Since becoming a standalone brand in 2018, CUPRA has developed a range of sportier and more powerful cars which has helped differentiate them from parent company SEAT. The Formentor, launched in 2020, was an important step for the marque as it was the first vehicle developed specifically by CUPRA. Now the high-performance SUV is adding to its line-up with two new hybrid powertrains, starting the brand’s shift towards more electrification.
Get used to it. Electrification is rolling out, not just throughout the Volkswagen Group, but across all car manufacturers as strict emission targets come into effect over coming years, with governments around the world planning to end sales of pure petrol and diesel cars. But don’t think more electricity means less power. A petrol engine with an electric motor can be a pretty powerful combination and, provided you keep it charged, you’ll get a lot more mileage as well.
There are two hybrid powertrains available, each combining a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery, and linked to a DSG gearbox. The CUPRA Formentor e-HYBRID offers 204PS with low emissions of 23-32/km, while the sportier CUPRA Formentor VZ e-HYBRID offers 245PS with emissions of 23-35g/km, all based on the WLTP cycle.
Well, beyond being able to travel further for less, you’ll have full access to low emission zones in big cities without incurring a congestion charge. There’s also the potential of free parking and even free charging with some public chargers.
Electric only mode is perfect for urban drives with the 245PS model offering up to 34 miles on battery power while the 204PS model provides up to 37 miles of emission free driving. So really, if you’re just doing the school run or on the way to work or the shops, your tank should stay pretty full, but for longer journeys or unexpected delays, it’s good to know you have plenty of miles in the tank when required. And it’s not all about efficiency; with all that electric torque, the more powerful model gets off the line quickly with a 0-62mph time of just 7 seconds.
The 12.8kWh battery can be charged in around three and a half hours using a 3.6kW domestic charger. While that’s perhaps not the fastest charge, it’s perfect for those with a home charger or charging points available at their workplace. You can charge it using a conventional plug if you have to but that will take closer to six hours. And with e-Manager, you can monitor the charge via your smartphone, which is handy.
While we’ve perhaps got used to electrified vehicles looking a little bit more futuristic to stand out as something new, this is just another engine option. Moving forwards, that’s probably going to be standard practice with hybrids becoming more common and electric cars less likely to feel the need to use the letter ‘e’ in their names. But in terms of looks, it’s a pretty imposing SUV with bold lines and a front end that looks like it wants to stare you down and growl. The copper highlights on both the logo and the wheels also add an air of distinction.
While this is a fairly compact SUV at 4.4m long and 1.8m wide, it has plenty of room for five passengers and 345 litres of boot space. The cabin is spacious with an excellent driving position dominated by a 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system where you can control most of the car’s functions.
These are premium vehicles so you’ll find high quality materials and decent spec throughout, no matter what version you choose. With the entry-level V1, you’ll get 18-inch machined-alloy wheels, black sports seats, a 10.2-inch digital cockpit and a 12-inch touchscreen. Move up the range and you’ll get a bit more luxury with the range-topping VZ2 offering black leather bucker seats with copper stitching and some bigger 19-inch alloys.
There’s ambient lighting to suit your mood, parking and rear-view cameras plus the kind of connectivity that you’d expect from a classy vehicle with access to all your favourite infotainment apps and automatic emergency service calls, just in case you need it.
The CUPRA Formentor e-HYBRID starts at £ 35,770, going up to £40,260 for the more powerful engine.