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Cupra Formentor Review & Prices

The Cupra Formentor is the first model from SEAT's off-shoot performance brand. It looks great inside and out and is fun on the right road, but there are SUVs with bigger boots and higher driving positions available

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RRP £30,205 - £46,210 Avg. carwow saving £1,109 off RRP
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This score is awarded by our team of
expert reviewers
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers
after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Strong range of engine options
  • Great interior style and quality
  • Genuinely good fun to drive for an SUV

What's not so good

  • Fairly limited personalisation options
  • Boot space isn't great
  • Some infotainment frustrations

Find out more about the Cupra Formentor

Is the Cupra Formentor a good car?

The Cupra Formentor is the first properly distinct model from a new performance brand. Sure, you’ve seen the Cupra name at the end of hot SEAT models in the past, but now you’ll start seeing it at the beginning, on models that aren’t just tarted-up SEATs.

This begins with the Formentor; a family SUV, doing a similar job to the VW T-Roc R and BMW X2 M35i.

Even if the Cupra badge looks like a tribal tattoo you wake up with alongside a hangover in Magaluf, the rest of the exterior is like a shot of Berocca. Its sloping roofline and sharp creases give it a much sportier edge than the brand’s other SUV, the Cupra Ateca, despite having the same number of doors and seats.

Inside, the good news continues, because the Formentor is much more interesting to behold than the Ateca, but also a T-Roc R or X2 M35i. It has a high centre console, an interestingly styled dash and doors, plus a massive widescreen infotainment system in the middle. Quality is very good too. We do wish there were a few more personalisation options inside, though, and that goes for the outside with wheel choices, too.

There are a few annoying things with the infotainment system and buttons too. For instance, the screen is bright, sharp and quick to react, but the system’s menus are sometimes confusing. The touch-sensitive climate controls are difficult to use while driving, too, a criticism we’ve also levelled at the VW Golf, which gets a similar set.

Still, you can plug in your Apple or Android phone and it’ll display on the screen of every model, meaning you don’t need to worry too much about the in-built system, or satellite navigation for that matter. Phew.

We'd go for the 310hp petrol, because it's great fun to drive. V2 trim makes the most sense from a value perspective

Mat Watson
Mat Watson
carwow expert

We'd go for the 310hp petrol, because it's great fun to drive. V2 trim makes the most sense from a value perspective. 

You sit lower to the ground in the Cupra Formentor than you do in a Cupra Ateca, making it feel much closer to a Leon in terms of its driving position. The driving position itself is great, but if you like being higher up the Ateca is the better option. Otherwise, there’s decent space for four adults inside the Formentor, and its boot isn’t far behind the Ateca’s for size or practicality. Nor an X2’s for that matter.

You can have your Formentor with either a 2.0-litre turbo petrol in 150, 190 or 310hp forms, or go the plug-in hybrid route and have a 1.4-litre petrol paired with a small battery and electric motor which together offers 204 or 245hp. These PHEVs will travel around 37 miles on electricity, meaning low CO2 and the cheapest company car tax.

The pick of the range – if you really want your sporty-looking SUV to also feel sporty – is the 310hp 2.0-litre turbo. It gets all-wheel-drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, a combination that ensures seriously strong acceleration in all conditions, plus lots of grip in wintery weather. Cupra has also done a great job with the Formentor’s steering, which is fairly light, but confidence-inspiring on a country road. All told, it’s more fun than a VW T-Roc, and a good match for a BMW X2.

Most Formentors come with suspension you can stiffen and slacken via a drive mode selector. That keeps its body in better check through quick, tight bends, but in its comfiest setting means lumps and bumps in town are no problem, either. And, despite the Formentor’s pinched rear styling, parking isn’t difficult because all cars come with a reversing camera.

There are sporty SUVs with bigger boots and higher driving positions, but if neither matters to you, the Formentor should certainly be on your shortlist.

Why not head over to our deals page to make sure you’re getting the very best price possible? Or if you can check out our Cupra Formentor used car deals.

How much is the Cupra Formentor?

The Cupra Formentor has a RRP range of £30,205 to £46,210. However, with carwow you can save on average £1,109. Prices start at £29,307 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £287. The price of a used Cupra Formentor on carwow starts at £24,995.

Our 3 most popular versions of the Cupra Formentor are:

Model version carwow price from
1.5 TSI 150 V2 5dr DSG £32,829 Compare offers
1.5 TSI 150 V1 5dr £29,307 Compare offers
1.5 TSI 150 V1 5dr DSG £30,826 Compare offers

Prices start from just under £30,000. That buys you the entry-level V1 spec with a 150hp petrol engine, and compares with just over £32,000 for the most affordable BMW X2.

