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The Cupra Formentor 2022 is a performance SUV that belies categorisation and is bound for Australia next year

John Law

Launched in 2021, the Formentor is the most unique production Cupra to date, and while we’ll call it an SUV for the sake of simplicity, it’s difficult to pin down.

The 2022 Cupra Formentor is the marque’s first vehicle not based on an existing product from Spanish parent company Seat.

It will join the Ateca and Leon to form a three-strong Australian Cupra range in around 12 months. The Formentor is larger than the Ateca but not quite in the same league as the Volkswagen Tiguan, with which it shares its MQB Evo underpinnings.

Cupra Formentor 2022-5
The Cupra Formentor looks a little bit like an SUV, but its dimensions suggest something different.

The Formentor measures 4,450mm long and 1,839mm wide. Cupra isn’t really calling it an SUV, and its 1,511mm height suggests that is right – for reference, the number is somewhere between a Tiguan (1,635mm) and a Golf (1,498mm), though closer to the latter.

Who is the Cupra Formentor for?

While Cupra didn’t specify the demographic they were targeting, the marque was very clear about something. Cupra is not for everyone, and it doesn’t want to be.

Arguably the Formentor takes this furthest. We have yet to see one in the flesh, but in images, the Formentor looks like the working concept car that is yet to be dumbed down for production. Those rear haunches bulge aggressively, and the signature Matte Petrol Blue set off by the copper hue 20-inch alloy wheels look like nothing else. Not even a BMW X6.

Cupra Formentor 2022-3
Those haunches are massive for an SUV!

Australian Cupra brand director Ben Wilks said that the Formentor is “a crossover capable of making people feel something”. For those who are sceptical of the appeal of such a different product, in 2020, the Formentor accounted for two-thirds of total Cupra sales, according to the brand.

What will power the Cupra Formentor? 

The appearance is exotic, but the powertrains are familiar. There will be three petrol Formentor variants to choose from. Each will utilise a 2.0-litre turbocharged ‘EA888’ engine in different states of tune.

Cupra will offer the engine in 140TSI tune with 140kW and 320Nm, or for a little more money with 180kW and 370Nm. The range-topping Formentor in Australia will pack impressive outputs of 228kW and 400Nm.

Cupra Formentor 2022-6
Cupra has confirmed that they will bring PHEVs to Australia.

Every Cupra Formentor sold in Australia will be AWD with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission fitted standard.

Unfortunately, the limited edition Formentor VZ5 – the one with the 291kW five-pot from the Audi RS3 – will not be making its way down under.

Cupra has confirmed PHEV powertrains for the Formentor.

Along with the Leon, the Formentor will be available with a PHEV drivetrain. We haven’t seen this before in Australia – the Formentor combines a 1.4-litre turbo petrol four-cylinder with an 85kW electric motor. Total outputs are 180kW and 400Nm – nearly as much as the most potent petrol motor.

A bit of extra weight blunts outright pace (Cupra claims a 7.0 second 0-100km/h time) but does add around 59km of electric-only range. Charging is capped at 3.6kW for the 12.8kWh lithium-ion battery.

Cupra Formentor 2022-2
Inside the Formentor is treated to the copper highlights synonymous with the Cupra brand.

Inside, the Formentor gets all the Cupra cues such as bucket seats with contrast copper stitching and the engine start button on the steering wheel. There is also a 10.25-inch digital driver’s display and a 12.3-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system.

In Australia, Cupra will operate on an agency based model. That means instead of dealers, there will be experience centres with the ability to purchase a car online.

Cupra is still working on exact specification but at the brand launch. Ben Wilks confirmed that the range of cars will be priced from around $40,000 up to $60,000. Expect the Formentor to sit towards the more expensive end when it arrives next year.