Cupra has confirmed the production spec of its first brand-exclusive model, the Formentor, ahead of its arrival in the UK before the end of the year. Longer (by 50mm), wider and lower than the Ateca, the new MQB-based SUV is intended as Cupra's flagship with prices set to start from £27,300 excluding tax and on the road fees (suggesting the entry-level model will cost from around £33k). The top 310hp all-wheel drive variant has been confirmed for Britain with a £39,830 OTR price, making it the most expensive Cupra yet.
Predictably, the halo model uses 2.0-litre four-pot power with a DSG auto and 4Drive, with familiar electro-hydraulic multi-disc tech simulating a locking diff at the back. The chassis - MacPherson struts up front and multi-link at the rear - also gets DCC as standard, tuned specifically for the Formentor and its unique proportions in the range. We've not yet been given performance statistics, but we'd expect them to marginally beat the Cupra Ateca, which has 10hp less and hits 62mph in 5.2 seconds.
Likely more significantly (as far as sales are concerned), in early 2021 the Formentor will gain a 1.5-litre petrol producing 150hp or a plug-in hybrid with a 1.4-litre and electric motor, combining to produce 204hp with a 13kWh lithium-ion battery. A higher spec 245hp version will also be added, with both PHEV models said to be capable of 31 miles of EV range. Cupra will also offer a lower-grade 2.0 model with 190hp, making for a pretty comprehensive line-up. Cupra, we're told, is here to appease younger buyers.
Consequently, much of the manufacturer's effort to ensure that has gone into the car's design, which is familiar enough now (we were shown the final look in March) and comes with wheels no smaller than 18-inch in diameter. The top models get 19s, a bigger diffuser and sports seats, but all cars get decent standard equipment because Cupra ranks above Seat in the VW Group ladder. Even at entry-level a 'digital cockpit' including a 12-inch central infotainment screen and instrument cluster screeen feature, alongside auto headlights and wipers and LED headlights, as well as adaptive cruise and a long list of driver assist/safety features.
Cupra's separation from Seat has not only ensured a new upmarket brand image and specification, but also an improvement in used values according to CAP HPI numbers. Cupra quotes a retained value up to 46 per cent over three years. Its PCP deals are also intended to be attractive, with a 310hp car that costs £40,385 (including £555 metallic paint) costing a customer £399 per month, once a £7,519 deposit has been paid. A final year payout of £17,268 would then earn the buyer the car to keep, should they want it. Not that current trends suggest they would.
The competitiveness of such deals is obviously essential to winning over any buyers still on the fence when it comes to Cupra. As its first distinctive model, the Formentor is crucial to establishing the division's place in the market - especially if rumours that the VW Group is weighing up the advantages of simply rebranding Seat as Cupra in the long run are true. Either way, expect the new model to be the first in a long line of carefully differentiated VW Group product...
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