Cupra Formentor Review
Sporty looks, a spacious interior and a broad variety of engine options makes the Formentor and appealing crossover
Strengths & weaknesses
The Cupra Formentor is a family-sized crossover. However, since there are many crossover SUV models available on sale these days, it’s likely you’ll need a little more explanation than that.
To be more specific, the Formentor is a crossover with low-slung coupe styling and which has been created to deliver a sporty-feeling driving experience. It’s a little longer than the Cupra Ateca family SUV, but a little lower, and delivers about the same sort of interior space as a Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus.
It’s part of the relatively new Cupra brand, which was originally a sub-brand for sporty Seat models. Some Cupras – such as the Ateca and Leon – are still sporty versions of Seat models, but the Formentor is Cupra-only design, with no direct Seat equivalent.
Underneath the sharp, geometric styling the engines and other technology are all shared with other Cupra models, Seats and Volkswagens (Cupra is part of the wide group of brands owned by Volkswagen), so the engines and interior technology are well-proven.
This includes the car’s engine range, which includes a choice of four petrol models ranging from 150hp to 310hp in power output, with the middle two models developing 190hp and 245hp respectively. There is also a choice of two plug-in hybrid models with either 204hp or 245hp, both of which are fitted with a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine combined with an electric motor. The battery pack of the less powerful car will allow you to go around 37 miles on electric power alone, while the more powerful model has the same size battery pack, with an electric-only range of around 34 miles.
Even the lowest-powered petrol car can get from 0-62mph in less than nine seconds, while the top-spec 310hp model with four-wheel drive and a seven-speed automatic gearbox can do the same in less than five seconds. All models apart from the entry-level 1.5 and the two hybrids can be specified with four-wheel drive, and there’s a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed auto (though the hybrids feature a six-speed automatic gearbox).
In terms of fuel economy, the entry-level petrol can achieve around 40-45mpg, depending on trim and gearbox choices while the top-spec 310hp car with four-wheel drive is rather more thirsty, with fuel economy of around 33mpg.
The plug-in-hybrid models offer a claimed fuel economy of between 188 and 235mpg, but that figure is based on official test procedures – in the real world the fuel economy you get depends on how much use you can make of the electric motor.
The interior of every Formentor model is generously appointed, with even entry-level V1 cars getting built-in sat-nav, wireless activation for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and three-zone climate control.
Design-wise, the angular lines of the interior are vaguely reminiscent of the Lamborghini Urus SUV’s interior, though at a much lower price. The Cupra Formentor also adds a bit of visual excitement with plenty of flashes of bronze trim – the firm’s signature colour.
The touchscreen system is not particularly user-friendly, and the touch-sensitive pads you have to use for the heater controls are a bit of a faff, but at least there’s plenty of space – especially in the back seats, which offer particularly generous legroom.
Should I get a Cupra Formentor?
✔ Efficient engine choices
✔ Fun to drive
✔ Distinctive styling
✘ Brand lacks premium recognition
✘ Touchscreen and heater controls are fiddly
✘ Plug-in hybrids have limited appeal
The sporty SUV is an increasingly common addition to manufacturers’ ranges, and with the Cupra Formentor, it’s easy to see the appeal of this type of car. It looks good, is fun to drive and manages to combine some of the best aspects of the SUV (chunky looks, raised seating position) with the sporty driving experience of a more traditional hot hatch.
The high-performance four-wheel-drive 310hp petrol model is a genuine hoot to drive, but even the 150hp 1.5-litre model is fun, fast enough, and pleasingly fuel-efficient. The e-Hybrid models, meanwhile, do offer the potential for fuel-efficient low-emissions motoring, but only if your driving involves a lot of short journeys and you have access to a charger at home.
- Models explained
- Trim levels
- Plug-in hybrid
- Best Formentor for
- Boot space
- Should I buy used?
Cupra Formentor (2020-present): models explained
Cupra offers a broad range of engines for the sporty Formentor SUV crossover, with four turbocharged petrol models and a pair of hybrids. There’s no diesel version though, so if you want the most economical choice that isn’t a hybrid, then the 1.5-litre TSI 150, with 150hp and fuel economy of almost 45mpg, will be your best bet.
