Cupra Formentor E-Hybrid review. As the Cupra brand prepares for its Australian launch we ride the Formentor E-Hybrid across Sardinia in search of the spark. Tom Salt 2022 Cupra Formentor 1 4 Hybrid VZ 1 80.
Sardinia is putting on a brave face. Behind 2,000 kilometers of perfect white sand beaches towering cliffs and sun-drenched seaside villages nothing is as idyllic as it seems.
Cupra formentor hybrid
You don’t need to go far from the quaint towns scattered across this Italian island to find the scars of the aggressive mining past where the loot of lead and zinc exploration still lingers after precious resources are gone.
The bomb range in the east poses a more modern danger with NATO’s covert ballistic testing allegedly causing a mysterious illness in local communities. The wildfires that have recently hit the island are of unprecedented severity – second only to Sicily among the western islands Mediterranean – 2021 blamed on climate change.
Sardinia has been battered at the hands of humans but it’s a resilient island with universal natural beauty that far outweighs environmental atrocities and has a lot to offer the casual adventurer.
But while the economy desperately needs a cash infusion from tourism stepping onto these carbon-heavy shores is worse than never coming at all. That’s why I’m taking a giant ferry from Olbia on the northern tip of the island to venture south Plug-in hybrids at the helm.
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Why not an EV?
While the trip from Olbia to southern Cagliari is technically 260km you can add an important factor when photographing the car for a magazine feature. Imagine photographer Tom is a dog walker and the car (driven by me) is an overactive border collie retrieving a ball that covers three times human distance.
Add a load of equipment and luggage a constant curiosity to see what’s in this mountaintop or that valley and suddenly any indicated journey length is multiplied by a miscalculated renovation budget while the range drops like a stone .
In these cases a plug-in hybrid is the perfect choice. Even with a relatively small battery depleted a PHEV can still provide the same regeneration efficiency as a mild hybrid and continue to save fuel if you can’t find a charger.
Completing the adventure-friendly must-haves list has to be an SUV that provides room for people and things and if the author goes the wrong way…more than once…hypothetically speaking.
2022 Cupra Formentor 1 4 Hybrid VZ 1 12
Then there is the road itself. Sardinia is connected by a main highway that runs through the whole island like a trunk this road can almost get you from one end to the other in about three hours but after a few days on the island I can say confidently It is the only straight passage on the entire land.
Deviating from E25 the road ahead immediately seemed to be chopped by wood worms. That’s why the last aspect of any Sardinian adventure machine has to be the ability to make turns without feeling like the ferry you’re arriving at.
Throw in all these must-haves into a car matchmaker and one option it’ll spit out at you is the Cupra Formentor E-Hybrid as an initial three-man lineup (consisting of nine variants) in 2022.
If not for other factors other options might include a Mini Countryman or a pluggable version of the Volvo XC40. At the end of this particular trip there is another Cupra waiting for us a completely different kind of eco-warrior that I can’t wait to get meet…
Cupra formentor hybrid motor.
Rather than the ‘fast’ way to the south there is a more interesting route that starts from the port town of Olbia and runs southeast along the coast with small villages along the way. But the SS125 from Orosei turned out really well.
Not only was the road suspiciously abandoned by all but a few cyclists it was recently widened and resurfaced. The narrow rickety pre-upgrade trail would have been heartbreaking but the improvements have produced one of the best driving roads I’ve ever encountered For years no one else seemed to realize this.
The kilometer flew by and the Formentor came alive as my confidence in its abilities grew. Like its Leon brethren the front end is finely tuned to lean precisely into various corners.
Unusual for a mountain road like this though most corners can be driven with good exit visibility and no practice required. Wearing a Goodyear Eagle F1 with tons of cornering grip and steering feel the Spanish brand is quickly building as a trademark.
Tom Salt 2022 Cupra Formentor 1 4 Hybrid VZ 1 48
Cupra Formentor e-Hybrid performance, top speed.
On the straights the combination of electric torque and turbo-petrol power delivers respectable speed. While 150kW isn’t dazzling the immediacy of 350Nm provides excellent responsiveness and feels quicker than the car’s reported sprint from zero to 100km/h in 7.8 seconds.
Individually the 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine is strong and satisfying while the dual-clutch transmission provides emergency shifting and is perfectly matched to the engine and electric assist. Only the inconsistency of electric and gasoline power sharing can destroy the powertrain Occasional clumsiness during handover.
The combined torque is also enough to allow the wheel to slip easily on anything but perfect asphalt or jerk when steering when the grippy rubber can catch its claws. No AWD option available for hybrids at this stage would do the trick although any extra mass on top is invited An already heavy 1704kg might be a stupid move.
That said the sport suspension does a good job of controlling the Formentor’s handsome body and the ride doesn’t suffer. This is partly thanks to the roads in Sardinia which are so well maintained that they put Australia’s maintenance system to shame.
