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In-depth reviews

Cupra Tavascan review – a stand-out EV, but not that fast

“The Cupra Tavascan may not be an outright performance SUV, but it’s more interesting than many rivals”

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Pros

  • Balanced ride quality
  • Quiet and easy to live with
  • Unique design inside and out

Cons

  • Performance is lacking
  • User-unfriendly touch-sensitive slider
  • Set to be expensive

Verdict – is the Cupra Tavascan a good car?

The Cupra Tavascan is a welcome step forward for the brand, despite being just its second full EV. While it uses family underpinnings shared with other EVs from the Volkswagen Group, its design feels unique, whether you love or hate it. It’s not especially quick to drive, but it has nicely weighted controls and a good balance of driving feel and comfort. Its interior is well built and high quality, but we dislike its the touch-sensitive slider controls and the Tavascan is expected to be expensive.

Cupra Tavascan models, specs and alternatives

Cupra has already made its mark as a distinct brand under the Volkswagen Group since its launch in 2019, and the Tavascan is the next major step in its strategy. It’s the brand’s second all-electric model, but unlike the Cupra Born, this time it’s a high-riding coupe-SUV.

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Rather than merely being a rebadged version of the Volkswagen ID.5 or Skoda Enyaq Coupe, the Cupra Tavascan has its own unique feel. Its styling is unmistakably Cupra, with the brand’s latest aggressive shark-nosed design language. Despite being an upright SUV, it also sits low for a sporty stance.

There will be two versions of the Tavascan in the lineup: a single-motor variant simply named ‘Tavascan’ with 286bhp and a top-spec dual-motor version with 335bhp, badged ‘Tavascan VZ’. Rather than the Volkswagen Group’s latest 79kWh battery unit, the Tavascan gets the same 77kWh currently offered in higher-spec Volkswagen ID.4 models, the Volkswagen ID.5 and Skoda Enyaq and Enyaq Coupe, giving the Tavascan a respectable range of up to 321 miles to a charge in dual-motor form, while the single-motor version can manage up to 339.

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One major sticking point is the Cupra Tavascan’s price – while official pricing is yet to be confirmed, it’s expected to start from around £55,000 for the top-spec Tavascan VZ when it launches, while the cheaper single-motor version will launch later. Many might be put off spending so much for a car from a brand that – despite having quickly made a name for itself since it arrived five years ago – is yet to exert as much badge prestige as others.
 

Trim levels

Power options

  • Tavascan
  • Tavascan VZ
  • Single-motor (286bhp)
  • Dual-motor (335bhp)

Range, charging & running costs

“The Cupra Tavascan has a reasonable electric range, and this doesn’t drop significantly for the punchier model”

Because the Cupra Tavascan shares its underpinnings with many Volkswagen ID. cars and the Skoda Enyaq, it boasts a similar range to those cars. While these were offered with the option of two battery sizes, the Tavascan is available with just one: a 77kWh unit shared with the higher-spec versions of those cars. Unfortunately for now at least, the Cupra Tavascan will not be getting the Volkswagen Group’s latest 79kWh battery.

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Despite having the same battery, there’s a slight disparity between the two models’ ranges. That’s because the entry-level model’s single-motor lower-powered setup is less demanding on the battery, so it can achieve a slightly longer range. That said, the extra power and traction doesn’t come at too much of a compromise, and the distance you can travel on a charge is just under 20 miles shorter.

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Despite the fact that DC charging speeds aren’t class-leading at up to 135kW, actual charging speeds are competitive, so it will take just about 30 minutes to top the Tavascan up from 10 to 80% at a compatible charging station.
 

Model 

Battery size

Range

Cupra Tavascan

77kWh

339 miles

Cupra Tavascan VZ

77kWh

321 miles

What will the Cupra Tavascan cost to insure?

Insurance groups for the Cupra Tavascan are yet to be confirmed, but for reference, the Skoda Enyaq sits between groups 23 to 33, with the flagship sporty vRS in group 36 in both standard and Coupe form. All is yet to be confirmed, but we’d expect the Tavascan to sit in a similar group to this top-spec Enyaq or possibly a little higher given the Cupra’s more overtly sporty and desirable look.

Electric motor, drive & performance

“Some may find the Tavascan’s performance lacking, but it feels good to drive and is comfortable, too”

Because Cupra is now essentially the sporty, performance arm of the Volkswagen Group, it’s reasonable to expect the Tavascan to live up to this expectation with an engaging drive and fun driving dynamics. 

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In practice, the Cupra Tavascan VZ that we tested did feel punchy at lower speeds – punchier even than its not-insignificant power figure might have you believe – allowing you to squirt the throttle for some mild thrills. The problem is that this sort of trails off at higher speeds where it feels merely adequate, rather than outright fast. For quicker performance you’re still likely to be better served by the Tesla Model Y.

