With the Cupra Born successfully sent into production in Zwickau, Germany, preparations have started to push the next Cupra EV into the marketplace. The second model from the Spanish brand will be the production version of the Cupra Tavascan Concept, positioned above the Born. Cupra showcased a near-production Tavascan, along with the Born and the Terramar, live for the first time in Sitges, Spain, at the Cupra Impulse event on June 7, 2022.
Cupra analyzing possible U.S. launch
During Seat’s annual press conference held at Casa Seat in Barcelona on March 22, 2023, CEO of Seat and Cupra brands, Wayne Griffiths, revealed that Cupra has been scoping possibilities of entering the North American market as the performance-oriented brand looks at expanding its reach and becoming a globally-recognized nameplate.
In order to better understand customer preferences, Griffiths said that Cupra has been interacting with potential clients in the U.S. and that the results of those interactions look promising. That said, the Chief Executive stopped short of revealing timelines or the portfolio for the U.S. market.
The Cupra Tavascan would target electric SUV buyers who seek a model that belongs to a premium brand and offers uniqueness among dozens of Skodas and Volkswagens on the street without having to shell out luxury brand money. Customers in Spain and other main European markets will likely see it as a distinctive alternative to the VW ID.5 and Skoda Enyaq Coupe iV, especially their performance variants (VW ID.5 GTX and Skoda Enyaq Coupe RS iV, respectively). The Tavascan is not a traditional SUV designed for big families and will suit young buyers/families better.
The Cupra Tavascan (reported codename: SE316/8) is a compact SUV-coupe akin to Volkswagen’s ID.5 and Skoda’s Enyaq Coupe iV. It should gun for the title of the most aggressive and athletic SUV in the VW Group family, though technically the same underneath (MEB platform) as the Skoda or VW offering.
Why an SUV-Coupe?
SUV-coupes may not be as practical as regular SUVs in the aspects of boot space and headroom, but they have their own advantages. If you’re looking for a vehicle that exudes power and dynamism, an SUV-coupe may be right for you. Their commanding seating position, the easy ingress and egress, and higher ground clearance make them more practical than sedans. Moreover, better aerodynamics, as compared to a boxy SUV, provides increased range and driving stability, meaning SUV coupes are relatively more fun and safer at high speeds. Note the keyword ‘relative’!
New Cupra design language
The near-production Tavascan embodies the brand’s new design language that’s cleaner, softer, and yet portrays a more striking character. It features curvy headlamps consisting of three triangle groups, an illuminated brand logo that sits low on the hood, smoothly flowing lines, and slim and curvy tail lamps that extend all the way inwards and meet an illuminated brand logo in the middle. Delicate copper details underline the expressiveness of this new-age Cupra, while also signalling its pure electric nature.
Cupra had said that the production version would ‘remain faithful’ to the 2019 concept car, and it has delivered on its promise as the version showcased at the Cupra Impulse event looks similar to the concept—modern and futuristic.
There are so many purely rational and electric cars out in the market at the moment but that’s not what Cupra is about. Cupra’s attitude is to make cool cars with emotional design, striking nerve with the new generation. That’s why back in 2019 just after we founded the brand, we had a vision to reinvent electrification. We wanted to show the world back then that electric cars could be sexy with great design, while providing unique focus.Wayne Griffiths, CEO, Cupra (The Unstoppable Impulse on June 7, 2022)
The Tavascan’s silhouette has been marginally straightened out, and it appears almost production-ready. It has gained regular mirrors and new flush door handles. Flush door handles reduce aerodynamic drag, leading to lower cabin noise and marginally improved driving range.
The roofline of the Tavascan has a coupe-like effect with its downward slope. In fact, in some ways, it is reminiscent of its cousin, the Skoda Enyaq Coupe iV. The sloping roofline would affect the headroom for rear seat occupants. The rear quarter glass looks smaller than that of the Skoda model, meaning occupants may have a limited view of the surroundings.
