ANOTHER Volkswagen Group marque is now obtainable in Australia within the form of Cupra, an offshoot of Spain’s nationwide car-maker SEAT, that’s providing a multi-pronged offensive that may see city-sized hatches, petrol, plug-in hybrid and electrical fashions, and smaller-sized SUVs arrive in native showrooms, every with their very own persona however all sharing an unambiguous dose of sporting European aptitude.
Take for instance the range-topping Formentor VZx 4Drive sampled right here. This flagship variant of the Formentor SUV range gives a scorching 228kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine (Volkswagen’s EA888-series unit) paired with a Golf R-like Haldex Traction all-wheel drive system, quick-shifting seven-speed wet-clutch DSG transmission, sports-tuned suspension and non-obligatory Brembo brakes.
With a sticker value of $63,990, the Formentor VZx rivals dearer European-sourced fashions together with the Audi SQ2 2.0TFSI Quattro ($67,200), BMW X2 M35i xDrive Pure ($70,500) and Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 4Matic ($97,800) – all priced earlier than on-road prices.
Dressed in Petrol Blue metallic paint, the Formentor VZx on take a look at is additional distinguished by 19-inch Performance Sport black and copper alloy wheels, quad exhaust shops, and Magnetic Tech Matte exterior finishes. Matte copper touches all through pay homage to the Cupra title – Latin for copper.
It is complemented inside by a Supersports leather-rimmed steering wheel with shift paddles and heating, Petrol Blue leather-trimmed bucket seats, heated entrance seats with electrical adjustment and reminiscence for the driving force, reminiscence perform for facet mirrors and nine-speaker Beats audio with a subwoofer and 340W amplifier.
And the Catalonian-built Formentor can also be surprisingly sensible. The cabin will comfortably accommodate 4 adults and gives helpful oddment storage, charging shops and the likes.
The electrical tailgate permits quick access to a helpful 420-litre boot, and the rear seats fold nearly flat to accommodate bulkier gadgets.
Cupra Australia fashions are supplied with a five-year/unlimited-kilometre guarantee. Servicing is equipped through Volkswagen dealerships nationally.
(Oh, and in case you have been questioning, the Formentor title comes from the attractive Cap de Formentor peninsula on the Balearic Island in Majorca. If you’ve got the time to Google it, we assure you received’t be upset.)
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As Australians, we’re lucky to have so many autos to select from, and in the case of new vehicles, there actually is one thing to go well with nearly each style and funds.
There are vehicles for the sporty, vehicles for the sensible, vehicles for the tech-savvy, vehicles for the fashionable… the record simply goes on and on. But it’s seldom that we come throughout a automotive that efficiently melds these attributes into the one, putting package deal.
The Cupra Formentor VZx is simply such a automotive – and though its Volkswagen Group origins are evident, they present themselves in areas equivalent to meeting high quality and supplies end, leaving the Formentor with its personal distinct and vibrant character.
It is an exceptionally well-presented automotive and one which, as peculiar because it sounds, has its personal Spanish flavour.
The Formentor VZx is energetic. Enjoyable. And irrespective of the way you’re driving it – whether or not pottering round city or pushing alongside a winding nation street – has an innate capacity to convey a smile to your face.
Your place behind the wheel is somewhat hatch-like, regardless of the upper using place of this SUV mannequin. You really feel cosseted and supported, pure on the wheel. It’s an excellent driving place for these weekend sprints down your favorite stretch of B-road.
The pedal placement, the steering really feel, the best way the dual-clutch transmission reacts to pedal enter – particularly in its sportier modes – comes collectively to create an expertise that’s onerous to high; and I genuinely imagine that even probably the most finicky of manual-gearbox drivers will agree with me on that final level particularly. In reality, we discovered ourselves not often needing to interact with the paddle-shifters in any respect.
