0-100: CUPRA Formentor VZX
Performance meets practicality in this sporty new medium SUV from CUPRA, which boasts a versatile crossover body style, all-wheel-drive traction and a high-performance 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder engine.
Few car makers are as adept at spinning multiple make-model-variants off a common set of components as the Volkswagen Group, which for years has carefully tweaked the recipe to give us different-tasting VWs, Audis, Skodas and more. Last year the German car maker’s Australian arm introduced some zesty Spanish flavours to our palates with the introduction of CUPRA, the sporty arm of VW’s Spanish brand Seat.
CUPRA's four-model range includes the Leon hot hatch, Born ‘electric hot hatch’, Ateca SUV and Formentor crossover sampled here. Based on the VW Group’s widely used MQB platform the Formentor is available in front-wheel- (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), and with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine offered in three states of tune, plus a 1.4-litre plug-in hybrid electric variant.
The entry-level CUPRA Formentor V drives all four wheels but gets the least potent engine tune at 140kW/320Nm for a retail price of $49,990; at the other end of the spectrum is this flagship Formentor VZx, priced at $63,990 and packing a high-performance 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder. The engine punches out a potent 228kW/400Nm and drives all four wheels via a seven-speed twin clutch
The fiery VZx stands out from the SUV herd with dynamic styling and overtly sporty looks, including a quartet of exhaust tips and big 19-inch alloy wheels. Our test model came with an optional Brembo brake package ($4150) and matte paint ($2000), pushing its price to a heady $70,140. That might seem expensive but compare its claimed 4.9- second 0-100km/h sprint time with that of a Porsche Macan – you’ll need to spend $112,400 with the Stuttgart marque to best this spicy Spaniard.
Switch the Formentor VZx’s steeringwheel-mounted dial to the sportiest CUPRA drive mode, point it at a winding road, and prepare to be thrilled. The grip and poise is excellent, with well-weighted and accurate steering, powerfully progressive brakes, a characterful engine note and terrific acceleration. Dial it back and there’s still plenty to appreciate: a comprehensive standard equipment list, decent rear seat accommodation, a 420-litre boot, and the latest safety and electronic driver assistance features. For drivers wanting an SUV that delivers practicality and exceptional performance, saying ‘hola!’ to this Spanish flyer could be just the ticket.
Retail price: $63,990 (MRLP)
Body style: Medium SUV
Seating: 5 seats
Fuel consumption: (Combined): 7.7L/100km (175g/km CO2)
Safety rating: 5 Star ANCAP Rating (2021)
Engine: EA888 Series 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol turbo (228kW/400Nm)
Transmission: Seven-speed twin clutch
Drive type: All-wheel drive
0-100km/h: 4.9 seconds