RAY MASSEY: Cupra Formentor, a cross between a sports car and SUV, is a mean and moody machine
The name Formentor conjures up a demonic vision of a mean and moody machine. It sounds similar to those wraith-like Dementor spirits chasing after Harry Potter.
And the sporty new Cupra Formentor crossover, described as a ‘coupe SUV’, certainly has darkly menacing, brooding looks. It’s the first model developed exclusively under the stand-alone Cupra brand, the performance arm of SEAT, itself owned by the Volkswagen group.
It goes on sale in the UK this month and I’ve been driving the devilishly feisty top of the range four-wheel drive Formentor VZ2; the first model into showrooms.
Brooding: The Cupra Formentor is a cross between a sports car and SUV
Its 2-litre TSI turbocharged petrol engine, linked to a seven-speed automatic gearbox, develops a lively 310hp.
Think of it as a cross between a sports car (it has a sports car chassis) and a family SUV that will go from rest to 62mph with a throaty roar in just 4.9 seconds, up to a top speed, where legal, restricted to 155 mph. CO2 emissions are 193 g/km. And consumption is up to 33.2mpg.
There are five driving modes, including Normal and Comfort mode, but you can crank up the energy and the volume in Sport and the hard-core ‘Cupra’ mode, which tightens up the responses and enhances the engine note by blowing it through the loud speakers. ‘Cupra’ relates to copper, a signature colour on the badge and much of the trim.
The car I drove on 19in wheels in Midnight Black cost £40,385, with the £555 metallic paint the only extra added in a well-stocked package.
With six trim levels and five engine variants, the range starts at £27,395 (or £299 per month on a PCP contract) for the V1 running on 18 in wheels with a 1.5-litre 150hp petrol engine.
Next month, for delivery in spring, there’s a more eco-friendly 1.4-litre plug-in hybrid variant with either 204 or 245hp and an electric-only range of 31 miles.
As for the name, it’s not as demonic as it sounds. It comes from the wild rocky cape on Majorca, where many used to go for holidays. Remember them.
With a hint of Lamborghini in the design mix, it would be perfect for Darth Vader or Batman’s off-duty runaround.
WILL IT FIT IN MY GARAGE?
On sale: Now
Model driven: VZ2 310PS 4Drive DSG
Price as driven: £40,385
Range priced from: £27,395
Style: sporty ‘crossover’ SUV
Width with mirrors: 1,839mm
Engine: 2.0 TSi petrol
Transmission: 7-speed DSG automatic
Power: 310 horse-power
0-62mpg: 4.9 seconds
Top speed: 155mph
Fuel economy: 31.4 to 33.2 mpg
Fuel tank: 55 litres
Boot space: 420 litres
It arrives in showrooms with some real Spanish sizzle.
Fire up the engine with a button on the right of the steering wheel, then scroll through the five driving modes via a button on the left.
An individual mode allows you to customise the settings.
The Cupra Formentor has a snug and intimate cockpit with supportive bucket seats.
The distinctive Cupra badge – resembling a super-hero logo – adorns the grille, the steering wheel and is projected onto the floor as a puddle light when you enter the vehicle.
It’s a seductive drive thanks to the dark but stylish interior with lots of black and red, with a 12 inch touchscreen and wraparound ambient LED-lighting running the full width of the dashboard and both front doors.
And here’s a twist. The light also flashes yellow as a warning when the blind-spot detector and the ‘exist assist’ function detect looming danger.
Lots of electronic help with the 4-wheel-drive system to keep you stable and sure-footed at speed and on tight corners.
But if you want to increase the sportiness, push the ‘sport’ button which eases off on the electronic stability control and maximises driver control and car responsiveness.
TOP ‘MEALS ON WHEELS’ IDEA BY ELECTRIC CAR FIRM POLESTAR
‘Meals on wheels’: Polestar sent out cardboard boxes for recipients to fill
A top ‘meals on wheels’ idea by electric car firm Polestar — an independent sibling brand of Volvo.
In Manchester, Covid scuppered its planned opening of a ‘Space’; a place where you can view its electric cars hassle-free before buying online.
Undeterred, and to ensure there is #NoWasteofSpace — its hashtag — it sent out hundreds of cardboard boxes for recipients to fill with any spare non-perishable tinned and dried foods — plus a few treats — and send it back.
Polestar will then match it with an equivalent amount of food and send it all to Fare Share Greater Manchester, backed by footballer and campaigner Marcus Rashford, to help families hit by the coronavirus pandemic.