2024 Cupra Formentor review | CarExpert
2024 Cupra Formentor review | CarExpert

2024 Cupra Formentor review | CarExpert

February 20, 2024


Cupra has gone from a relative unknown to a fairly strong seller in short order, and the Formentor is a key part of why.

WATCH: Paul’s video review of the MY23 Cupra Formentor VZx

It’s the brand’s best seller in Australia by a healthy margin, accounting for more than half of all deliveries in 2023.

Unlike the Leon hatchback and Ateca SUV, it doesn’t have a direct equivalent elsewhere in the Volkswagen Group. Its creased exterior has more than a hint of Lamborghini Urus about it, while the sporty interior sets it apart from more mundane metal within the Volkswagen world immediately.

Even the cheapest Formentor packs a punch, but the on test here we have the range-topping VZx. It’s the most expensive model in the range, and has a drivetrain closely related to the Volkswagen Golf R.

If you want an SUV focused on making you feel good, it’s hard to match for the price.

How does the Cupra Formentor fare vs its competitors?

View a detailed breakdown of the Cupra Formentor against similarly sized vehicles.

Cupra Formentor cutout image



How much does the Cupra Formentor cost?

The top-spec 2024 Cupra Formentor VZx is priced from $70,790 drive-away nationally.

2024 Cupra Formentor pricing:

  • 2024 Cupra Formentor V: $56,490
  • 2024 Cupra Formentor VZ: $61,490
  • 2024 Cupra Formentor VZe:
    • $67,990 (ACT)
    • $68,990 (QLD)
    • $69,990 (NSW)
    • $69,990 (SA)
    • $70,490 (VIC)
    • $70,990 (WA)
  • 2024 Cupra Formentor VZx: $70,790

Prices are drive-away

Our tester was equipped with the optional Akrapovic exhaust ($6300), as well as Graphene Grey premium paint ($490). This brings the total asking price of our tester to $72,580 before on-roads.

Other available optional extras that weren’t fitted to the car include a panoramic glass roof ($2150), the Brembo brake package ($4250), and matte paint ($2400).

The Cupra Formentor faces off with a range of similarly sized SUVs in Australia. To see how it shapes up, use our comparison tool.

What is the Cupra Formentor like on the inside?

The Formentor shares a lot of its styling and technology with the smaller Leon hatchback inside, but it also feels like a much bigger car.

As is the case with the broader Cupra range, the driver and passenger sit in excellent bucket-style seats which neatly balance comfort with bolstering. Here they’re trimmed in attractive Petrol Blue leather contrasted with copper-colour stitching.

This is one of a few neat touches used to distinguish Cupra cars from their more mundane siblings in the Volkswagen world. Coupled with a sporty steering wheel featuring start and drive mode buttons, just like an Audi R8, it makes the Formentor VZx feel meaningfully sportier than any other SUV for the same money.

The fundamentals are solid, too. Tall or short drivers will be able to get comfortable, and it’s easier to climb in here than to the lower, smaller Leon if your knees are creaky and old.

As you’d expect of a modern Volkswagen Group car, screens are the showpiece here.

The touchscreen is a 12-inch unit running Cupra’s take on the software in the Volkswagen Golf and Skoda Octavia, along with touch sliders below for volume and temperature control.

Points to Cupra for allowing owners to drop a widget on the home screen to control fan speed for the air-con, and for making shortcut buttons prominent – it’s easier to jump around the system than in the Golf – but it’s still fiddly at times.

The digital cockpit is handsome, and features unique graphics in keeping with Cupra’s sportier remit. It’s excellent.

Wireless smartphone mirroring is reliable, although the wireless phone charging pad at the base of the dashboard doesn’t love phones with big camera bumps or chunky phone cases. You’re better off using one of the two USB-C ports if you want a charge.

Rear seat space is surprisingly good. The Formentor looks quite compact on the outside, but it has enough headroom for 6’7 me to sit without my hair on the roof. Some cars sacrifice practicality in the search for sportiness, but this is an eminently usable SUV.

Legroom behind normal-sized drivers is impressive, and the air vents and dual USB-C ports make it quite child-friendly – although the rising belt line limits outward vision relative to the more upright Tiguan.

Air vents with temperature controls feature, along with ISOFIX points on the outboard rear seats and a trio of top tethers.

If you’re planning to regularly use the rear seats, it’s also worth looking at a Volkswagen Tiguan R with its bigger, boxier rear doors – they’re better suited to regularly loading kids into car seats.

There’s also a fold-down central armrest with a ski port back there. The bench folds 60/40, expanding boot space from 420 litres to accomodate bigger items.

What’s under the bonnet?

Model Cupra Formentor VZx
Engine 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo
Power 228kW
Torque 400Nm
Transmission 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Driven wheels All-wheel drive
Weight 1647kg (tare)
0-100km/h 4.9 seconds
Fuel economy (claim) 7.7L/100km
Fuel economy (as tested) 9.3L/100km (mixed driving)
Fuel tank size 55L
Fuel requirement 98 RON

The Cupra Formentor faces off with a range of similarly sized SUVs in Australia. To see how it shapes up, use our comparison tool.

How does the Cupra Formentor drive?

The Formentor has a split personality, like all the best Volkswagen Group performance cars.

Prod the wheel-mounted start button and it fires with a muted growl, and in Comfort mode it’s a relaxed way to get around town.

The dual-clutch transmission is smooth and smart in traffic, and the 2.0-litre engine packs plenty of torque to get you moving from low revs.

Just lean on the throttle and it doesn’t need to drop a gear, instead pulling from around 2000rpm.

