The Cupra Formentor Is a Burly, 306-HP SUV from Spain
It's the first model from SEAT's spin-off performance brand.
Not long ago, the SEAT Leon Cupra was the front-wheel-drive performance car to beat around Germany's treacherous Nürburgring Nordschleife. Whether as a hatchback or wagon, the Spanish-built Leon Cupra could lap the famed track in just under eight minutes. Nothing moves slowly on the 'Ring, however, and it didn't take long for the likes of the Honda Civic Type R, Renault Mégane RS, and Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport to knock the Leon Cupra off its front-drive pedestal at the track. No matter, riding its Nürburgring record's publicity wave, Seat broke out the Cupra name for a standalone performance brand in 2018—and the Formentor SUV is its first creation.
Okay, so technically the Cupra brand launched last year with a sportier creation of the Seat Ateca SUV, and just last week, Cupra revealed new warmed-over versions of the existing Leon hatchback and wagon. But the Formentor is the first product designed from the ground up to be a Cupra. Named after a cape on the Spanish island of Mallorca, and not, as you might have thought, some kind of demonic spirit, the Formentor is about the same size as a Subaru Crosstrek (175.2 inches long and 72.4 inches wide) but decidedly more potent. Its top powertrain offering is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. (The Subaru, meanwhile, is reportedly upgrading to—get this—a 170-hp engine. Oh, boy!) In the Formentor, that mighty four is paired with all-wheel drive.
Cupra also will offer the Formentor with plug-in-hybrid motivation, employing a 148-hp turbocharged 1.4-liter four and a 114-hp electric motor to make a combined 241 hp and 295 lb-ft. A 13-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack provides an all-electric driving range of roughly 31 miles (based on the European test cycle). The Cupra Formentor will also offer level 2 semi-autonomous driving capability.
Design-wise, the Formentor's copper accents and angular LED light signature is in line with the Cupra brand's established aesthetic and similar to that of the Ateca and Leon. The crossover is particularly attractive from the profile view thanks to steeply raked glass on the liftgate and a daylight opening that kicks up sharply at the C-pillar. The first Cupra Formentor SUVs will be delivered in the last quarter of 2020. Sadly, you won't be able to buy one in the U.S., but the innovations coming to the Formentor could trickle down to other Volkswagen Group products that do come here, none of which are likely to have a name as badass as the Cupra's, however.