At the opposite end of the range sits the 310hp Formentor VZ3 costing almost £46,000.

There are five levels of specification to choose between, and five different engines including two plug-in hybrids, starting from £37,770.

Performance and drive comfort

Strong performance, but the Cupra Leon is even more fun

In town

Sporty cars don’t always work well in town. Suspension tuned for high-speed control and rewarding handling can feel too stiff when you’re just popping across town for a pint of milk.

The Cupra Formentor rides firmly, but it doesn’t fall into the trap of being uncomfortable. Three out of the five spec levels (VZ1, VZ2 and VZ3) come with Dynamic Chassis Control and four different driver profiles. With ‘Comfort’ selected, the Formentor is surprising easy to live with in the city. You feel bumps in the road, but without the harsh thump you put up with in some performance cars.

Forward visibility is generally good, although if we’re being picky the windscreen pillars are quite thick. The view over your shoulder is compromised by the the thick rear pillars and small screen. It’s just as well that every Formentor has rear parking sensors, and all but the base model have front sensors and a rear-view camera too. Four out of five trims have Park Assist, that will steer the car into a parking space for you although you’ll still need to control the throttle and brakes.

Go for a Cupra Formentor with a DSG auto and it can be a little jerky when making low-speed manoeuvres, but it’s smooth in other situations.

On the motorway

Performance ranges from brisk to bonkers, so whichever Formentor you pick you’ll have plenty of poke in reserve at 70mph.

One clever feature is the way the ambient cabin lights in the front doors flash if there’s a risk of drifting towards a car in your blind spot. It’s a really neat way of turning part of the interior design into a safety feature.

The seats are comfy, so you can look forward to long drives without aches or pains, although you do sit a lot lower than you’d expect in an SUV – even a sporty one.

Another niggle if you cover a lot of motorway miles is the noise in the cabin at speed. Both wind and road noise are more prominent than they really should be.

On a twisty road

The Formentor is a hoot to drive on a favourite country road. Switch from ‘Comfort’ to ‘Sport’ and the whole car feels sharper. You can out-sport ‘Sport’ by selecting ‘Cupra’, which really delivers with weightier steering, and more immediate responses from the throttle. There’s very little lean in corners in the sportier drive settings, and grip feels like it will go on forever.

The only doubt in our minds is that the Cupra Leon is even better. It carries its weight slightly lower and feels even more nimble. If we were picking between the two Cupras purely on driver appeal, then the Leon would get the nod.

Space and practicality

Reasonably roomy, but you can buy more practical SUVs for similar money

There’s plenty of space in the front of the Cupra Formentor, although it feels more like a hatchback than an SUV. You sit surprisingly low to the floor, and the whole car is closer to the ground than most SUVs. It suits the Formentor’s sporting brief, but if you are shopping for an SUV because you find a high-up driving position comfortable the Formentor may not be for you.

Sports seats are standard on the V1, uprated to leather-covered bucket seats in the V2. The VZ1 gets bucket seats but with cloth rather than leather upholstery. The VZ2 and VZ3 both get bucket seats upholstered in leather.

Both types of seat are comfortable but the figure-hugging buckets are more supportive if you plan on enjoying your Formentor on a country road.

Storage is taken care of with deep door bins that are shaped to hold a large bottle. There’s more storage under the arm rest, along with a 12v socket. There are twin cupholders between the front seats, and a reasonably sized glovebox.

So far so good, but there are aspects of the cabin we’re not so keen on. The touch-sensitive pads which adjust the air con temperature are difficult to use without taking your eyes from the road, and they’re not backlit at night which is downright annoying.

Space in the back seats

Look at the Cupra Formentor from the outside, and you might think there’s not going to be a lot of space in the back. The coupe-like profile looks striking but doesn’t make the back of the car seem very inviting.

Well, climb into the back and you’ll be pleasantly surprised, with enough head and legroom for adults to get comfortable. Three can sit across the rear bench at a pinch, although it’s more comfy for two. Without a third passenger you can fold down the central arm rest. There are two cupholders in the arm rest but annoyingly they’re always uncovered so the plastic will dig into the passenger’s elbow.

The ISOFIX mounting points have a narrow opening, which makes fitting a child seat a bit fiddly. On the other hand, we’re pleased that Seat includes ISOFIX mounts in the front passenger seat as well as in the back.

