Cupra Formentor review

Category: Sports SUV

Section: Performance & drive

Available fuel types:petrol
Available colours:
Cupra Formentor 2020 rear cornering
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RRP from£27,395
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

We’ve sampled the 1.4 TSI 245 eHybrid in the latest Cupra Leon but not in the Formentor. Expect it to feel brisk rather than thrillingly quick, but, thanks to the swell of low-end shove added by the electric motor, effortless in everyday driving. And it’s a plug-in, so it should do around 30 miles on battery power alone.

But for real performance, you’ll want the 2.0 TSI 310 4Drive. This engine wakes up at 2000rpm and then romps away to its 6500rpm red line. If you use the launch control system to maximise the car’s four-wheel-drive traction, Cupra says it’ll ping you from rest to 62mph in a smidge under five seconds – give or take, that’s the same as the BMW X2 M35i and Volkswagen T-Roc R.

There are two issues, though: the Formentor’s seven-speed dual-clutch auto ‘box is smooth but a little lazy to kick down gears, and the engine’s noise could be more exciting. It produces a sporty note, but it’s not hard-edged and invigorating like the T-Roc R’s is when you order the optional Akrapovic sports exhaust system. 

Now, this is a tall-ish SUV, so there’s an element of the ham-fisted about its cornering routine compared with a truly lithe hot hatchback, but, like other good sports SUVs it’s effective. Take the steering, which is far nicer than the X2 M35i’s. It’s direct, accurate and even offers a little detail about the patination of the road surface, just so you can key into the surface more readily and feel its grip. And boy is there grip. Even in the wet it carries serious speed, and if you push beyond what’s available, just ease off the accelerator and it falls predictably back into line.

The body control is also great for a car of such stature. The adjustable dampers fitted to our test car (and standard from V3 trim) have three simple default modes to choose from, but if you’re feeling dedicated you can play about fine-tuning them from the multiple sub-settings.

As you crank them up to their stiffest settings they do an ever more impressive job of maintaining stability over bumpy roads, and even in Cupra mode the ride isn’t so cruel it’ll addle your brain. That said, Comfort mode is the one you want for the smoothest passage; it’s still a little firmer than the best-riding family SUVs but not brusque, and much more supple than the jittery X2 M35i. 

There’s a reasonable amount of road and wind noise at speed – although our test day was wet, corrupting any assessments somewhat. The brakes are great and the solid feel of the brake pedal gives plenty of confidence, but there’s also progression to the brakes when needed.

Cupra Formentor 2020 rear cornering

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