With light steering, a comfortable ride from the adaptive dampers, and a solid (but not standout) sound system; you’ve got a very capable commuter.

It’s also incredibly grown up on the highway, save for the road noise from those sticky Bridgestone Turanza tyres. It’s a common complaint about European performance cars – some of which are significantly more expensive than the Cupra – but it also stands out here, because the rest of the package is so polished.

The white noise on coarse-chip highways will have you cranking up the radio, and it does get tiresome on long drives.

The driver assists work smoothly and smartly though, and there’s no shortage of punch from the 2.0-litre engine for overtaking on undivided country highways.

That’s understating it. The engine absolutely rips when you put your foot down, delivering an impressive shove in the back from low in the rev range, and zinging determinedly to the redline.

Flick from Comfort through Sport and into the raciest Cupra drive mode, and it really wakes up.

The dual-clutch transmission holds a lower gear, leaving you in the meat of the engine’s torque band more of the time, and the throttle immediately becomes sharper. Combined with heavier steering and a firmer ride, the drive modes really bring out a sharper side to the Formentor.

This is an SUV you can push hard and it doesn’t fall over, with a keen front end and plenty of grip allowing you to carry more speed than you’d expect through corners before the turbocharged engine slingshots you out the other side.

It has a raspy sound in Comfort and Sport, backed by lots of huffing and puffing from the turbocharger, while the fake sound in Cupra calls to mind the five-cylinder engine in the Audi RS3.

The Akrapovic exhaust doesn’t make its presence felt often enough, though. In Comfort, this Formentor sounds no different to the regular car; in Cupra mode it gives you some fruity pops and bangs on the overrun, and some vicious cracks on upshifts… but it just doesn’t feel special enough, enough of the time to justify the $6300 extra it’ll cost you.

Although it’s not quite as sophisticated as the latest Golf R with its fancy torque vectoring differential, the way the Formentor demolishes a twisty road – wet or dry – is similarly impressive.

What do you get?

Formentor V highlights:

  • 18-inch black-and-silver alloy wheels
  • Heated, power-folding exterior mirrors
  • LED headlights, daytime running lights
  • Auto headlights
  • Auto high-beam
  • Fog lights with cornering function
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Rear privacy glass
  • Adaptive dampers
  • 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster
  • 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • Satellite navigation
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
  • Wireless phone charging
  • 2 x front, 2 x rear USB-C ports
  • Cloth upholstery
  • Tri-zone climate control
  • Leather-wrapped, heated steering wheel
  • Paddle shifters
  • Keyless entry, start
  • DAB+ radio
  • Hands-free power tailgate

Formentor VZ adds:

Formentor VZe adds:

  • Mode 3 charging cable
  • Tyre repair kit

Formentor VZx adds:

  • 19-inch Exclusive Sport black-and-copper alloy wheels
  • Quad exhaust
  • Supersports steering wheel incl. additional buttons
  • Petrol Blue leather upholstery
  • Heated front seats
  • Power driver’s seat incl. memory
  • Side mirrors incl. memory function
  • 9-speaker Beats premium sound system
  • Surround-view cameras

Optional fitted to our tester include:

  • Akrapovic exhaust ($6300)
  • Graphene Grey premium paint ($490)

Other available options include:

  • Brembo brake package ($4250)
    • Brembo front brake calipers
    • Tyre repair kit
    • Deletes space-saver spare
  • Panoramic glass sunroof ($2150)
  • Matte paint ($2400)
    • Petrol Blue Matte, Magnetic Tech Matte

Is the Cupra Formentor safe?

The Formentor wears a five-star ANCAP safety rating, based on Euro NCAP tests conducted in 2021.

It scored 93 per cent for adult occupant protection, 88 per cent for child occupant protection, 68 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 80 per cent for safety assist.

Standard safety features include:

  • AEB with Pedestrian, Cyclist detection
  • Adaptive cruise control incl. stop/go
  • Travel Assist
    • Adaptive cruise control
    • Active lane centring
  • Driver fatigue monitoring
  • Emergency Assist
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Front, rear parking sensors
  • Reversing camera
  • Safe exit warning

Formentor VZx adds:

How much does the Cupra Formentor cost to run?

Cupra covers its line-up with a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.

The brand no longer offers three years of free servicing with purchase, instead buyers can choose from three- and five-year service packs. The three-year pack is priced at $990, while the five-year pack is $1990.

If you opt for the five-year package, you also get access to Cupra’s Concierge Service benefits, which covers pick-up and drop-off of your vehicle for the five scheduled services provided your address is within 10km of an authorised Cupra Service Partner.

CarExpert’s Take on the Cupra Formentor

The Formentor is a really likeable car, and it’s still pretty unique in Australia.

It’s excellent to drive, balancing day-to-day comfort with handling like the best Volkswagen Group products, and packs more space inside than you’d expect given its angular, overgrown hatchback proportions.

The range-topping VZx would be my pick in the range, too. The VZ is front-wheel drive only, and the VZe lacks the same appeal thanks to its plug-in hybrid powertrain.

Should you bother with the Akrapovic exhaust? It looks cool, and the brand name carries instant credibility with a certain set of enthusiasts… but it’s very expensive, and just doesn’t sound special enough, enough of the time to justify the spend if you’re planning to commute in the Formentor.

Save the money and spend it on a driving holiday, where you can really tap into what the Cupra has to offer. You won’t be disappointed.

Click the images for the full gallery

BUY: Cupra Formentor
MORE: Everything Cupra Formentor


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