Where the Cupra Tavascan does have the edge, though, is in terms of its handling. The steering is nicely weighted and more responsive than other models offered by the brand. The suspension setup is well balanced, too – despite being a driver-focused car, the ride is still fairly comfortable. The occasional small, severe road imperfections can be transmitted into the cabin, but it’s less noticeable than in the Cupra Born and isn’t too bad considering our test car’s 21-inch alloy wheels.

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The Tavascan comes with a drive mode selection feature which changes its character quite noticeably. In the Performance or Cupra setting you’ll notice the ride tighten up substantially, and yet at no point did it feel like either mode made the Tavascan unbearably firm. 

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One of the Cupra Tavascan’s weaker points is braking. We found the sensation through the brake pedal to be a little rubbery in feel and the transition between mechanical and regenerative braking was slightly clunky.

Is the Cupra Tavascan good to drive in town?

Because the Cupra Tavascan’s ride quality is fairly good even on 21-inch alloys, it’s able to handle the imperfect roads that are all too common in urban environments pretty well. Its sharp steering makes it good to manoeuvre in the city and because its power feels responsive at lower speeds, it feels punchy and nimble where you need it to be. Almost all electric cars come without gears, too, so if you’re stuck in stop-start traffic it’s a simple case of pushing on and off the accelerator.

Is the Cupra Tavascan good to drive on long journeys?

Only at motorway speeds did the Cupra Tavascan feel somewhat down on power, so there are other cars better suited to cruising on long journeys, such as the Tesla Model Y. The motors are at least very refined which makes for a civilised and relaxing driving experience, however.

Is the Cupra Tavascan good to drive on B-roads?

The best place to enjoy the Cupra Tavascan is a B-road, because this is where its excellent handling really shines. While there are more powerful models out there, a B-road blast is about how the car uses the power it has, and the excellent weighting of the Tavascan’s controls means it’s well suited to this environment. The braking is the only part that can feel a little off and unnatural.

Model 

Power

0-62mph

Top speed

Cupra Tavascan

281bhp

6.8 seconds

111mph

Cupra Tavascan VZ

335bhp

5.6 seconds

111mph

    

Carbuyer notes

“At low speeds, the Tavascan’s turn of speed is very impressive, with that initial burst of torque making the car feel more potent than its 335bhp suggests.” Jordan Katsianis, Senior Staff Writer

Interior & comfort

“The Cupra Tavascan’s interior is of high quality and well built, but we don’t like some of the controls”

Whether you like it or not, the Cupra Tavascan is an unusual thing to look at, and that quirky ethos is reflected in the cabin. While many manufacturers have moved towards minimalist designs in recent years, there’s a lot to look at inside the Tavascan – most prominent is the curvy, interesting dashboard made up of multiple different materials and bronze accents in-keeping with the brand’s style – the quality of said materials is good and ranges from neoprene to suede and the whole thing feels well put-together.

Is the Cupra Tavascan’s infotainment and navigation system easy to use?

The Cupra Tavascan gets the latest infotainment system from parent company Volkswagen, consisting of a 15-inch central display that’s angled slightly towards the driver. The software feels easy to operate after you get used to it, and feels responsive and snappy.

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It’s not all perfect – some settings are hard to find in all the submenus, such as those for adjusting the interior ambient lighting, but all the most important features are easy to navigate. We’re also not a fan of the frustrating haptic touch-slider and steering wheel controls which we’ve complained about in recent years from having tried them in other Volkswagen Group cars.

Is the Cupra Tavascan well equipped?

There are just two versions of the Cupra Tavascan and the only real difference is the single or dual-motor setup and the size of the alloy wheels, so the lineup is simple. All Tavascans feel well equipped which helps contribute to an upmarket feel no matter which model you go for. The lineup is simple, but all cars get a premium Sennheiser 12-speaker sound system, large 15-inch infotainment screen, matrix LED headlights and lots of driving gadgetry features like parking assist and more.

What options should you choose on the Cupra Tavascan?

So far Cupra has yet to release a full list of options and prices for the Tavascan, but it will be available in just four colours. Fans of more exciting colour schemes and combinations might be a little disappointed, however, because all appear to be very similar low-key shades of grey or blue. There’s a choice of 19, 20 and 21-inch wheels, too, and like on the outside, the interior colours are similarly subtle.

Key features

Tavascan

  • 19-inch alloys wheels
  • Cupra driving modes
  • Dark Night microfibre-finished bucket seats
  • 15-inch infotainment system with sat nav
  • Parking and remote park assist
  • Matrix LED headlights
  • Sennheiser 12-speaker sound system
  • Semi autonomous ‘Travel Assist 2.6’ software

Tavascan VZ 

(Tavascan VZ plus…)

  • 21-inch alloy wheels

Practicality & boot space

“The Cupra Tavascan’s interior and boot space isn’t class-leading, but it’s good nonetheless”

Because it shares a platform with the Volkswagen ID.4, ID.5 and Skoda Enyaq and Enyaq Coupe, all of which have fairly generously-sized interiors, the Cupra Tavascan boasts a roomy cabin itself. There’s lots of leg and headroom in the back which is impressive given the Tavascan’s sloping roofline, so rear occupants won’t feel cramped.

