Cupra copperfastening its reputation

Over the course of a week driving the very stylish Cupra Formentor SUV, the question on everyone’s lips was: “Who makes it?”

Nobody may have seen one before, but it is a car that really stands out in a crowd.

The bit that puzzled so many was the copper Cupra badge on the front grille and rear tailgate. Before the Cupra Formentor (what a great name) got its standalone title, the name Seat would have been positioned before the word Cupra. Now it’s re-badged as Cupra alone.

Originally denoting the sporty side of Seat, the name Cupra could be found on the Seat Leon, the Leon Sportstourer and the Seat Ateca, all cars that excelled in the performance stakes. And by the time you read this, Cupra will have introduced its new fully electric ‘Born’ model to Ireland’s motoring press in left-hand-drive format. This is a company that doesn’t hang around when it comes to new car introductions.

The Spanish, like the Italians, know how to do style. While Seat/Cupra is part of the mighty VW empire, I think they have the edge when it comes to design and flair. The Formentor is a one very pretty 5-door SUV.

Measuring 4,450mm long, 1,839mm wide and with an approximate 1520mm height, depending on wheel size, the designers made the most of everything. The bonnet, for example, looks terrific even from within the vehicle, as does the roofline which gently slopes towards the rear, and the car’s large roof spoiler has sport written all over it.

The car’s rear wheel arches and slender-eyed frontal design give it a sharp look. I just loved its body creases and its squat, butch appearance.

While the base model comes with 18” machined alloy wheels, my test version had the optional 19” exclusive aero alloy wheels in a black/copper finish. They cost an extra €2,043 but, boy, are they worth having.

If you’re wondering why the car carries a copper theme (which really works) both externally and internally, it’s because the name Cupra is Spanish for copper.

Inside, the cabin is nicely laid-out and spacious, even in the back. In order to get the beautiful, supportive, body-hugging bucket seats that graced my test model, you’ll have to dig into the wallet once again - €1,338 this time.

The test car had €6,587 worth of options. Car companies are good at offering options and showing that they just add a few euro to the PCP repayment but remember it all adds up!

On this car I would definitely want the seats and special wheels, but I wouldn’t bother with the premium paint (€1,089) or the hands-free electric tailgate (€629) or the dynamic chassis control that costs €955.

But I probably would buy the extra safety side assist, exit assist and exit warning systems for €533. Add on what makes you feel good and take your time over a cuppa with the family.

I liked the dash layout and the 12” central infotainment display which has sat-nav.

There’s 450 litres of boot space and standard equipment on this Cupra Formentor consists of multiple drive modes, rear view camera, LED headlamps with lens and rear LED full length light signature, heated front seats and steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, auto headlight beam, park assist and wireless phone charger.

It’s available with 2.0 litre petrol, 2.0 litre diesel and a 1.4 litre plug-in hybrid power. The test model had the 1.5 litre TSI turbo-charged petrol engine under its bonnet.

Connected to an easy, short select DSG automatic transmission, there may be people who suggest the 147bhp on tap does not represent sufficient power from a Cupra. But it is capable of sprinting from 0-100km/h in 8.9 seconds and has a claimed top speed of 203km/h - my take on this car is that the silent drive and excellent comfort and roadholding make up for any power deficiency.

Again, they offer the 2.0 litre petrol which covers 0-100km/h in 4.9 seconds and a claimed top speed of 250km/h for those who want a bit more power. Fuel economy, though, would hardly match my 7.0 l/100km (40mpg) average fuel return.

This is a car I will admit to being smitten by. It costs €47,472 with all the options