A seriously good-looking car, the Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid ticks several boxes for a stylish and practical SUV. There’s an odd mix of materials and finishing on the inside with wood-effect panelling and bronze-gold accents outshining the less appealing plastic elements. Well equipped, the Formentor e-Hybrid is a responsive drive, albeit a little harsh over speed bumps. If you’re adamant on getting a plug-in hybrid and you prefer your car to look sleek and sharp, this is a great choice – that also comes with all the tax savings for company users. With a lot to like, the spacious Formentor e-Hybrid is a fine attempt at reflecting Cupra’s sporty soul.
- Sleek sporty exterior in line with the Cupra brand
- Ergonomic support and spacious interiors
- High performance engine with lower running costs
- Odd mix of materials used for the interiors
- Harsh over speed bumps and potholes
- Wide on corners due to a nose-heavy front
Who is Cupra?
Though the brand only recently became officially independent, the first time a Cupra badge sat proudly on a car was in 1996 with the SEAT Ibiza GTI Cupra Sport 16v.
But, if you’ve seen a Cupra on the roads in recent months, you may have done a double take to try and figure out which car manufacturer the Superman-like logo belongs to. We wouldn’t blame you. Cupra, a motorsport’s division created by SEAT, only became a standalone manufacturer with its own DNA in February 2019, with the first models introduced at the Geneva International Motor Show that year.
Cupra does give the impression of something you might find in the Marvel universe – a comparison that’s backed up with its striking logo, which took inspiration from tribal civilisations, balancing different worlds and elements. So, much like the otherworld crime-fighting heroes on screen, Cupra had to prove its high performance and reliability characteristics to the masses.
Fast-forward to 2022, and Cupra has quickly gained momentum for its effortless union of sporty style, innovation, and dynamic driving. Bringing both motoring enthusiasts and everyday drivers car models inspired by SEAT’s racing division, and growing to become more than just SEAT’s performance-focused car range. And the rest, as they say, is (modern) history.
Today, Cupra is known for its strong build, intelligent technology, and dependability. It’s managed to carve out a place for itself in a competitive industry. Delivering on its “commitment to craft, technology, performance, and quality”, and continuing to drive its passion for sporty vehicles forward.
At the recent annual SMMT test day, we got behind the wheel of the Cupra Formentor 1.4 e-Hybrid VZ1 245PS DSG – a trendy coupé SUV that promises low-running costs and a touch of indulgence in the plug-in hybrid segment.
Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid: Sharp exterior
On first impression, the coupé crossover appears slick and well-designed. Its bold stance and strong silhouette gives it a dominating posture in comparison to some of its competitors like the bulky Volvo XC40. The e-Hybrid’s razor-sharp design is accentuated with smooth curves and its aerodynamics help to minimise fuel costs too.
The exterior inspiration here is the SEAT Ateca, but the Formentor e-Hybrid stands just a little longer at 4,450mm in comparison to the Ateca’s 4,363 mm. The 5-door VZ1 trim is daring yet unpretentious and crafted with plenty of great features.
This model comes with exclusive 19-inch matte black or silver alloy wheels (we prefer the latter for a more unified look), a stylish sports bumper, welcome lights, LED headlights, and tail lamps with dynamic indicators.
But, more impressively, you also get electrically adjustable, folding, and heated door mirrors which can help to increase your visibility in winter, and you’ll spend less time waiting for them to defrost. Bonus!
Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid: Spacious interior
The Formentor e-Hybrid interior has a thoughtful layout. Its practical space brings upscale finishing to the dashboard and centre console, which offer grey wood-effect panelling.
Where the inconsistency creeps in is the slightly cheaper-looking elements that give a plastic effect around the glove compartment and vents. But it’s a minor concern in the grand scheme of things.
The sophisticated theme continues, with the genuine Cupra Petrol Blue or Black Nappa leather bucket seats paired with copper stitching. There are sport pedals, ambient lighting, a 12” navigation system, and three-zone climate control.
The ergonomic layout of the cabin allows all passengers to sit comfortably – a plus for long journeys.
However, what we did find on our short drive is that wind and noise emission isn’t the best. The Formentor e-Hybrid isn’t the quietest ride, especially at higher speeds, but this is synonymous with the attributes of the sporty brand.
Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid: Safety and tech
The Formentor e-Hybrid comes with a Safety and Driving Pack for the VZ1 which includes dynamic road sign display, high beam assist, and blind spot monitor and exist assist.
It’s no wonder this car ranked strongly in the latest Euro NCAP Safety tests, with a five-star rating and a 93% and 88% score, respectively, for adult and child occupant safety.
Alongside the intuitive 12” navigation system, you’ll get Full Link phone integration and wireless phone charging, a configurable digital cockpit, and four USB-C sockets. Making sure that you’re always connected.
We particularly liked the size and placement of the Formentor e-Hybrid’s digital instrument dials which neatly place everything you need right in front of you at a user-friendly angle.
There are also a range of advanced technologies to optimise the comfort and driving experience. These include keyless entry and start (KESSY), Predictive Adaptive Cruise Control with speed limiter, park assist sensors and rear-view camera.
There’s Dynamic Chassis Control with driving profile selection, sports suspension, and an electronic locking differential, too.
Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid: Driving and charge
Capable of delivering up to 245PS of power, 400Nm of peak torque, and an electric range of up to 34 miles, the Formentor e-Hybrid is one of the most efficient, emissions-free cars in its segment.
The plug-in hybrid mates a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine with a 116PS (85kW) electric motor and 13kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Combined, they push power straight to the front wheels. This makes for a graceful, well-weighted drive on long stretches with agile handling allowing you to glide along with accuracy.
The Formentor e-Hybrid can accelerate from 0-62mph in 7.0 seconds, charging on to a top speed of 130mph. The new powertrain delivers a combined fuel consumption of up to 188.3mpg and produces CO2 emissions as low as 33g/km (WLTP).
When it comes to battery charge, this can be done from 0-100% in just 3 hours and 33 minutes, using a 3.6kW AC charger.
Choose from three driving modes: Comfort, Sport, and Eco. This is topped with there being no clutch, enabling effortless gear change and extra torque for immediate acceleration.
More importantly, the Formentor e-Hybrid offers a commanding, high driving position. We always felt in total control of the vehicle and visibility was excellent. Additionally, the electrically adjustable driver’s seat is designed to give maximum lumbar support, which we noticed from the shoulders up.
When it comes to corners and bumps – anything that requires a little extra effort, the Formentor e-Hybrid feels less precise. The heavy-nosed car requires a little more skill and driving finesse to master tight turns, speed humps, and potholes.
The striking Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid is a great choice for those who love sportier cars with all the tech packed into a stylish design. Starting from £38,625.