Size comparison

Model 

Length

Width

Height

Cupra Tavascan

4,644mm

1,861mm

1,567mm

Skoda Enyaq Coupe

4,653mm

1,879mm

1,622mm

Volkswagen ID.5

4,599mm

1,852mm

1,616mm

Tesla Model Y

4,751mm

1,850mm

1,600mm

Does the Cupra Tavascan have a big boot?

The Cupra Tavascan has a generous 540-litre boot which should be plenty big enough for most buyers. Cupra is yet to give figures for the boot space when the rear seats are folded down, but the Volkswagen ID.5’s boot isn’t far off with 549 litres and folding down the seats in that car frees up 1,561 litres of space, so we’d imagine a similar figure for the Tavascan. It can’t quite beat the Skoda Enyaq Coupe’s 570 litres or 1,610 litres with the seats down, or the Tesla Model Y’s cavernous 854 litres which can be increased up to a whopping 2,041 litres, but should still prove useful for most.

Boot space comparison

Model 

Boot space

Cupra Tavascan

540 litres

Volkswagen ID.5

549 litres

Skoda Enyaq Coupe

570 litres

Tesla Model Y

854 litres

Reliability & safety

“Cupra doesn’t feature in our Driver Power survey, but a competitive warranty and lots of safety kit brings peace of mind”

While Cupra doesn’t feature in our Driver Power customer satisfaction surveys, its parent company SEAT does. SEAT came in 23rd place out of 32 manufacturers in the survey – while this might not sound all too impressive, it does make it one of the highest ranking brands under the Volkswagen Group, beaten only by Skoda in 20th place.

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In terms of reliability SEAT beat the figures of its sister brands, too, with just 21% of owners reporting an issue with their car in the first year compared to 23% of Audi owners and 26% of Volkswagen and Skoda owners. Unfortunately there’s not yet data unique to the Cupra Tavascan as it’s so new, and the closely-related Skoda Enyaq and Volkswagen ID. cars have yet to feature on the list of the top 75 models.
 

How safe is the Cupra Tavascan?

The Cupra Tavascan is yet to be tested by Euro NCAP but it’s expected to get the full five-star rating. Lots of safety kit has been included on the model, such as lane-keep assist and traffic sign recognition. There’s also adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and autonomous emergency braking to help avoid an accident in the first place. The closely-related Volkswagen ID.5 and Skoda Enyaq both received the five-star rating.
 

What are the Cupra Tavascan service intervals?

Cupra recommends servicing its EVs every two years. The brand offers payment plans allowing you to spread the cost of each service over 24 months to make it more digestible. During the service Cupra will inspect your Tavascan for any issues, change the brake fluid and replace the pollen filter.

What is the warranty on the Cupra Tavascan?

The Cupra Tavascan has a warranty that’s better than the industry standard. Every new Cupra is covered for up to five years or 90,000 miles. The Tavascan’s battery is also covered should the capacity drop below 70% within eight years or 100,000 miles.

Should you buy a Cupra Tavascan?

As Cupra’s second full EV, the Tavascan definitely feels like a step forward and has arguably more character than the somewhat clinical Volkswagen ID. cars and the Skoda Enyaq Coupe. The styling might not be for everyone, but there’s no denying that the Cupra Tavascan stands out in a market full of minimalist designs.

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The Cupra Tavascan may not be the most powerful EV, which might put off some real performance aficionados, but it’s actually more enjoyable at lower speeds where it feels punchy, and the handling is good without significantly sacrificing on ride quality.

The Tavascan’s interior is well equipped and feels well built out of quality materials throughout, and the cabin is as quirkily designed as the exterior. It’s slightly let down by those irritating touch-sensitive slider controls that have plagued some of the Volkswagen Group’s cars in recent years, however.

Pricing will be a major factor in the Cupra Tavascan’s success, but we don’t expect it to be the most affordable car to buy. Hopefully the brand will offer the Tavascan on some enticing finance deals.

 What is the best Cupra Tavascan for low running costs?

If you’re less bothered about outright performance but like the Tavascan’s looks and practicality, then you’d likely be better off with the entry-level single-motor model (simply badged ‘Tavascan’) over the dual-motor Tavascan VZ, because it boasts a longer range of up to 339 miles to a charge, making it a little more usable day-to-day.
 

Cupra Tavascan alternatives

The Cupra Tavascan’s main rivals are its own sister models from Volkswagen and Skoda, but there are many other rivals on the market, including the Tesla Model Y which is now somewhat of a household name, and coupe SUVs from other premium marques.

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Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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