First Drive

Cupra Formentor 2020 UK review

Inside, there are bespoke Cupra elements, with the bronzed highlights and that Transformer-like logo meaning you won’t mistake it for anything else. But fundamentally it’s built to Volkswagen Gorup specifications, which means the seating ergonomics and driving position are really good, while there’s a decent amount of head room and knee room for adults both front and rear.

The Formentor is 4450mm long, with a 420-litre boot when the rear seats are in place, which isn’t cavernous – only a little bigger than that of the Golf hatchback – but with levers near the bootlid to send the rear seats folding.

In the front, there’s a Cupra-fronted infotainment system with 12.0in touchscreen that’s given a bit too much to do, with haptic controls for everything else and a diddy gear selector. A fully digitised instrument pack gives you six different layouts to pick from, plus changeable submenus from there.

There are driving modes to pick from, too, obviously. There are two big buttons mounted on the steering wheel, one the start button and one for the modes: Comfort, Sport, Cupra, Individual and Off-Road.

The Formentor runs adaptive dampers, which I imagine will be standard in the UK (pricing and equipment are still to be confirmed), which the driving mode adjusts, along with the steering response and throttle and gearbox.

The tyres are 235/40 R19s, which is a reasonably racy size for a crossover, but they’re Bridgestone Turanzas, which are all-rounders.

A similar phrase sums up the Formentor’s demeanour. It rides relatively pliantly, with a little thud over poor surfaces and some head-toss when road surfaces turn really excitable, but for the most part is allowed to flow. There’s more looseness than in the Ateca over crests and bumps, but with the benefit that the ride isn’t bone-rattlingly hard.

As you flick from Comfort through Sport and Cupra modes, the suspension gets sharper but never reaches the point that it’s unbearable even on British roads, which is a pleasant surprise.

So is the steering, which takes on a little too much gloop as you move up through the driving modes but in general is accurate and slick. It’s not overblessed with feedback, but it takes on a bit of weight as you move closer to the car’s limits. I found the Formentor a much nicer car to get on with than the Ateca.

If you do push on, the Formentor shows an ability, if not an overt willingness, to tuck in on the way into a corner and a mild nudge into front-end grip limits on the way out. And that’s as it should be.

The powertrain does what this 2.0-litre-and-dual-clutch-gearbox Volkswagen Group combination usually does – spin smoothly and change gear willingly – but with some added reluctance to kick down or respond too quickly in Comfort mode, presumably because the fuel consumption drive cycle would rather you lugged it out in a higher gear.

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