Cupra Formentor VZ Tribe Edition review: for when you want to stand out

David Linklater
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Special Cliff Grey colour and blacked-out wheels mark Cupra Formentor VZ Tribe Edition.


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Base price
Body type
sport utility vehicle
Boot Capacity
Clean Car Fee
CO2 level g/km
Fuel Consumption (l/100km)
Maximum power kW
  • Looks sensational inside and out
  • Fast and a lot of fun to drive
  • Sporty steering wheel-mounted drive mode button
  • A real copper shortage evident
  • Likes a drink when you're having fun
  • Fussy touch/haptic infotainment

Cupra’s angular logo is inspired by idea of a clan or tribal graphic. So it’s a bit odd that the Formentor Tribe Edition has a number of features that make it look totally different to any other model. Or are we just being finical for the fun of it? (hint: yes we are).

Cupra admits its logo doesn't mean anything specific. It's just supposed to suggest a tribal quality.

Guess you could say it's the clan-leader, because the Tribe Edition is an extra-cost option pack for the Formentor coupe-SUV. But very much a factory model, since it includes an exclusive colour, Cliff Grey… which is more green. You can also have Midnight Black, if you must.

The green is really cool, though. And a great look with the Tribe Edition’s blacked-out exterior details, including 19-inch machined alloys. But again, somewhat different from the copper detailing that dominates most Cupra models.

Inside, the Tribe Edition’s sports seats have Dinamica upholstery (produced chemical-free, with some recycled material).

Formentor Tribe Edition's Dinamica upholstery is made chemical-free. It's also rather soft and nice.

Green on the outside, sustainable upholstery; you might be thinking this Formentor is some kind of SUV eco-warrior.

It's a Tribe Edition, but it's weird that it looks really different to every other Formentor. Or are we just being finical?

It’s not. In fact, you can only have the Tribe Edition package on the top VZ (veloz, or speed) model, with an energetic 228kW turbo engine and AWD. It’s fast, with 0-100km/h in under five seconds, but it also quite likes a drink. At least in compact-SUV terms: the official figure is 8.6l/100km, but we struggled to get out of double digits, probably because we were enjoying ourselves quite a bit.

Cupra Formentor is a coupe-SUV, which sounds silly. But it's a thing these days.

That’s opportunity cost for fast acceleration and a fun drive. It’s based on proven mechanicals – the platform is the same as the Cupra Ateca and any number of other Volkswagen Group models – and the Formentor VZ has quite a nuanced chassis. It has the full DCC adaptive control with selectable modes, including Individual that allows you to mix-and-match steering and suspension, for example.

Even in Cupra mode the VZ is a pretty nice everyday car: the ride is not ridiculously firm and the the dual-clutch gearbox shifts at sensible revs.

The higher-end Formentors also get the drive-mode selector on the steering wheel, rather than buried in the infotainment screen. It’s labelled with the Cupra tribal logo and yes, there is a max-attack setting that winds everything up and activates a sound generator that really wants to sound like an Audi five-cylinder (there is such a model in Europe, the VZ5).

Quality interior in Cupra Formentor and important buttons attached to the wheel, sporty-style.

But even in Cupra mode the VZ is a pretty nice everyday car: the ride is not ridiculously firm and the the dual-clutch gearbox still shifts at sensible revs, with a bit of extra double-declutch downshifting. But you know all that from our (very many!) previous Formentor launch stories and reviews.

Even after two years on the market, Formentor still impresses for its high style (which is what it’s really about, as Cupra’s first-ever bespoke model), driving dynamics and quality interior. Just remember it’s more a compact than medium SUV, so the back seat and boot (345 litres) are modest.

Cupra Formentor boot is modest, especially the AWD versions (FWD has 30l more).

And if a pure-petrol 228kW SUV sounds a bit eco-aggressive in 2023… it is what it is and maybe it is not for you. For about the same money you can have the slower-but-still-sporty Born battery electric vehicle (BEV).

Cupra is about to launch an electric Formentor, though. The V e-Hybrid will be the most expensive model in the range: $4k more than even this VZ Tribe Edition, although the tables turn once you balance out the e-Hybrid’s Clean Car rebate of $4025 with the $3105 fee for the VZ.

The Formentor V e-Hybrid matches a 1.4-litre turbo-petrol engine to a plug-in battery pack for 53km electric range, and 180kW/245Nm (FWD, 0-100km/h 7.0sec). We’ll tell you all about that later this month.

ENGINE: 2.0-litre turbo-petrol inline four
POWER: 228kW/400Nm
GEARBOX: 7-speed automated dual clutch transmission (DSG), AWD
0-100KM/H: 4.9sec
CONSUMPTION: 8.6l/100km, CO2 194g/km (3P-WLTP), Clean Car fee $3105
PRICE: $74,900 (VZ base price $70,900)

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