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Can the lower-power hybrid version of the Formentor still impress?
Alloy wheels, ECO LED automatic headlights and LED daytime running lights, front and rear fog lights, halogen taillights, electrically adjustable door mirrors, body-coloured bumpers, door handles and mirror caps, Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free system, Full Link smartphone integration, 8.25in touchscreen display, DAB/AM/FM radio, Seat Connect, dimmable interior rear-view mirror, front reading lights, height-adjustable front seats with split and folding rear seats
245hp 1.4 TSi, 204hp 1.4 TSi
Seven-speed DSG automatic
In just over a year, the Formentor has really put the Cupra brand on the map as a manufacturer of cars rather than just rebadged Seat models. Okay, so there might be a bit of the current Leon estate in the styling, but the Formentor's loftier SUV stance manages to look quite different from other cars in Volkswagen's Spanish sister arm.
In V2 trim, with its standard 19in wheels, copper highlights and our test car's optional Magnetic Tech Grey finish, the Formentor looks almost too sporty to be a business car, but move over to the left-hand side of the Cupra, and you'll spot the extra charger flap - yes, it's a plug-in hybrid.
We've already driven the range-topping 310hp version and the highest-powered hybrid with 245hp, plus the entry-level 1.5 TSi petrol. However, there are two versions of the Formentor plug-in hybrid with the 204hp version we have here also available.
Like the 245hp hybrid, the 204hp version mates a 1.4-litre TSi petrol with an electric motor, and 12.8kWh battery, both powering the front wheels. This equals 37 miles of WLTP electric range, meaning for the current financial year BIK tax of 11% - the same as the more powerful 245hp version. However, the 204hp version has a lower P11D value making it even more tax efficient.
Considering its sporty looks, the fact it can run on full electric surprises - it does make the Cupra feel keen and eager off the mark. There are also Comfort, Sport, Cupra, Individual and off-road modes. To be honest, it's hard to tell the difference between many of these modes, however, in 'Cupra' mode, the engine note is definitely enhanced and the throttle response is crisper and more urgent.
On the road, this Formentor is a tidy rather than sporty drive. This lesser-powered hybrid might be over 40hp down compared with the higher-powered version, but it doesn't feel that much adrift of power on the road. This, I believe is partly down to the fact that this Cupra starts in full-electric mode, although we found it a bit annoying that unless you switch this Formentor into another mode, it will quickly drain the battery.
We feel the extra weight of the hybrid drive kit also blunts the performance slightly, as it's not as sharp or as sporty as the looks would suggest. When not in Cupra mode the engine sounds harsh when extended, too. It is the same with the handling, which with the taller stance equals a bit of body roll. Still, the ride is comfortable and compliant on the 17in wheels.
Inside our V2 grade car, there's standard Nappa leather and plenty of soft-touch plastics, which go together to make the Formentor feel more premium, special and almost Audi-like than you might expect. The biggest disappointment is Volkswagen's infotainment system, with its complex menus and unresponsive control sliders. Space in the front, the driving position and supportive seats are excellent. Room in the back is also good, although the boot with 345 litres is down from the standard Formentor's 450 litres, thanks to the rear-mounted battery pack.
It is easy to see the appeal of the Cupra Formentor E-Hybrid to company car choosers; it looks so much sportier than rivals such as the Toyota C-HR, Volkswagen Tiguan and even the sister car, the Seat Ateca, yet it is still reasonably comfortable, has a high level of standard equipment and even though the hybrid system compromises the drive a bit it is still good fun.
Cupra Formentor V2 E-Hybrid 204
Residual value: 42.3%
Service, maintenance and repair: £2,686
Cost per mile: 45p
Fuel consumption: 52.3mpg
CO2 (BIK %): 29g/km (11%)
BIK 20/40% a month: £71/£142
Luggage capacity: 345 litres
Engine size/power: 1,399cc/150hp plus 116hp electric motor