Parkers overall rating: 3.8 out of 5 3.8
  • Stylish and well-built interior
  • Interesting and usable digital displays
  • Lots of cutting-edge technology

How is the quality and layout?

Drivers who like to sit low can do so in the Cupra Formentor, thanks to a decent amount of seat travel. The dash is shared with the Leon, meaning a clean design with very few buttons on the centre console, contrasted with a busy-looking steering wheel that looks quite daunting at first.

The lovely LED strip that circumnavigates the dashboard is a nice touch, and if you have the upgraded Safety and Driving Pack, it also glows more intensely under the side mirrors to signify something’s in your blindspot: a nice touch.

We’ve tested several different examples now and we’re pleased to report that the Formentor’s materials and quality have a pleasingly premium feel. It’s just the right side of mainstream, without being too extravagant or pricey.

Infotainment and tech

Twin digital screens – 10.0-inch customisable instrument binnacle and a 12.0-inch infotainment touchscreen – are both standard. The latter runs the standard navigation (with connected features including live updates to traffic, parking and fuel station prices), wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity to sync with your iPhone and DAB radio for digital listening. Also standard is wireless phone charging. The infotainment system is as tricky to use as the Leon’s, but the larger icons do help with identifying and selecting the right option at a glance.

Unlike the Leon hatch, the Formentor comes with steering wheel buttons for the ignition and drive mode selector. This makes the Cupra feel and look a little more special, but more importantly, saves the driver from having to dig through the touchscreen menus just to choose which mode they’d prefer.

One bugbear is that the tiny graphic which displays which driving mode you’re in gets overlaid with sat-nav instructions, making it impossible to change drivetrain, chassis and suspension profiles when directions are coming thick and fast – leading you to awkwardly poke through the touchscreen menus again.

We’re also not too sure about the touch-sensitive buttons for heating controls. They’re not as easy to use as traditional switchgear and it’s hard not to feel that the Formentor has digitised too much in the name of a modern, connected, minimalist interior…

Is it comfortable?

  • Supportive driver’s seat
  • Lots of rear room for a crossover 
  • Sport mode results in a firm ride

We’ve tested several Formentors now and can report that even base models have perfectly comfortable seats. The higher-spec models and hybrids we tested had sportier bucket-style chairs up front tailored in blue leather, and these feel supremely comfy with their extra squabs to hold you in place.

On the road, comfort levels are largely dictated by which drive mode you’re using. Better-equipped Formentors come with adaptive suspension, which adjusts accordingly to any of the five drive modes: Comfort, Sport, Cupra, Individual and Off-Road.

In the sportiest Cupra mode, the suspension can jolt and thump over the bigger bumps, transmitting the road’s contours like a stone being dragged across the seabed. It’s quite bumpy and jiggly, if we’re being honest – even more than a Cupra Leon Estate – and best ignored on pot-holed British roads.

Switch to Comfort and matters dramatically improve, remaining a little on the firm side, but perfectly acceptable for long distance journeys and everyday use.

There’s an Individual mode too, where you can mix the parameters, and use a slider to select from 15 damper settings of stiffness. But you may need patience and a seismometer to detect the differences.

There’s some tyre noise on rough tarmac at 30mph, but that’s accentuated by the Formentor’s generally quiet demeanour, bettering the smaller Leon for refinement. On the motorway at 70mph, the 19-inch wheels on our test cars occasionally thumped through craters or over crests, and there was an underlying hum of rubber on road.

Engine noise is well contained on all models, emitting a distant drone when worked hard and remaining smooth throughout. Petrol cars will also coast briefly if you back off the throttle, as the engine cuts out.

Refinement on plug-in hybrid models go even further by helping you drive on the electric motor for longer periods of time. If you’re gentle enough to remain in EV mode, you can navigate your way through junctions in prolonged silence, providing you an added level of calmness.