The rest of your petrol choices all use 2.0-litre petrol engines, with power outputs of 190hp, 245hp and 310hp respectively.
Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid
There are two plug-in hybrid models to choose from in the Formentor range: the e-Hybrid 204, with 204hp, and the e-Hybrid 245, with 245hp. Of the two, the lower-powered car is the better bet, since it’s significantly cheaper and, although slower, still feels comfortably brisk enough.
The 245hp car also offers a slightly less impressive electric range (34 miles versus 37) and its higher price puts it up against more upmarket (and frankly more impressive) rivals such as the Volvo XC40 Recharge.
Which Cupra Formentor to buy: trim levels
|From £20,200: The most basic of all the Formentor trims is still astonishingly well equipped, featuring built-in sat-nav, a 10-inch central touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, wireless phone charging, three-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control and rear parking sensors.
|From £22,587: Step up to V2-spec cars get sporty, figure-hugging seats upholstered in Nappa leather (and the front pair of which are heated), as well as 19-inch alloy wheels (standard V1 cars get 18-inch wheels).
|Limited stock: This is the spec you’ll get as standard with the most powerful engines (the 245hp and 310hp models). As well as similar specs to V1 cars, you also get a powered tailgate that can be controlled by your foot, as well as 19-inch alloy wheels. You also get a 12-inch central touchscreen.
|From £28,901: Like the upgrade from V1 to V2 cars, moving up from VZ1 to VZ2 brings Nappa leather, sports seats and heated front seats. You also get adaptive sports suspension plus front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera.
|Limited stock: As well as all the goodies of the models lower down the range, the VZ3 trim level gets smart copper-and-black-accented alloy wheels, plus larger Brembo-branded performance brakes.
Best Cupra Formentor engine
The appeal of the more powerful Formentor versions is fairly obvious, but actually the entry-level 150hp 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine is gutsy enough to propel the Formentor from rest to 62mph in less than nine seconds, and does so in a smooth, linear way – so you know there’ll always be power on hand when you want it.
The fact that this car’s only front-wheel-drive also offers an advantage at the petrol pump, with fuel economy an impressive 44.8mpg for the car when equipped with a manual gearbox.
Best Cupra Formentor plug-in hybrid
The more powerful 245hp e-Hybrid model is around a second quicker to 62mph than the 204hp version, but the lower-powered car can still accelerate from 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds, so it’s plenty quick enough for most situations.
What’s more, it has a theoretical electric-only range of 37 miles with a full battery charge (which takes around three and a half hours). This means that if you can regularly charge the car and do lots of small trips, you can save an awful lot of money on fuel.
Best Cupra Formentor model for…
Despite Cupra’s mission statement of being an electrified brand, there are no fully-electric models and only two of the six engine choices are plug-in hybrids. Nevertheless,
|Cupra Formentor TSI 150 V1: The V1 trim level might be the entry point to the Formentor range, but it’s still packed to the brim with equipment, including built-in sat-nav and three-zone climate control. The 150hp 1.5-litre engine, meanwhile, isn’t all that powerful, but it’s responsive and smooth as well as economical.
|Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid 204 V1: Assuming shopping trips, school runs, and general offspring-ferrying make up the bulk of your journeys, the hybrid version of the Formentor makes a lot of sense. And the V1 trim level offers more than enough standard equipment – there’s no need to spend any more.
|Cupra Formentor TSI 310 VZ2: With 310hp, four-wheel drive and the ability to sprint from 0-62mph in less than five seconds, the top-spec engine in the Formentor line-up turns this sporty SUV into a proper performance car.
|Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid 245 VZ2: As with the lower-powered plug-in hybrid Formentor, the 245hp model is a great option for drivers looking to cut costs at the pump. Unfortunately, in this trim it’s significantly more expensive, putting it up against more premium machinery with a better electric range.
Cupra Formentor rivals
The lower end of the Formentor range doesn’t really have that many natural rivals, but perhaps the closest conceptually is the rakish-looking Audi Q3 Sportback. There’s also the smart-looking Toyota C-HR which, despite its coupe styling, actually offers reasonable rear-seat space. If you want a more family-focused, upright design, the Volvo XC40 should probably be on your shopping list as well.
