This is, obviously, the same in this version, but it’s also pleasing to find that the way it drives matches is also quite rewarding. It’s like a tall capable estate, rather than an overtly stiffened, top-heavy 4×4. It’s the sort of thing that would suit the phrase ‘scout’ or ‘cross country’. It’s a crossover in the proper sense.
It rides with reasonable pliancy given the decent amount of body control, and the fact that it rides on 19in alloy wheels and 245/40 tyres. Better still, though, is what happens when you see a hard ridge or a pothole and cringe for the inevitable crash and thump … which doesn’t come. When there are so many tall cars trying to show dynamism, it’s great to find one that actually does it.
But where the four-wheel drive Formentor 310 is secure and has plenty of traction, the e-Hybrid is pretty wild. When 295lb ft hits the front wheels, on any kind of rough surface or mid-corner, it tugs at the steering with plenty of abandon. Wind the engine/motor combo up too and it delivers a loud growl – augmented I’m sure, but not unappealing. This stuff is clearly deliberate. They’ve let it be a bit loose and over-enthusiastic. Perhaps, given the nature of part-EVs, they’ve tried to engineer a bit of excitement back in. The basics of the handling is so good that it works.
The rest of the Formentor experience is good. It’s relatively compact at 4.4m long and 1.8m wide but seats five and has a 345-litre boot. The seats, sculpted and serious-looking, are supportive and comfortable and fit and finish is very good. Ergonomically, like many other VW group cars, the driving position is sound but they’ve started putting more than they should onto a central touchscreen, plus entirely feel-less buttons for the interior temperature, annoyingly.