The 2021 Cupra Formentor has arrived in Ireland
The 2021 Cupra Formentor is now on sale in Ireland

Caroline drives the 2021 CUPRA Formentor.

CUPRA is hitting its stride in 2021 with the arrival of the brand’s first original model – the dramatically named CUPRA Formentor! The new athletic crossover joins the CUPRA Ateca, CUPRA Leon, and CUPRA Leon Sportstourer, already on sale here from CUPRA’s four retailers in Dublin, Limerick and Cork.

With a bespoke design, premium aspirations and electrified powertrains, the Formentor is an exciting new entrant to the Irish market, with a starting price of €37,135. It goes on sale with a range of engines, including plug-in hybrids and high performance versions.

What’s so hot about the new CUPRA Formentor?

With the arrival of the Formentor, the CUPRA brand begins to find its niche and make sense. Visually unique and full of impact, the CUPRA badge may not be immediately recognisable, but this new Formentor leaves a lasting impression.

Embracing the most modern powertrain technology from the Volkswagen Group, the Formentor e-Hybrid on test for Changing Lanes leads the way with 245 hp and the ability to plug in, charge and drive on electric power for a range of up to 54 kilometres. The same model is also available with 204 hp. It marries sporty design with cool plug-in hybrid power so effortlessly.

Priced from €50,130 for the top spec VZ Formentor e-Hybrid 245 hp model on test, this is serious money but this is a serious slice of intent from the CUPRA brand. If you love the look of the Formentor, CUPRA will get you on the road from €37,135 with a 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine under the bonnet.

The CUPRA Formentor’s most powerful trim is the VZ, named in reference to the Spanish word “Veloz”, meaning “fast”. Equipment includes 19 ” machined alloy wheels, a glossy 12″ touchscreen, aluminium pedals, CUPRA bucket seats, and dynamic chassis control.

The Formentor goes on sale from €37,135
The Formentor goes on sale from €37,135

What’s it like inside?

Inside there is a new generation interior that feels suitably unique for the emerging CUPRA brand. It certainly has its own identity to differentiate itself from other VW Group products, but with all the latest technology and digital features that such an association merits for the consumer.

This feels like a true premium car behind the wheel, but with a more youthful and sporty vibe to perhaps anything else you might encounter on the market today in this space. Brushed dark aluminium and copper accents add an official CUPRA feel, while the bucket seats add to the high end sporty vibe.

Quality is a strong point as is the digital instrument cluster for the driver. A few grumbles about accessing climate control functions through the screen and fiddling around for ventilation – but the Formentor is forgiven because it’s just so damn unique and interesting inside. You feel like you are stepping out on a new mission every time you press that start button – a mission to save the world!

Formentor can also definitely apply for family car with a spacious interior and generous footwells in the rear. Its height of 1,511mm provides excellent headroom for all passengers while the wheelbase of 2,680mm offers significant legroom for rear occupants and a boot capacity of 450 litres, with powered tailgate available. Preeemium!

Inside the new CUPRA Formentor
Inside the new CUPRA Formentor

What’s under the bonnet of the CUPRA Formentor e-Hybrid?

The high-performance CUPRA Formentor plug-in hybrid combines a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine with a 116PS (85kW) electric motor and 13kWh lithium-ion battery pack, producing a combined output of 245PS (150kW) of power, 400Nm of peak torque and an electric range of up to 54 km.

There are a number of driving modes included for more fun behind the wheel. Comfort keeps things calm and level behind the wheel, ideal for the boring roads or a relaxing trip home. Sport and CUPRA mode ‘rev’ things up, doing all sorts like improving throttle response, tightening up the steering and suspension, as well as changing the sound.

This is not a fire breathing performance car full of drama, pops and bangs. 0 to 100 km/h is 7 seconds but getting there is a more muted experience in the Formentor. This is the way performance cars need to go now so get used to it!

CUPRA will still pop a 2.0-litre TSI in the Formentor for you if you want the old school hot hatch experience. That puts out 310 hp with four wheel drive to keep you glued to the tarmac.

The Formentor marries style, performance and efficiency very well
The Formentor marries style, performance and efficiency very well

On the road in the CUPRA Formentor!

The CUPRA Formentor has been designed and engineered to deliver a performance-orientated drive, with front MacPherson struts and multi-link rear suspension set-up for an intuitive dynamic response in enthusiastic driving! Dynamic Chassis Control comes as standard on the VZ models, which constantly monitors the road surfaces and driver inputs and makes imperceptible changes to guarantee surefootedness in any condition while delivering the most engaging drive. The driver can precisely set-up the vehicle to their preferences, as well as select from four pre-defined driver profiles: Comfort, Sport, CUPRA and Individual.

The Formentor is excellent over the tarmac with a truly premium finish to the ride quality. It’s sharp on the turn in with some lean but driving dynamics are genuinely sporty.

Over a week of driving my average fuel consumption was 6.4 litres per 100 km. With more regular charging, the car could be run even more efficiently. It takes between 3 and 5 hours to charge the battery at 3.6 kW.

CUPRA Formentor is available as petrol, diesel or hybrid electric
CUPRA Formentor is available as petrol, diesel or hybrid electric

Did you like it?

Yes I did! The Formentor is exactly what CUPRA needed – the first car uniquely developed and designed for the brand with an on-trend plug-in hybrid powertrain, premium finish and sporty crossover styling.

This car commands a polished image and futuristic presence. Designed as a crossover, but a sporty one, the Formentor does grow on you. Finished in black with copper accents around the exhaust pipes, it’s menacing and different. Striking just the right poise for a fledgling challenger brand that is aiming high.

A great range of engines means that it remains quite an accessible option in today’s market.

2021 sees CUPRA add Formentor to its plug-in hybrid line-up, alongside CUPRA Leon e-HYBRID, which will be joined later in the year by el-Born, the brand’s first all-electric model.

The car is great. The challenge is of course building a brand and gaining that recognition, but CUPRA are well on their way now as the Formentor feels truly exclusive and unique.

The CUPRA Formentor VZ on sale now!
The CUPRA Formentor VZ on sale now!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: CUPRA Formentor VZ e-Hybrid 245hp DSG
Price: 
€50,130 including grant
Engine: 
1.4-litre petrol electric hybrid
Power: 245 hp
Torque: 400 Nm
Top speed: 210 km/h
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 7.0 seconds
CO2 emissions: 
32-35 g/km
Motor Tax: 
€140 per year