The rear bumper isn’t visible; a sharp element behind the rear wheel hints that the bumper could sport an aggressive design. The steep D-pillar angle would obviously mean having a minor compromise with the cargo capacity. For reference, the ID.5 offers 0.8% (14 liters) lower cargo space (1,561 liters) than the ID.4.
Seating and comfort
During the Cupra Impulse press conference, Cupra showcased a glimpse of the upcoming Tavascan interior. The Y-shaped cabin appears bright and vibrant, closely mirroring the concept. While the concept used plenty of dark carbon-fiber-effect panels contrasting with white elements, the latest version uses lighter colors for the most part, except for the lower portions of the door panels. Interiors with colors are usually not easy to maintain, but as they reflect more light, creating an effect of an airy cabin.
Most automakers don’t do SUV coupes with more than five seats, and Cupra is no exception. Unlike Tesla’s Model Y, the Tavascan won’t be available as a seven-seater. Focused mainly on Europe, it won’t need to have a three-row seating option as such. Technically, we know it’s possible to build a seven-seater on this EV’s platform, as evidenced in the VW ID.6 that is exclusive to China. There’s Alcantara in the middle and side supports integrated directly into the base of the seat. A dual-zone climate control system would be available in the Tavascan.
The Tavascan has some similarities with the Born in this aspect. Features like the multi-function steering with touch-control buttons and the compact digital instrument cluster look to have come from the compact hatchback’s parts bin. Changes from the Tavascan concept include a non-illuminated Cupra logo on the steering and vertical slats on the air vents. The steering is flat-bottomed, and there’s a small, fully digital instrument cluster (probably 5.3 inches), unlike the large 12 inch-unit seen in the concept.
The Tavascan likely features an e-boost button on the right side of the steering like the Born. Pressing this button and engaging the e-boost mode would give more power (probably an extra 20 kW) temporarily, allowing quicker acceleration. We doubt it would change the top speed, though, which could be 112 mph.
The floating center console is more practical with two cup holders and storage space underneath. The near-production version also gets pillar-mounted tweeters, while the seats appear to be covered in suede or a type of premium fabric. Moreover, it has air vents under the central touchscreen, another functional element that the concept did not feature. The Tavascan has tweeters on the A-pillars, as seen in the Born. It could have a sound system better than the hatchback, which is available with a BeatsAudio sound system featuring 9 speakers, a subwoofer, and a 395-watt amplifier.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The 2024 Cupra Tavascan also has a massive central touchscreen that’s tilted towards the driver. It could be about 3 inches bigger than the 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system of the Born. The infotainment system should feature wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto compatibility, 3D navigation, a voice assistant that responds to the wake-up words “Hola, Hola,” Cupra Connect, and more.
There’s excellent harmony between the interior and exterior designs—the cabin exudes sportiness with a modern twist and multi-layer structure. Unlike most modern SUVs, the cabin isn’t minimalist by any means. It appears busy with plenty of attention paid to the finer details.
The Cupra Tavascan will likely ride on an updated version of the MEB platform, a step up from the underpinnings of the VW ID.5 and Skoda Enyaq Coupe iV. The MEB platform is Volkswagen Group’s first platform developed exclusively for mass-produced electric vehicles. It takes full advantage of the possibilities a pure electric drive offers, providing the vehicles with a generously-sized interior, powerful driving performance, and long ranges.
Battery, Charging and Range
The production Cupra Tavascan may come with three battery options, a 52 kWh unit consisting of eight cell modules, a 58 kWh unit consisting of nine cell modules, and a 77 kWh unit containing twelve cell modules. If not three, there could be at least two battery pack options, one targeted at customers who drive mainly in the city and are on a budget and one for customers who make frequent highway trips and can afford to pay a premium price.
From the existing Volkswagen Group SUV models, we know that the above-mentioned three battery packs currently have the potential to deliver a WLTP range of up to 346 km/215 miles (VW ID.4), 390 km/242 miles (Skoda Enyaq iV), and 544 km/338 miles (VW ID.5), respectively. Similar SUV coupe models can deliver a marginally higher range because of the better aerodynamics (due to a lower air drag coefficient).
