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Less horses but tons of personality – Cupra Formentor V review

Spanish performance brand Cupra (you know, the one with the unique copper logo) has just added a new model to its Formentor line up in NZ. It’s called a V and it’s just as good looking as the others, but with less poke – Cupra NZ let us find out if it’s just as much fun.

To recap or for those of you who don’t know (something that’s getting less and less by the hour), Cupra is essentially the sporty off-spring of Spanish car giant SEAT, which is now, of course, under the umbrella of the VW group. Anyway, with its root tracing back to SEAT special vehicles of 1971, the brand created the Cupra brand as its independent high-performance branch – and it hasn’t looked back since.

Cupra’s present day line up (the Born EV is on its way) consists of the Leon and Leon Sportstourer, the Ateca and the Formentor, with the Formentor having the viciously quick VZ and an all-wheel drive V4drive, that is until now.

Cupra Formentor V review NZ
Spot the difference

The V slots in as the first rung on the Cupra Formetor ladder and not only is it the baby of the trio in terms of price and positioning, but it’s also only front wheel drive and has lower horsepower too.

Now admittedly, I did roll my eyes a bit upon hearing that a high-performance Cupra had just over halved (yes halved) its power output and what’s more, dropped its torque by almost the same too, but as I mentioned, the price tag has dropped considerably too – so my judgement remailed reserved.

Cupra Formentor V review NZ

From a distance, the new Cupra V looks just like the VZ and as it turns out, thanks to the addition of the $2,500 Agile pack (Heated front seats and steering wheel, Park assist with front parking sensors, Wireless phone charger and 19” Machined alloys with 245/40 R19 tyres) it looked virtually identical close up too.

Cupra Formentor V review NZ

Outwardly, it’s still the same size and glorious looking shape and much of its badging is the same, in fact, unless look behind wheels and see the lack of Brembo brakes or head to the rear and notice that the VZ badge, diffuser and quad exhaust pipes are missing, the untrained eye (your neighbours) won’t be able to tell. Unless they try to race you at the lights of course.

Cupra Formentor V review NZ

Dropping a quarter (486cc’s) of the Formentor engine’s cubic capacity was always going to take its toll in areas such as off the line speed (0-100km/h) and in this case, the V comes in a rather humbling 8.9 seconds. However, I urge you not to focus on this figure as despite it being 2WD, it carries a huge amount of speed into the bends and corners, making it a real fun drive, in other words, a Cupra. Plus, you can also feel a little better in terms of environment and trips to the petrol station as the V model claims 149g/km respectively and 6.6L/100km.

Cupra Formentor V review NZ

The interior has the look and feel of its siblings too, well certainly when itc comes to the trim. The seats are not as encapsulating as those in the VZ, but as previously mentioned, are heated, and although it’s good, the sound system ain’t Beatsaudio. The screens are still the same with a 12-inch colour touchscreen for the infotainment (just lacks the bird’s eye camera view) and the instrument cluster remains a configurable 10.25-inches.

Back to the driving. Being FWD only, the Formentor V does come with fewer driving modes, (comfort, individual and sport – no Cupra or off-road), but as I said before, Sport mode will give you plenty of thrills without having to constantly check your rear view mirror. 

Cupra Formentor V review NZ

Removed is the DCC (Dynamic Chassis Control) with CUPRA sport suspension and the  progressive power steering, but in its place comes a vehicle that takes a little more thought to play with, and believe me, it does still play.

Cupra Formentor V review NZ

My roads of choice with this mildly spicy Euro were around the North/West of greater Auckland and as such came with a joyful mix of off-cambers and winding bends, which meant that the Cupra Formentor V really put a smile on my face – see, it’s not always the fasted vehicle that makes you grin the most (did I just say that?)

Cupra Formentor V review NZ

All up the new Cupra Formentor V is a great introduction to what this performance brand has to offer, sure it’s not their most powerful model, but it retains its visual uniqueness, certainly enough to garner second or third glances from other road users, is spacious enough to take shopping and gives you plenty of driving feels when no-one is looking – just don’t get carried away at the lights.

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