REVIEW: Cupra Formentor

When a car company introduces a new brand it takes a bit of time for the car-buying public to get to know about it and its range of cars. Advertising helps and word of mouth is also good, but nothing beats seeing the car ‘in the flesh’ on the road or in shopping centre car park.

Last week I got a few enquires as I was driving the new Cupra Formentor. Cupra is a sub-brand of Seat and the Formentor is the first bespoke car from Seat’s sporty sub-brand. It was launched during Covid which probably explains why it has taken a bit of time for the brand to make a name for itself.

The Formentor is a compact crossover SUV and is based on the same platform as the Seat Ateca and joins other Cupra model such as the Leon and Ateca and the fully electric Cupra Born.

The sub-brand issue reminds me a bit of Citroen, who have also introduced a stylish sub-brand called DS.

I drove the e-Hybrid version of the Formentor, where you can get close to 55km in pure electric mode. It’s also available in pure petrol and diesel.

Colour means so much when testing a new car and straight away I was impressed with the discreet shade of grey called Magnetic Tech. It’s a colour that Seat has often used in the past.

When you sit in, the first item that catches your eye are the two raised creases on the bonnet. In some new cars the bonnets are set very low, but not in the Formentor. The two creases give you a feeling that you are in charge of a powerful motor.

I drove the 1.4-litre TSI automatic version with 204 brake horse power. So plenty of power under the bonnet, which I suppose is what most young and maybe not so young people want when they are buying a powerful sports car.

Passers-by were curious when they saw the distinctive Cupra badge on the grille, tailgate and wheels. The bonnet is long and sculpted, the roof is low slung and the arches at the rear are wide. My test model had 19-inch alloys with copper and black detailing, which certainly added to the sporty look.

Formentor is as stylish inside as it is on the outside, with copper stitching across the dashboard, sculpted leather sports seats on the highly-specced version I drove and a large 12-inch infotainment screen. The interior is topped off with a flat-bottom steering wheel which naturally carries the Cupra logo. The roofline is black, in keeping with the sporty design.

You can choose Comfort or Sport mode and should be able to get from zero to 100km in around seven seconds, if it’s rapid speed you are after. Being of mature age I spent most of my driving time in ‘Comfort’ mode, but no doubt younger drives would prefer Sport mode.

That infotainment screen on the dash is impressive, but it took me a few minutes to figure out how to completely turn off the air conditioning; a younger person sitting alongside me helped.

It’s handles very well and is a really stylish car that will get you plenty of admirers and questions as it will stand out from the crowd in any car park. But it’s also a bit expensive. Prices start at €41,630, but my test car with a plethora of extras will cost you €52,450. Road tax is €140.