Cupra Formentor and Hyundai Tucson tested as plug-in hybrids

Cupra Formentor and Hyundai Tucson as plug-in hybrids
An SUV with two plugs of a different nature

The Cupra Formentor has earned a reputation as the top athlete among compact SUVs. As a plug-in hybrid now meets in the benchmark Mister Harmony, Hyundai Tucson. There aren’t too many points between them. What matters is what the buyer expects.

Suppose you want to spend up to 40,000 euros on a new decent performance SUV and browse the offer. If it’s a plug-in hybrid, you will surely come across two cars in this group test sooner rather than later. Thanks to the system power of 245 (Cupra) or even 265 HP (Hyundai), they perfectly meet the number one criterion. Prices also remain within the agreed framework, as 7,178 euros will flow to you with a grant that may run out soon. And, bingo, they both have a three in front.

The fact that the base Hyundai price is much lower (see left) is a bit misleading. Because the Tucson, as a Trend model, is comparably well-equipped and a bit more expensive than the Formentor. Just as important as money is what the car can do and what it does with you is more important. So let’s go for a ride with the two of them.

Oops, he’s serious

As soon as you sit behind the beautiful supersport steering wheel with round buttons for starting the engine and selecting the driving mode (765 euros), the Formentor signals that his driver should be perfectly fit like him: the seats leave little room for growing love handles, they almost squeeze the remote control. In addition, there is a kind of cocooning integration for the driver that looks more like a sports coupé than a sport utility vehicle. You feel like an integral part of the machine, so to speak, while the Tucson offers the classic benefits of an SUV with wide seats and an airy sense of space.

Achim Hartmann

Cupra Formentor VZ 1.4 E-Hybrid: 245 hp, 400 Nm, hybrid consumption 7.4 l SP / 100 km, 210 km / h, from 45 380 euros.

Formentor is not as narrow as it seems. Okay, it offers a few centimeters less elbow room, but the ground clearance is better than in the Tucson – despite a much more dynamic roofline, the apex of which is 14 centimeters lower than in the Tucson. There is two centimeters less legroom in the back, but 75 centimeters is enough. Because the low seat position is more important as the Hyundai supports the thighs slightly better.

Both regulate action with an unmistakable tendency to touch and move. Hyundai relies on a few more mechanical buttons than the Cupra, and for the idea of ​​not illuminating the temperature and volume sliders in the dark as is the case in Formentor, the Korean development team will likely have a strong lecture with an order to be rectified immediately.

The numbers don’t tell you everything

All of this is well known and will not be discussed further here. Because there are more important things with these plug-in hybrids. First, there is a question of system performance.

From 265 to 245 hp it is 1-0 for Korea on paper, but when it comes to performance, it’s more of a draw: Tucson drives the Cupra in 7.7 to 7.1 seconds from 0 to 100 km / h initially in the back, but reverses the tables at higher speeds and shows more pressure. Both are also mid-speed strong with properly designed automatic transmissions; that the Cupra can also be operated with the steering wheel paddles. When the road is clear and the accelerator foot is heavy, the Tucson quickly becomes smaller in the Formentor’s mirror, reaching a top speed of 191 to 210 km / h.

He’s also a better electric sprinter. Explanation: The 150 hp gasoline engine is connected to a Cupra 85 kW (115 hp) electric motor. Hyundai crowns 180 hp with only electric 67 kW (91 hp); the electric torque is also slightly lower. A second explanation for the Tucson’s more restrained acceleration in the lower speed range is its extra weight of around 200 kilograms – a consequence of the standard all-wheel drive with different driving programs on a variety of rough terrain. Only a few customers will take advantage of these opportunities, and the traction advantage, which is of course appreciated when awarding points, is practically non-existent on the road: the Cupra has only minor problems transferring power to the road on wet surfaces.

Hyundai Tucson 1.6 T-GDI with hybrid plug

Achim Hartmann

Hyundai Tucson 1.6 T-GDI plug-in hybrid: 265 hp, 350 Nm, hybrid consumption 8.5 l S / 100 km, 191 km / h, from 42 350 euros.

Even as a plug-in hybrid, the Cupra is a mid-range Lamborghini Urus that drives as hard as a clean internal combustion engine. It drives very precisely, following even the smallest impulses of the very direct and smoothly responsive steering, making it a lot of fun.

For comparison, as a really heavy car, the Tucson is almost sluggish in the hand and makes all kinds of corners relatively indifferent and uninspired. But before we understand it: this project is perfectly legitimate for an SUV and, as shown by good sales figures, also close to the needs of many customers. It allows the courage of the Cupra boys to take Formentor to extreme sportsmanship, but at the same time shines even brighter.

Sport comes at a price

There are no shadows Of course there are. Not in terms of consumption, where the Cupra makes ends meet with less gas and Hyundai with less electricity – but for example in terms of comfort.

Cupra Formentor VZ 1.4 e-Hybrid, Hyundai Tucson 1.6 T-GDI Plug-in Hybrid

Achim Hartmann

The 150 hp gasoline engine is complemented by an 85 kW (115 hp) electric motor. Hyundai crowns 180 hp with only electric 67 kW (91 hp); the electric torque is also slightly lower.

Even in Comfort mode, the standard adaptive Formentor dampers are tight, in “Sport” or extreme Cupra mode, the car throws very rough on patched stretches of highways or undulating country roads. Despite all the love, it’s almost over and makes the Tucson (980 Euro), which is also adaptively damped, look even more comfortable. Traveling by it is just less tiring – by the way, also because there is no discussion of luggage before take off. The Cupra swallows 345 liters, which is poor even for a compact car, about 200 liters more than the Tucson, which is also more variable due to the 40:20:40 split of the backrest.

As for the points, it will be really tight at the end – but clearly. Because neither is an alternative to the other according to the motto: I like that too. The two are too different for that. If you like Tucson, Formentor is not for you – and vice versa. Recognize yourself!


1. Hyundai
631 points

Are you looking for less dynamism and more comfort, peace and everyday usefulness? Voilà, Tucson with long range e-plug is your sporty utility vehicle.

2. Kupra
628 points

Are you looking for a sports car in which you are sitting higher than normal? Please! Formentor is exciting to drive. His weaknesses? Luggage compartment comfort and volume.

Technical Specifications

Cupra Formentor 1.4 e-Hybrid VZ Hyundai Tucson 1.6 T-GDI hybrid 4WD plug-in
basic price € 45,380 € 42,350
External dimensions 4450x1839x1510mm 4500x1865x1650mm
boot volume 345 to 1415L 558 to 1721 l
capacity / engine 1395 cm³ / 4 cylinders 1598 cm³ / 4 cylinders
performance 110 kW / 150 HP at 5,000 rpm 132 kW / 180 HP at 5500 rpm
maximum speed 210km / h 191 km / h
0-100km / h 7.1 s 7.7s
consumption 1.5kWh / 100km 1.4kWh / 100km
test wear 7.4kWh / 100km 8.5 kWh / 100 km

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