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Cupra Formentor VZ2 e-Hybrid 245 DSG Automatic

The birth of Cupra is an interesting tale with quite a twist. Originally SEAT’s sporty sub-brand – think AMG for Mercedes-Benz – Cupra is today a marque in its own right. In fact, the success of this dynamic new brand has been so impressive that SEAT is to leave the mainstream car manufacturing party after being thoroughly outperformed by the name it gave birth to. Why am I telling you this? Meet the latest member of the long-term fleet, the Cupra Formentor.

Officially speaking, this is a Cupra Formentor VZ2 e-Hybrid 245. There’s quite a lot to unpack there, so let me translate for those who don’t speak fluent Cupra. The Formentor was Cupra’s first standalone model, an aggressively styled rather low-slung SUV. This one is an e-Hybrid, meaning a plug-in hybrid consisting of a 12.8kWh battery pack that supplements a 148bhp 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine. VZ2 is the trim level, and in this instance that equates to heated Nappa leather seats, some enhanced exterior styling details, as well as added technology touches.

It really is a devilishly handsome thing. The athletic bodywork is full of muscular lines and piercing details, a combination that gives this car a truly unique look. Proportionally this Formentor with its long bonnet and short overhangs looks purposeful with a stance more akin to a sporting coupé than an SUV.

Copper detailing is very much Cupra’s calling card. The tribal badging isn’t the only thing to possess the unique hue with the highly sculpted interior featuring contrasting stitching and trim in the same tone. Bolstered sports seats dominate the cabin, as does the chiselled dashboard and large 12-inch touchscreen display. You sit a bit lower in the chassis than your typical SUV with the chunky steering wheel aimed squarely at your chest – again not typical for this class. Overall, the Formentor’s interior possesses a sense of occasion that makes it feel like an interesting place to spend time.

There is a price to be paid for all of this flamboyance and that’s its compact rear quarters. While passenger space is generally fine, tall individuals are better catered for by rivals. It’s a similar story for the 345-litre boot, something that loses 105 litres versus a pure combustion Formentor due to battery placement.

On the road, the Cupra has real poise and confidence to the way it moves. This chassis offers plenty of grip and a quick change of direction, although both the steering and brakes could do with more feel to boost driver engagement. Thanks to configurable dampers via Dynamic Chassis Control, the ride can go from impressively supple to firm upon command. A series of selectable drive modes adapt everything from steering weight to throttle response, but it’s ‘Cupra’ mode that maximises performance with the instantly responsive torque from the car’s electric motor.

Plugging this Cupra in takes around four hours to recharge from a 7.4kW home wallbox. No matter where you plug it in, it’ll only charge at a maximum of 3.6kW, though, so public charging isn’t really worthwhile given the time taken and cost. Charge overnight at home on a cheap tariff and you’ll start each morning with an electric range of around 29 miles, in my experience, though Cupra officially quotes 32 miles. This is the ideal use case as the blend of electric and petrol power is what yields the impressive fuel economy figures. This fusion also grants a relatively low 12% BIK rate, though not as cheap as a pure electric vehicle.

What's Hot

Cupra badge grants access to an exclusive club.

What's Not

Boot space is compromised by the hybrid battery placement.

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