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The Cupra Formentor is a formidable performance SUV that is charismatic and highly functional.

22 Jun 2021


Seat is having a ball of a time this year. Not only did it launch the Leon hatchback and Leon ST (stationwagon version of the hatch), the new and sportier Cupra versions of both the cars were also made available around the same time.

The Spanish marque also launched the Cupra Formentor that you see here - the first brand-exclusive model, which is to say that the performance SUV wasn't developed from a Seat model (unlike the rest of the current Cupra models in its lineup).

So that warrants the Formentor (what a name, eh? I mean just typing it out already gives it a sense of occasion) the sort of significance it deserves, despite having the same number of doors and seats as the Cupra Ateca.

Nothing like what we've seen before

Rear of the Formentor is a sleek and neat affair
It is nothing short of good-looking. Its sloping roofline, sharp creases and full-width light strip at the rear give it a much sportier edge than other similar sports SUV in the market right now. And that includes the Audi RS Q3 Sportback, which is already a winner in its class in terms of looks.

However, after driving countless SUVs over the recent years, you and I will have to admit that looks sell, especially in this segment, and that'll be sufficient for the Cupra Formentor to find a strong foothold in its class. Not unless you're the sort of person who eat, drinks and sleeps cars, then maybe you'll have a slightly different opinion than the guy sitting next to you who's thinking about buying an SUV.

Something like what we've driven before

Starting the car via the button on the steering wheel gives it a sense of occasion
But thankfully, the Formentor is more than just good looks. Start the car with a button on the steering wheel (only available on our test car) and the new Cupra immediately comes to life, with an engine that sounds purposeful, potent and no less passionate.

Underneath the long bonnet is a 2.0-litre gem of an engine that transfers 306bhp and 400Nm of twisting force to all wheels. And because the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission swops cogs so rapidly, the needle on the tacho rises almost instantaneously the moment you squeeze the throttle.

Thus, the Formentor test car manages to execute the century sprint in just 4.9 seconds - just half a second slower than the more powerful Audi RS Q3 Sportback and the Mercedes-AMG GLA45 S.

The Cupra has ample grip on the go and is quick
Like its peers, the Cupra comes with several driving modes. You could toggle it to Cupra mode should the time calls for it, where everything is enhanced, including the exhaust note. Or if it gets a tad too tiring, you could take it down a couple of notches to Comfort or Normal, where the car feels more mild-tempered, or just turn up the volume of your music and let the Beats audio system overwhelm you.

But make no mistakes, whichever modes you crank in, the Formentor is an exceedingly quick SUV that has the ability to retain its composure even when you attempt to be ambitious in the corners. And when that happens, you can be assured the Cupra bucket seat up front will do its job in holding you in place.

Yet around town, it is right at home, feeling almost like a smooth-sliding modern hot hatch when you're taking it easy. And despite its slightly bigger dimensions, it's never a chore to place on the roads, even around tighter spaces.

Nothing like what we've felt before

420 litres of boot space makes the Formentor a highly functional sports SUV
Those said bigger dimensions translate to a cabin that's airy and spacious for all five occupants on board. The 420-litre boot space, too, should see to all the needs of you and your passengers.

But more than space, which is a given in an SUV like the Formentor, the cabin is an impressive place to be in. Materials here are top notch, with a nice mix of sportiness and futuristic feel to it. Even the familiar infotainment screen looks more vibrant compared to some of the recently launched cars from the same VW Group.

Bronze colour replaces the traditional 'sporty' red in the Formentor, as it follows through with the colour of the Cupra logo. Thus, there's quite a fair bit of it in here but never to the point of causing the cabin to look gaudy.

Nothing we've come across thus far

2.0-litre engine shoots out 306bhp and 400Nm of torque to all four wheels
Naysayers will lament the fact that the Formentor is just a coupe version of the Ateca or even just a Cupra Leon on stilts, and they're not wrong. Many casual observers who doesn't know how to appreciate a car like this will think that way, and it's not their fault. They are, after all, just casual observers who would go for a regular SUV and do their best to justify why getting one was the best choice they ever made.

However, for drivers who are more 'in the know', and who can appreciate the fact that money cannot buy you taste, the Cupra Formentor is more than just another SUV. Hell, it's the sort of car you don't even need to justify to anyone, surely not to a casual observer who thinks he knows more about cars than you.

Car Information

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CUPRA Formentor 2.0 TSI DSG VZ [310] (A)
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Price

: $249,999

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1984cc

Horsepower

:

228kW (306 bhp) / 6500 rpm

Torque

:

400 Nm / 5450 rpm

Transmission

:

7-speed (A) DSG

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

4.9sec

Top Speed

:

250km/h

Fuel consumption

:

12.9 km/L

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