Boot space

There’s a slight load lip to lift items over, but it’s not high enough to making loading up awkward. There’s 450 litres of space, which is okay rather than great – we found room for five carry-on cases. But let’s be realistic, this SUV is more about sports than utility, and the likes of the Kia Sportage and Skoda Karoq have bigger boots if that’s your priority.

Levers either side of the boot let you fold the rear seats down for more space, in which case there’s a very slight slope to the floor. It’s a shame you can’t store the luggage cover under the boot, though.

Four-wheel-drive models have 30 litres less room for bags, something to keep in mind if you want the all-weather ability of a 4x4 but would rather not compromise on practicality.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

Stylish, but some controls could be easier to use on the move

The Cupra Formentor is one of the best-looking coupe-SUVs, and it’s attractive on the inside too.

Bronze highlights give the design a lift, and most of the materials are well finished. You can find some hard and scratchy plastics on the lower doors and in the back of the cabin, but you can say the same of most cars at this price bracket.

The chunky steering wheel feels good to hold, and frames a digital display instead of conventional dials. You can configure the screen to show the info that’s most important to you while driving. It’s standard, even if you go for the entry-level V1 model.

All Formentors from the cheapest to the priciest all get the same 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system – there’s no slumming it with a tiny screen in the base model here. It’s an impressive looking system and responds reasonably quickly to each screen press.

Like a lot of the VW Group, Cupra’s interior designers seem to have a phobia of buttons, preferring touchscreen menus and touch-sensitive pads instead. It makes for a clean and minimal look, but having to scroll through menus while driving can be a distraction. Reaching out for the touchpads to control the air con temperature is a lot more fiddly than just turning a knob.

If you don’t get on with Seat’s in-house navigation and infotainment, you can always connect your smartphone instead. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, and you don’t have to plug into a USB port – wireless connectivity is standard.

Cupra Connect is also included in every car. This app-based service links your car and phone, and will put you in touch with your friendly neighbourhood Seat dealer when a warning light comes on or if a service is due. There are other functions, too, such as helping you find your car if you forget where you’ve parked it or remotely controlling charging if you own one of the plug-in hybrid models.

MPG, emissions and tax

If you have easy access to a charging point, your best bet for fuel economy is one of the plug-in hybrids. Officially, these can stretch each gallon for up to 235.4mpg, depending on the exact spec and whether you pick the 204 or 245hp model. Unofficially, your fuel bill will depend on how often you recharge and whether you frequently drive long distances.

Anyone with a short commute and a charger on their driveway could do even better than 235.4mpg, but if you don’t keep the batteries topped up you won’t get anywhere near.

The plug-in hybrids make smart choices for company car drivers as well as regular buyers, as the benefit-in-kind tax rates are very favourable – as low as 12%, whereas the regular petrol cars are taxed at 33-37%. That’s thanks to the PHEV’s official emissions figures as low as 27g/km and electric range of up to 37 miles.

High-mileage drivers might miss diesel power for its motorway economy, but the 150hp petrol with a manual ’box returns a respectable 41.5-44.8mpg and emits 143g/km of CO2.

Worried about your car tax bill? Then it’s worth keeping the list price below £40,000 to avoid the £355 annual surcharge for cars costing over £40,000 that applies for five years after the first year. Most of the range stays the right side of £40k and so avoids the extra tax cost, but the top-end models don’t.

Safety and security

The Cupra Formentor is a safe car. It earned a five-star rating from the safety boffins at Euro NCAP in 2021. The Formentor scored 93% for adult occupant protection, 88% for child occupants, 68% for pedestrians and 80% for the car’s safety assistance systems.

Adaptive cruise control, which uses sensors to hold a safe gap from the car in front, is standard on all Formentor models. So is Forward collision warning with automatic braking. This system alerts the driver if a crash is likely, and will even hit the brakes if the driver doesn’t react in time.

Security kit includes keyless entry (the doors open so long as the key is close by without anyone pressing a button on the fob). All cars have push-button starting, so you don’t need to put the key in the ignition, it just needs to be in the car.

Reliability and problems

Cupra is a new brand and the Formentor is a new model, so it’s early days to judge reliability. However, every Cupra has at least something in common with SEAT and the rest of the VW Group, which gives a reasonable idea of the reliability you can expect.

SEAT usually finishes midfield in reliability and customer satisfaction surveys. So we wouldn’t be worried that the Cupra Formentor will be unreliable. Equally it’s not going to be as bulletproof as a Honda, Lexus or Toyota.

Buy or lease the Cupra Formentor at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £30,205 - £46,210 Avg. carwow saving £1,109 off RRP
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