Motor and Performance
Powertrain choices could include various single-motor and dual-motor options. The single motors could offer 109-150 kW of power and 220-310 Nm of torque. The dual motors could generate 195-225 kW of combined power and 460 Nm of combined torque.
|Cupra Tavascan Aspect||Expected Specification|
|Battery Pack Capacity||Up to 77 kWh|
|Charging time||5 to 80% SoC in around 30 minutes|
|Motor Power||Up to 220 kW (295 hp)|
|Motor Torque||Up to 460 Nm|
|Driving Range (WLTP)||Up to approximately 540 km (336 miles)|
|Boot Space||Approx. 1,550 liters|
By default, the Cupra Tavascan could be sportier than the ID.5 and the Enyaq Coupe iV. Being a Cupra, it would have to distinguish itself as a performance car. Expect different suspension tuning and more responsive steering to be among the changes. “We adapt the chassis and suspension and add different brakes and steering,” Wayne Griffiths said while discussing with Autocar how Cupra would make the Volkswagen sister models sporty. Griffiths is the CEO of Seat and Cupra. Driver engagement would be an essential part of the product mix at Cupra.
Further down the road, Cupra could introduce a high-performance variant of the Tavascan, drawing tech from the Cupra e-Racer and Cupra Extreme E Concept. When Autocar asked Griffiths about the future high-performance EVs, he said that Cupra has a link with motorsport. With this connection, it’s possible that the “spice” for high-performance EVs “could come from that.”
The Tavascan Concept debuted in September 2019 and received the green signal for production in early 2021. During the Seat Annual Press Conference 2021 (in March 2021), Griffiths announced that the company plans to launch a Cupra Tavascan SUV as its second EV in 2024.
Cupra will sell the Tavascan in the same way as the Born. Customers will configure and order the vehicle directly from Cupra, and the dealer will only handle the delivery. Additionally, expect a subscription option, under which customers will be able to use the Tavascan and related services for a fixed period with a monthly fee.
Cupra Tavascan Price & Competitors
The Cupra Tavascan is expected to be priced starting north of EUR 40,000. Well specified units should be priced well over EUR 50,000.
|Aspect||Enyaq iV Coupe||ID.5||Mustang Mach-E||Model Y|
|Power||Up to 220 kW||Up to 220 kW||Up to 358 kW||Up to 413 kW|
|Battery Pack||Up to 77 kWh||Up to 77 kWh||Up to 91 kWh||75 kWh|
|Range (WLTP)||Up to 545 km (339 miles) – Provisional Value||Up to 544 km/338 miles||Up to 610 km/379 miles||Up to 533 km/331 miles|
|Wheelbase||2,764 mm/2,765 mm||2,766 mm||2,984 mm||2,890 mm|
|Boot Space||1,610 litres||1,561 liters||1,420 liters||2,158 liters|
On December 6, 2022, Volkswagen confirmed to Bloomberg that it will be manufacturing the all-electric SUV Coupe at the Anting facility in China, which was formed as the result of a joint venture between the SAIC Motor Corp and Volkswagen Group. From here, it will be exported to select markets across the globe, including Europe.
Since VW’s production plants in Emden and Zwickau are already running at full capacity, the next best place for the Cupra Tavascan was Anting. Located in Shanghai, this facility has produced several of the VW Group’s newer MEB vehicles. These include the VW ID.3 for the domestic market, as well as the ID.4 X and ID.6 X that have been rolling out of the same facility
Cupra Tavascan FAQs
What is the Cupra Tavascan release date?
Cupra will launch the Tavascan in the first half of 2024, positioning it above the Born.
Which models will be Cupra Tavascan rivals?
With its streamlined body, the Cupra Tavascan will compete with Volkswagen’s ID.5 and Skoda’s Enyaq Coupe iV.
What is the expected Cupra Tavascan price?
The Tavascan is expected to be priced starting north of EUR 40,000.
Featured Image Source: Volkswagen Group