Cupra Formentor preview
Cupra, SEAT’s brand-new spin-off marque, used to stand for the high-performance models of the Spanish company’s range, but it would seem it is actually going to focus on SUVs going forward. The first model launched by the new brand was 2018’s Cupra Ateca, a 300hp turbocharged petrol vehicle, but the next two products will be plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and full electric crossover/SUVs. The first of these is the Formentor, named after a peninsula on the Balearic island of Mallorca, and it’s the PHEV.
What will its rivals be?
The obvious mid-sized crossover-SUV rival that favours a PHEV drivetrain is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, but that Japanese car doesn’t have any sort of performance bent. There are also hybrid models of the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, with a Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 (with 300hp) due in for 2020. Beyond these, any C-segment-based high-riding vehicle will therefore be in the Formentor’s crosshairs, including its own SEAT Ateca cousin, the Volkswagen Tiguan, the Skoda Karoq, the Opel Grandland X, the Ford Kuga (electrified models of the new version of this are promised), the Hyundai Tucson, the Kia Sportage, the Renault Kadjar and the Nissan Qashqai, among more.
Any tech info?
There are some rough details but not a full rundown on the spec, given that the Formentor is still quite some distance from launching. It’s a standalone Cupra product – as in, there will not be a SEAT Formentor, as there is a SEAT Ateca and a Cupra Ateca – and it uses the Volkswagen Group’s 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine with electric augmentation. There’s the suspicion that this one ‘concrete’ detail might change ahead of production, though, as the 1.4 TSI has been superseded by the more advanced 1.5-litre TSI Evo in much of the Volkswagen Group’s portfolio, but Cupra does claim the Formentor will have a combined drivetrain peak power output of 245hp, which will be enough to ‘exceed the driver’s expectations as to performance’.
What will the range be like?
Like the Cupra Ateca, there should be just one model of Formentor, with some slightly different spec quotients. As to the electric range, Cupra is still not confirming the size of the battery pack onboard, although it will say it is large enough to allow the Formentor to do up to 50 zero-emission kilometres on a single charge. That’s WLTP-ratified range, too.
Most people were expecting Cupra, once it became a marque in its own right, to go off on a performance tangent and, although the decision to Cupra-ify the Ateca crossover first and foremost was somewhat questionable, it was at least understandable given how well the Ateca sells. However, to follow that up with another two SUVs (after the Formentor PHEV will come the Tavascan EV) has raised many eyebrows in the motoring industry – so the Formentor will have to drive very well to overcome any dynamic doubts on the part of critics and customers alike.