At the top end of the Formentor range, the closest rival for the high-performance 310 model is probably the Volkswagen T-Roc R, which has a similar four-wheel-drive system and just as much power (300hp). It’s also a smidgen cheaper than the Cupra.
Cupra Formentor practicality: dimensions and boot space
Cupra Formentor dimensions
The Cupra Formentor is 4,450mm long, 1,839mm wide, and 1,528mm tall. That makes it lower than a standard family SUV, but a few centimetres taller than a family hatchback such as a VW Golf. It is noticeably longer than the Golf, however, to the tune of just over 15cm. That helps contribute to a decent boot space and reasonable rear legroom (compared with a family hatchback, at least; family SUVs will have a similar-sized boot).
All of this makes the Formentor reasonably wieldy in tight car parks, although its extra length can make shorter parking spaces a bit of a challenge.
|Weight 1,422kg - 1,701kg
Cupra Formentor boot space
The size of the Formentor’s boot depends on the model you go for. The front-wheel-drive petrol cars are the biggest, with 450 litres of boot space. That’s around 30 litres less than you’ll find in the more family-oriented and upright Seat Ateca SUV, but around 70 more than in the boot of a VW Golf.
Go for the four-wheel-drive versions and you’ll lose 30 litres of space, but the hybrid models fare the worst – you only get 345 litres of boot space.
|Seats up 345-450 litres
Cupra Formentor reliability
Since Cupra is a relatively young brand – and one that doesn’t yet sell in huge numbers – there’s not much specific data for its cars overall, let alone specific models. That being said, Seat, whose cars are closely related to Cupra’s, came 17th out of 30 brands that featured in the 2021 What Car? Reliability survey, so around average.
On the other hand, the Seat Ateca SUV came in the top 10 in the 2022 Auto Express Driver Power survey, so the related Cupra Formentor should deliver pretty dependable motoring.
Cupra Formentor warranty
When it comes to warranty, you’re covered by a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty with a Cupra Formentor. That’s fairly close to the standard across the industry, but BMW offers unlimited mileage on its three-year cover, while something like a Toyota C-HR or a Hyundai Kona will give you a five-year warranty from new.
Used Cupra Formentor: should I buy one?
Cupra is a relatively unknown brand, but it’s not aiming for high sales volumes. As a result, it’s predicted that the Cupra Formentor will hold onto its value pretty well. This will make a secondhand Cupra Formentor a relatively pricey initial purchase, but should also mean that PCP finance payments will be comparatively attractive, as finance companies use the predicted future value of a car to set monthly payment levels.
The higher-powered models may be a little harder to seek out on the used market, and the same goes for the higher trim levels, but since the lower-spec Formentors are still generously equipped, this shouldn’t put you off. The front-drive cars also offer a fuel economy advantage over the four-wheel-drive models.
Think carefully about a plug-in hybrid, though – these really only make sense if they suit your driving habits (ie most of your journeys are short hops and you have somewhere to plug the car in at home).
Best Cupra Formentor deals
If you want the ultimate in performance from your Cupra, then the four-wheel-drive 2.0-litre version with 310hp is definitely the one to go for. Go for the lower-spec VZ2, though, as the range-topping VZ3 isn’t really worth the extra outlay - the VZ2 has more than enough bells and whistles.
If you’re a company car user, on the other hand, then one of the e-Hybrid plug-in hybrid models should be on your radar. Of the two, it’s the lower-powered 204hp versions that are the better bet, as it represents better value for money, is slightly more economical than the more powerful 245hp car but is still usefully quick.
If a plug-in hybrid doesn’t suit your motoring lifestyle, though, the entry-level TSI 150 model is to be recommended: it can deliver a respectable 45mpg and the engine, though not all that powerful, is far from gutless.
*Representative PCP finance - 2018 Ford Fiesta 1.0 ST-Line Hatchback:
|PCP representative example
|APR rates available
|Cash price £12,000
|Value of loan
|Fixed monthly payment £218.12
|Annual mileage of 8,000pa
|Total cost of credit £2,755.55
|Term 48 months
|Optional final payment £4,285.79
|Loan value £12,000
|Total amount payable £14,755.55
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