THE Formentor is the first standalone model to be launched by Cupra - the performance side of SEAT - and it's guaranteed to grab attention wherever it goes.
There was the Cupra Ateca, but that was more of a rebadging exercise while Formentor is a completely bespoke model for the Spanish car maker.
It's a five-door coupe-styled SUV that gets everything great from SEAT and VW but adds a dramatic design to the package with sharp lines, muscular haunches, a distinctive black grille housing the Cupra badge, tinted rear window, LED headlights and taillights with dynamic indicators and 18-inch Performance machined sport black and silver alloy wheels to give the vehicle real road presence.
Move inside and it's a clutter-free, simplistic layout with a sporty theme throughout. The black sports seats comprise part PVC, part cloth and have neat copper stitching. They also have full adjustment to quickly find the ideal driving position.
There is a 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is the main focal point and this is where access to the likes of the navigation system, wireless Apple CarPlay and car settings are located, and there is also a smart 10.25-inch digital cockpit behind the steering wheel that can be personalised to taste.
The sporty flat-bottomed steering wheel has lots of copper-coloured trim and there are copper surrounds to the air vents too which look upmarket.
Our Formentor, in entry-level V1 trim, was powered by a 1.5-litre 150PS petrol engine delivering 250Nm of torque. It was matched to a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox and cost £28,825, increasing to £29,705 with special metallic paint.
It can sprint from 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds, tops out at 126mph and, according to official figures under WLTP testing, can deliver a combined 39.2-42.2mpg with carbon emissions of 151g/km.
Although the 0-62mph dash isn't the fastest, the all-round performance package of the Formentor does impress and it's worth remembering that we were driving the entry-level version, so if power is the deciding factor, there are options.
Out on the open road, the Formentor feels well balanced and confident into bends with next-to-no sign of body movement. The road holding is super grippy and the steering is perfectly weighted with plenty of driver feedback. The auto gearbox is well timed too and there are steering wheel paddles if you fancy some real fun shifting through the gears manually.
The car is well insulated against road surface and engine noise, but you will hear some wind sound when travelling at faster speeds, but it is a car that cruises at 70mph on motorways with ease.
The suspension system does a great job of smoothing out bumps and dips along the way and the driver has excellent forwards and sideways vision, but the design of the car with its tapering roofline means the rear window is fairly narrow.
The vehicle also gets Cupra Connect which adds 10-year private emergency call, breakdown call, service scheduling. There is remote access with 12 months driving data, parking position, remote lock and unlock, anti-theft and speed alert, along with a 12 month map update with online traffic information, parking updates and petrol station locations.
Comfort levels within the car are good and there is room for a couple of adults in the back, provided the front seats are not pushed too far back. And storage options impress too with a boot that can swallow 450 litres of luggage - a limit that increases with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. Elsewhere there are front and rear cup holders, deep door bins, a glovebox, front seatback pockets, a cubby box and some trays.
The Cupra Formentor was awarded the maximum five stars when it was tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating with a 93 per cent score for adult occupant safety. Features include forward collision warning with automatic braking, lane assist, high beam assist, dynamic road sign display, tyre pressure monitoring, dynamic traction support and a full suite of airbags.