Tom threw a lot of balls for me and the happy asphalt band finally made it to the top near the small neighborhood of Urzulei where we stopped for a bite. October’s off-season is deep but the barista at Little Rock Cafe has prepared a prosciutto and parmesan roll I’d say about many years.
By the time we were ready for the ride the battery had long since been depleted by one percent but the Formentor gave the PHEV exceptionally aggressive regenerative braking and the descent quickly replenished the charge level like our lunch. In fact the E-Hybrid has several personalities depending on drive mode.
Even on flat ground power management can be set to use the engine to charge on the go to keep the battery at a predetermined level – especially satisfying when another small village looms and the engine can be muted to support a pure electric vehicle. I’m not sure if the locals Stop and admire the Formentor’s aggressive look or the weird harmonic hum it makes as it glides in EV mode.
In Tortoli the road reverts to easy coastal meanders but with a more ridiculous indirect belt that stretches inland along SS198 to the island’s highest mountains which won’t spit you out to the west side until the next day.
I opted for the quicker way to satisfy Tom’s childish sense of humor and visited the town of Bouguereau. Here there is more evidence of large-scale mining enterprises. The town once had the largest hospital on the island dedicated to the common and dreaded respiratory disease miner.
Today we are most interested in its electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Disappointingly while the charger exists along with the dedicated parking space marked on the salted parking lot the power cord is comically hanging out of the junction box and not yet in service. It is not Our first encounter with a bland EV facility nor a typical Italian casual lifestyle.
Warm days give way to night and as the copper-colored sun bows to the rising full moon Formentor’s cabin is refreshed and I have my first real chance to appreciate how unique it is inside and out.
When it arrives in Australia in 2022 the Cupra lineup will bring the machinery of the Volkswagen family but the Formentor’s styling is a far cry from its relatives. Copper highlights abound a clear nod to the moniker but the design is unique and proportioned Having something of the Infiniti QX70 on a smaller scale.
Interior tech sits front and center with digital displays for the driver and center screen. The pinstripe color-changing lights that run across the dash from the door trim are not only aesthetically pleasing they also pulse with the hazard lights and serve as blind-spot warnings.
Leather and vinyl bucket seats with power adjustment and heating are part of the VZ1’s specification as are the large panoramic roof and heated leather ergonomic steering wheel – although it lacks the VZ2’s drive modes and Start button that facilitates drive mode buried in Unorthodox operating system.
Cupra formentor hybrid electric range
Strange typewriters and thumps that accompany features including even turning on the cabin lights become comforting the Formentor feels very different but not just for being different.
As far as practicality goes it’s also generous in second-row seat space and while the boot is down to 345 litres compared to the petrol-only version it still requires a ton of gear.
Essentially Cupra’s small model is an SUV with enough ground clearance to avoid embarrassing visceral drag but elegant enough to forget about that…until you hit a dry lake and inadvertently Discover the limits of its traction.
As we enter the Teulada Head military base it’s time to hand over the Formentor. It’s the perfect companion struts through challenging roads takes all the gear we throw at it is as stoic as a donkey and has a fuel economy of just 6.2L/100km– That’s surprising considering the type of road it has to negotiate. But our journey now continues in canvas-roofed trucks across a vast expanse of plain dust whipping Bel Huey behind tanks to a curbside with a hastily erected tent city in the distance.
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For a moment I felt like one of those ‘proper’ reporters but no bullets were whizzing over my head – this was the location of the penultimate race of the Extreme E Electric Off-Road Series and nine pits” Garage” is another Cupra.
Other than the electric motor battery and the claw pattern on the hood the similarities to our Formentor are over but both cars are working hard to push electric technology to the forefront. The huge Cupra Odyssey 21 proves that motorsport can be sustainable and clean and the Formentor The E-Hybrid provides a stepping stone to the electrification of road vehicles.
But the fuel cells that charge the race car use hydrogen produced by a coal-fired power station in Sardinia which is the same electricity that is injected into the Formentor (if we find a working charger). This is a stark reminder that until the renewable energy cycle can The changes done are superficial. But it’s at least a start and these Cupras are a symbol of where we’re going to get because we have to.
2022 Cupra Formentor 1 4 Hybrid
My thoughts returned to the beautiful Spiaggia di Cala Domestica near Bouguereau where we discovered Sardinia’s most perfect white sandy beach incredible blue waters surrounded by rugged cliffs and a white yacht hovering motionless on flat water.
The Oasis Beach Lounge Bar is the only structure visible at a glance and completes the vision of this remote island paradise as light reggae music wafts from its abandoned wooden bar. But just a short distance inland a noisy generator spews black smoke into the warm air to keep the lights on Ichnusa beer cold.
2022 Cupra Formentor specifications