The all new Leon & Formentor are very impressive … but at a steep price
Cupra – Formentor VZ 2.0TSI 310cv and Cupra Leon
or all the spectators who have continued to look at the badge on the front of my test drives over the past two weeks, I will start with a ‘Cupra Focal’.
In 2018, a big boss from Volkswagen’s head office, SEAT, decided to give the performance end of the Spanish automaker its own identity.
At the time, SEAT Managing Director Luca de Meo was seen as passionate about the Cupra name and had strong ambitions for it. Likewise, the company’s head of research and development at the time, Matthias Rabe, had an affinity with the SEAT Sport engineering team, which was very focused on passenger cars.
In a previous role, de Meo had been in charge of launching Abarth as a separate brand from Fiat – a move that proved successful for the Italian automaker.
At the time, Rabe had suggested that hybrid power could be found in future Cupra models: “Cupra and electrification are not a contradiction. I could see a Cupra as an electrified car – and we have something in mind. “, did he declare.
Three years later, Cupra’s dream has come true for the team.
My first test drive was the new Cupra Leon e-Hybrid. Regular readers of this column may recall that the SEAT Leon was in my top five cars last year and this Cupra Leon takes it to the next level.
Equipped with a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, a 12.8 kWh lithium-ion battery and an 85 kW electric motor, the Cupra Leon has the best of both worlds. Cupra says you can go over 60km in pure electric mode, but realistically you get closer to just over 40km under normal driving conditions.
Still, the gasoline engine is no slouch either and would let plenty of hot hatches eat its dust.
On the road, the Cupra Leon e-Hybrid costs from € 41,210, which includes the SEAI subsidy of € 5,000.
For me, it’s a bit expensive considering that the new Golf GTE costs only € 2,000 more. It’s a fantastic looking and well-equipped car, but I still think I would be more than happy with the SEAT Leon and save a few extra pounds for a rainy day.
Now let’s move on to the all new Cupra Formentor, the pocket rocket. As soon as you see him for the first time in the flesh, you’ll fall in love with his look to die for. It cannot be compared to anything in the SEAT lineup and it is unlike anything you have seen before.
Although Cupra offers a 150 hp gasoline engine and a lightning-fast 245 hp plug-in hybrid engine, I was lucky enough to get my hands on the 310 hp 2.0-liter TSI pocket rocket.
Press the engine start button, located on the steering wheel like an F1 racing car, and you will hear the loud purrs of the dual dual exhaust.
The Formentor comes with three ride settings: Comfort, Sport and Cupra. The three modes really change the dynamics of driving, going from city driving like Driving Miss Daisy to Jensen Button-like turns in Cupra mode. It is definitely a wolf in sheep’s clothing and it handles superbly for a “coupe-SUV”.
With everyone seeming to be switching to plug-in and electric cars these days, I’m not sure how well the complete Formentor sells for the brand.
It’s a really special car, but it comes at a price. The RRP price for the Formentor starts at € 37,135 while the greasy Formentor VZ 310bhp will set you back a winning Lotto € 64,425. It’s a bit steep for my taste, although it’s a brilliant car.
Meanwhile, Cupra Ireland this week announced the launch of four new retailers in key strategic locations of Cork, Dublin, Galway and Waterford, bringing the number of retailers across Ireland to eight.
Since its launch in 2018, the Cupra brand has continued to grow, developing a range of high-end and technologically advanced vehicles based on contemporary design and sporty performance.
For more information, log on to cupraofficial.ie or contact your local reseller.
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