so you can’t take advantage of the UK’s rapid charging network.
Both plug-in models are rapid, but not as quick as you might expect. If you want ultimate driving fun, the 180 & 310 bhp petrol versions are better to drive & the range topper, much quicker.
The e-Hybrid 204, has a 0-62 mph time of 7.6 seconds & a top speed of 127mph. The e-Hybrid 245, will hit 62 mph in 6.8 seconds & will go on to reach a top speed of 130mph.
You can select from one of five driving modes in the Formentor; Comfort, Sport, Cupra, Individual & Off-Road. These can be chosen by pushing the Cupra logo button on the steering wheel. Each is pretty self explanatory.
So, for more frugal driving, we spent most of our week driving in Comfort mode, whilst utilising Adaptive Cruise Control on the motorway. Perfect for a softer ride & fuel economy. Sport up’s the ante, with better acceleration & tighter handling. Off-Road & Sport also tweak the suspension accordingly. Choose Cupra & this increases the weight of the steering & further tightens up the suspension. Make sure you turn off Lane Departure when in Cupra mode, as it completely spoils the fun. Selecting Cupra alos adds an artificial engine noise as well.
Driving & handling
When you start the engine, as long as you have some battery charge, the Forementor defaults to EV mode. The other option is Hybrid mode. In our experience, it’s best to save the battery range for slower driving, in town for example, where you’ll get more miles from the battery range. So, you’ll need to enter the touchscreen menu, select EV & choose Hybrid as the default mode, otherwise the car will set off in EV mode & the battery range will disappear pronto.
Driving in Comfort mode doesn’t mean a lack of fun, far from it. Despite the battery weight, the Formentor handles the road very well, especially in Comfort mode. If you move into Sport or Cupra modes, the chassis stiffens up & the bumps are a little more noticeable, but neither setting is hard compared to the bone shattering ride that accompanied Leon Cupra’s of old.
We took a trip to Liverpool for the weekend, four adults, a dog & our luggage & it was extremely comfortable. There was plenty of room on board & in the boot, where we comfortably fitted four holdalls & a bag for the dog. Thanks to the four USB connections, everyone could do their own thing. Connecting wirelessly to Apple CarPlay was seamless in cab hands-free telephone calls were easy to make.
As far as real world economy goes, we drove almost 300 miles in our week in the Cupra, averaging just over 52 mpg. We would suggest that the battery range was closer to 27 miles than the claimed 34 miles.
Charging at home was quick & easy, although we did take advantage of our Local Tesco’s free Podpoints once or twice. When charging at home, we took advantage of our suppliers discounted night time charging rate of 5p a kWh between oo.30 & 04.30 am, meaning a full charge of the Formentor’s 12.6h kW battery, cost us just 60p. So 270 miles of pure electric driving would cost just £6.00.
Great looking car, with some nice internal & external touches that make it stand out from the crowd. Company car drivers will love the 10% BIK. Despite the heavy battery, the Formentor actually handles very well. And IF you plug in regularly & stay local, you’ll not need to visit the petrol station often either.
The touchscreen interface isn’t the best out there & it takes too many clicks to get where you want to go, which is distracting. Boot space is only average & there’s nowhere to store the charging cables. There’s some questionable plastic quality, around the doors & lower centre console. Not as rapid as one would expect from a Cupra.
The Cupra Formentor eHybrid, is an excellent addition to the burgeoning PHEV, company car sector. It’s different too, which has to be a good thing. We found that it work’s well as a family car, whilst offering the driver the chance to indulge in bit of Cupra fun. It also gives the Cupra brand a unique model, which we believe, will be followed up by a full electric model shortly. Watch this space.
Model as tested Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid VZ2 245PS DSG
EV range: 34 miles
Engine: 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol, mated to a 12.8kWh battery
Transmission: Six-speed auto, FWD.
0-62mph: 7.0 seconds
Top speed: 130mph