“Could I get my golf clubs in it?”
Car Reviewed: Cupra Formentor VZ2 e-HYBRID DSG-auto 245PS
The man in the car park asked. He’d come up to me as I got out of our white VZ2 Formentor. He was a faithful SEAT driver on his fourth ownership but wanted something bigger and more upmarket. So: Cupra?
Opening the boot, he reckoned his clubs would fit across diagonally or any old how if one of the rear seats was folded forwards.
“So what do you think of the car?” was his next question. “I think it’s really good!” I answered. And so I do. It turned out that he liked the “sporty” looks, too.
As it happens, the Formentor is by no means un-sporty. To drive, it is on par with anything in its class. And with this being the V2 model, it was powered by the no more than 1.4-litre e-Hybrid engine that produces no less than 245PS. Remarkable! Therefore, it can be VERY sporty, capable of hitting 62 mph in less than eight seconds. It handles well, too. And there’s the familiar smooth DSG box.
The safety features include Lane Assist; thankfully, this is not over-active and you just feel a slight nudge every so often.
There is probably not a single new car on the road that can be criticised for any real issues with steering, handling or braking, so no complaints whatsoever with this Cupra: there is so much preventative technology on board, as is the norm these days, that it would take some sort of idiocy for a Formentor driver to get their car off the straight and narrow…and that is simply not the profile of anyone who buys this car.
Basically, it is a family car, with a comfortable ride on offer for the driver, front-seat passenger and the two in the back…maybe three in the back if they are children. And those in the back have their own heating controls, part of the car’s three-zone aircon system, along with two USB ports for whichever entertainment device. Connectivity is up to par.
Apart from golf clubs in the boot, further storage for smaller items is available under the boot floor because there is a space for a spare wheel that is taken up only by a puncture repair pressure spray and associated tools.
The test car, being the V2 version, with such luxuries as a tailgate that could be shut remotely, and electrically-adjustable seat positions, was priced at £40,560, so for the extra money for the V2 (compared with the starter V1 at less than £30K), with its various extras that the monthly payments system would comfortably absorb that most car-buyers use, there’s your answer: go up to the higher trim. This could include not just rear but front-parking sensors, as there is quite a bit of bonnet in front.
The Formentor is particularly smart inside. The copper stitching is classy; the 12-inch navigation system adds to the impression and the pencil-thin ambient lighting strip that extends from door to door right across the dashboard is a particularly impressive, but not overwhelming, feature in night-time driving…a nice further feature is that it gently flashes when there’s another vehicle in coming past in close proximity.
The list of safety systems and driver-assistance features is impressively long. I liked the automatic slowing down that’s available when, for example, coming into a 30 mph zone, although this did not deploy when, for example, approaching a Signed T-junction.
The instrument binnacle has five different ‘views’ on offer. So far, so good; but, once again (is it just me?), for no apparent reason, on all views, the map would not go away after I had managed to stop the route guidance. Pulling over and switching the ignition off restored normality. The voice command system is one of the easier ones to get the hang of.
The instruments themselves were intuitive, simple and clear; they included that pleasing feature where the red dot marking the speed limit is automatically put in place at 30, 40, 50 mph, whatever and extends up the speedo if you exceed the limit. I would have liked fractions of a mile, not just full miles, to be displayed on the trip info.
The car, being a hybrid, has a claimed EV-only maximum range of 36 miles
My fuel consumption after more than 500 miles of every sort of traffic condition, averaging 31 mph, was indicated at a creditable 46 mpg…even if the WLTP combined fuel economy figure of 176.6-188.3 mpg.
At the price, the Cupra V2 Formentor e-Hybrid definitely takes its rivals head-on (no pun intended)!
Tom Scanlan has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, particularly the Reading Evening Post for ten years, having got into motoring journalism in 1973 via the somewhat unlikely back door of the British Forces Broadcasting Service. BFBS produced a weekly radio motoring show for the services overseas and Tom produced it, as well as interviewing experts and eventually reporting on cars.
He is into classic cars and has owned Porsche, Ferrari, pre-war Alvis and Rileys and currently owns his fifth old Alfa Romeo, a 1984 GTV 2.0.
In his spare time, Tom is a professional cricket coach.