Parkers overall rating: 3.8 out of 5 3.8
  • Several petrol engines available
  • Plug-in hybrids make up half of UK sales
  • No diesel Formentor for the UK market

What engine options are there?

The Cupra Formentor range consists of conventional petrol engines and two 1.4-litre plug-in hybrid versions. An even more powerful five-cylinder VZ5 version is on the way, with acceleration to embarrass some Porsches.

Only the entry-level 1.5-litre engine is available with a six-speed manual, as the rest come with the DSG auto transmissions – six speed for e-Hybrids, seven for the petrols. The 4Drive all-wheel drive systems are limited to the 190 and 310 petrols, too.

Engine Power and torque
0-62mph time
Top speed
150 1.5-litre TSI manual 150hp, 250Nm 8.9secs 127mph
150 1.5-litre TSI auto 150hp, 250Nm 8.9secs 126mph
190 2.0-litre TSI auto 4Drive 190hp, 320Nm 7.1secs 137mph
245 2.0-litre TSI auto 245hp, 370Nm 6.8secs 148mph
310 2.0-litre TSI auto 4Drive 310hp, 400Nm 4.9secs 155mph
204 e-Hybrid 1.4-litre auto 204hp, 250Nm 7.8secs 127mph
245 e-Hybrid 1.4-litre auto 245hp, 250Nm 7.0secs 130mph

View full Cupra Formentor specs

We’ve tested the well-mannered 1.5 and found it an agreeable choice of engine, striking a fine balance between reasonable costs and efficiency, with enough performance not to be disgraced at the traffic lights.

Cupra predicts that nearly half of all buyers will pick one of the e-Hybrids, though, and with its smooth, quiet powertrain and muscular delivery we can see why: they provide nearly as much thrust as the powerful petrol models, yet with the ability to drive up to 37 miles on silent e-mode, even up to motorway speeds.

You’ll barely notice the car shuffling between electric motion and petrol power in Hybrid mode – you merely drop the transmission into D and the car does it all for you, making for an effortless way to travel. Performance can be brisk when you want it to be, with the electric motor combining with the petrol engine to give you a brief boost in muscle – handy for overtaking or building up speed on sliproads.

If you’re looking for maximum thrills, however, this still isn’t a substitute for a high performance petrol model. Performance feels blunt and there’s little reward for revving out the engine. When you try to manually change gears using the steering wheel paddles, the gearbox is horrifically slow to respond, too.

It’s also worth noting that once the battery has depleted, you are left with a 1.4-litre petrol engine hauling a heavy car.

Drive modes

You can toggle through the drive modes using the circular, Cupra logoed button on the steering wheel, which adjusts the dampers, throttle setting and steering weight for a comfier or more athletic driving experience.

You’ll immediately notice the accelerator becomes more responsive in Sport mode. The software holds the revs higher, changing down sooner under braking and pipes a little artificial engine noise into the cabin.

The difference from Comfort to Cupra is more dramatic. The Formentor accelerates the strongest here, accompanied by a purposeful and sporty soundtrack as it drops down a gear or two.

In the 310, this feels ferociously fast, yet the brakes are powerful and inspire confidence to rein in all that performance. The exhaust also comes alive, relaying a constant, percussive burble into the cabin and, under load, an urgent roar. But it doesn’t pop and snarl like a Mercedes-AMG A45 or the Volkswagen T-Roc R.

In the 245 e-Hybrid, things are less impressive. Not only is an exhaust sound absent, but the artificial engine note sounding like a V8 engine is over the top and seems like a complete mismatch for this model.

How does it handle?

  • The Formentor is pretty comfortable, yet fun
  • Pricier models get adaptive suspension
  • It’s very easy to drive

We’ve driven several Formentors and can report that they’re all slick to drive SUVs. In Comfort mode, the steering is light and direct, and pleasingly pointy at low speeds, making the Formentor easy to manoeuvre around town. The suspension conveys an underlying tautness, but generally the adaptive dampers ensure an acceptable ride, though that’s a matter of personal taste.

The steering is a little numb on e-Hybrid models, which is suitably preferable if you reside in towns and cities, but less so when down your favourite country road.

Switch up to Sport and this eliminates most of the steering’s lightness, injecting a little more directness and weight into the steering. We feel this is also the sweet spot out of all the drive modes, firming up the suspension, but not by much – the ride in Cupra mode becomes so stiff it almost feels counter-productive, thumping over bumps so uncomfortably you’d want to back off anyway.

High-performance Volkswagen Group cars are excellent on wet, greasy roads and the 310 4Drive is no different. This is predominantly a front-driven car that calls upon the rear axle when traction begins to wane, rather than the other way around, making the Formentor very safe and predictable to drive, if not the most exciting or tactile.

The Formentor’s computer-controlled, electro-hydraulic 4Drive system can decide within milliseconds if it needs to send power to the rear axle to minimise wheelspin. 

The Cupra can also optimise traction across an axle, by braking a wheel if it detects any slip and channeling power laterally. Even torrential rain is of no concern in the Formentor – grip is impressive whatever the conditions.

Fans of extremely fast SUVs may like to wait for the Formentor VZ5 – a five-cylinder 390hp version recently announced with the addition of a drift drive mode. Although only manufactured in left-hand drive, the UK importer may bring a few to Britain, although prices are likely to top £50,000. We will update our Cupra Formentor review once we’ve sampled this range-topper.