A visit to Cupra headquarters in Martorell, Barcelona was to be the chosen destination for the recent launch of the all new Tavascan. This much anticipated all-electric SUV developed by Cupra, the performance-oriented sub-brand of SEAT marks Cupra’s second fully electric model, following the stylish Cupra Born. We first laid eyes on this vehicle as a concept back in 2019 at the Frankfurt Motor show. Concept cars can often be somewhat misleading with production design restraints resulting in less ‘awe-inspiring’ versions but that’s not the case with the new Tavascan. Somehow, the design team have stayed true to the concept vehicle with only minimal legislative styling tweaks leading to a seriously good-looking coupe style SUV! Sitting at 4,644mm long, 1,861mm wide, 1,597mm high and with a wheelbase of 2,766mm it is a vehicle of ample proportions. Tavascan is built on the Volkswagen Group’s MEB dedicated EV platform shared with the likes of the Skoda Enyaq Coupe, Audi Q4 e-tron Sportback and the Volkswagen ID5 but how does it differ aside from the obvious design we hear you ask? 

First off there are two variants to choose from. The single motor Endurance version has a 77kWh battery pack with rear wheel drive, delivering around 549km based on the official WLTP test cycle whilst the high spec, dual motor, all-wheel drive Tavascan VZ which, we were offered to drive, delivers a range of around 517km from the same 77kWh battery pack. Before setting off on our test drive, I made a point of sitting into the rear of the Tavascan to gauge headroom. Often when the word ‘Coupe’ and ‘SUV’ are combined, it means the sloping rear design can compromise rear occupant headroom. The Tavascan doesn’t suffer in this area because the designers didn’t drop the roofline before the rear headrest which, is made evident from the side profile view. Jumping into the driver seat and you are greeted by an interesting structural piece called the ‘Central Spine’ which acts as the main design feature with storage underneath and the 15-inch infotainment screen sitting neatly on top. Directly in front of the driver you have a secondary instrument display which, looks rather familiar from Cupra Born. Comfort and storage levels are good overall with plenty of phone, drink and snack cubbyholes for both driver and passengers. 

Bringing the Curpa Tavascan to life is done by simply pressing the start button with a keyless ignition and then selecting D on the steering column mounted stalk. After this, we added one of the two Catalan mountain pass loops into the navigation and we are off to experience all 340 horsepower and 545Nm of torque. Does it go? Well yes, not bonkers quick but the surge of power particularly when the mode selection is toggled from range, through comfort, performance and ultimately into Cupra, is impressive! It is in this mode the car masks its 2.2 tonne body weight best by stiffening up the suspension and allowing you to lean on the 21-inch alloys clad in wide 255mm section performance rubber. Grip is plentiful no matter how hard you push and whilst it might only be marginal, it does feel like the quickest Coupe SUV from ‘parent company’ VW’s current offerings. After pushing on a little through the mountains and getting ample temperature into the brakes we dialled back the mode selector to comfort and enjoyed some of the on board tech. For the first time Curpa have teamed up with premium audio equipment maker Sennheiser to develop a bespoke 12-speaker system which is nothing short of fantastic! If you enjoy crisp vocals with internal moving bass, then you are in the right car! 

So how important is this vehicle for Cupra and when will we see it on Irish roads? Well the Tavascan is expected to play a significant role in expanding Cupra’s market presence not just in Ireland but around the world. It represents a big moment in the brand’s transition towards electrification so it is imperative that they get the pricing right! Early indications are that the car will arrive on Irish shores in the last quarter with the Endurance model falling a little north of €50k. Again pricing confirmation will come in due course! Whilst we enjoyed our day with the Tavascan it would be remiss of us not to mention the hit or miss haptic buttons surrounding the steering wheel. Sometimes they work with you, other times not so much, but again it’s probably a personal preference to have a good old fashioned button. In time we will have the Tavascan on Irish roads for a week long review where we can accurately see how the vehicle manages range. For now we believe Tavascan will target customers looking for a blend of performance, style, and sustainability. Will it be effective? Only time will tell but it’s one good looking offering!