Braking efficiency from the non-obligatory four-piston Brembos is just stellar. There’s no fade, and in repeated onerous functions we discovered the pedal maintained its really feel and progressions with aplomb. The transmission gears down sweetly underneath braking as properly, so properly in reality you nearly must pinch your self to recollect you’re on the helm of a 1684kg SUV, and never a pocket-sized sizzling hatch. Perhaps it’s the Volkswagen Golf’s underpinnings making themselves identified…
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Around the ’burbs, the Formentor is straightforward to handle and gives fast, gentle steering. The giant wheels don’t are likely to crash over pace humps and imperfections within the floor in the best way you may anticipate. The solely actual grievance is a bit of wind and tyre noise when you hit freeway speeds (one thing solely anticipated given the VZx rides on extensive, grippy 19-inch rubber).
Push even additional, and with Sport or Cupra mode chosen (through handy steering wheel-mounted button), and the Formentor feels equal elements partaking and undemanding.
There’s a ‘flow’ to the chassis that appears to channel the driving force’s inputs somewhat instinctively. Abundant torque, a front-bias driveline, acres of grip, and splendidly progressive steering additional add to the coherent connection between automotive and driver.
Performance on provide within the Formentor VZx is exceptionally properly matched to the chassis, although within the default drive mode you could possibly nearly be forgiven for considering the facility supply is considerably lazy.
As a every day driver, the Formentor is completely happy to lope together with little or no fuss. Gear modifications are easy and progress informal – simply the factor for preserving gasoline consumption to a minimal (we managed 9.9 litres per 100km on take a look at). But at something greater than three-quarter throttle, or upon choosing Sport or Cupra mode, the Formentor’s reflexes tighten appreciably.
Shifts hasten because the engine races to redline extra readily, the turbocharger boosts with a deliciously provocative word, and shortly you’re charging with haste at speeds higher skilled on the racetrack. Cupra quotes a 0-100km/h time of 4.9 seconds, which feels fairly correct; we are able to solely think about how zesty the VZ5 should really feel.
Cupra gives a restricted run of the five-pot-powered VZ5 in different markets, the hard-charging mannequin motivated by a 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo-petrol from the Audi RS3 creating 287kW/480Nm. Sadly, the mix is obtainable in left-hand drive markets solely.
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The Formentor offers a superb outlook for the driving force and passengers, the one caveat being the thicker C pillar could make reversing from diagonal parks a bit of difficult. Fortunately, the digicam system and security aids assist to take away the guesswork.
On the draw back, nevertheless, the all-touchscreen infotainment array can take some getting used to, with many menu programs to navigate, poor AM radio reception, no digital radio reception (DAB+) and no illumination of the temperature controls at night time. It’s additionally the type of set-up that takes a bit of getting used to, however after a couple of days with the automotive – and customising your personal preferences on the house display screen – it quickly turns into somewhat intuitive.
Less so are the small and huge (staggered) cup holders within the centre console. The aft cup holder is overhung by the console lid whereas the entrance one is simply too deep for the typical takeaway espresso cup. It’s a small concern, however one that might have been prevented with higher planning of the console, which is unnecessarily consumed by the gear selector space (itself a small digital lever) and adjoining longitudinal trays.
On the plus facet, Cupra has completely nailed the headlight efficiency and dusk-sensing calibration, the rain-sensing wipers and the local weather management efficiency. Southern Spain’s sizzling local weather has paid dividends in making the system work properly in Australia, and even on the most popular days we had no concern in preserving the cabin at a cushty temperature.
When you add all of it up, the Formentor is a sporty, sensible, tech-savvy and trendy SUV that actually is aware of the right way to flip heads. Sure, the mannequin’s pricing is up there a bit of, however in comparison with ‘premium’ European rivals – and factoring in simply how a lot tools and efficiency comes as normal – the general providing is one which we expect may be very onerous to look previous.
In reality, we’re just a bit bit enamoured with this automotive – and reckon anybody that jumps in for a take a look at drive shall be too.
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