Cupra Tavascan flagship electric SUV on hold

Boss of SEAT's performance spin-off reveals electric halo SUV is on hold as brand focuses on other models

The Cupra Tavascan flagship SUV is on hold, as the brand shifts its focus to the newly revealed el-Born electric hatch, plus plug-in hybrid models like its hot-take on the latest SEAT Leon.

The Tavascan was first revealed in concept car form at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show; driven by a pair of electric motors – one on each axle – the 302bhp Tavascan was capable of 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds.

However, speaking from the launch of the new Cupra el-Born electric hot hatchback, Cupra CEO Wayne Griffiths told us: “The Tavascan is still a project we are working on, I think it’s a car we really need particularly for the Cupra brand – and the concept got excellent reception.

“But we still haven't made a final decision on development or manufacturing on the car. I am pushing for it,” he said.

The concept version of the Tavascan featured the same 77kWh usable battery capacity as the el-Born, but due to its supposed higher weight and raised body, official range was slated at 280 miles – 30 miles less than the hatchback.

“With all the other things we have on our plate, we have enough on at the moment, launching the Cupra brand and plug-in hybrid versions,” Griffiths said. “Our product range has gone from zero to six, seven, eight cars very fast.”

The concept car was designed to preview the possibility of a fully-electric coupe-SUV for Cupra. At the time of its reveal back in 2019 the brand says this sector has the potential to grow by 15% per year.

Cupra Tavascan design

Cupra’s Tavascan concept is built on Volkswagen Group’s MEB electric-vehicle platform, which underpins everything from the Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback to the new el-Born hatchback. It’ll also form the basis of the Skoda Enyaq, which will be offered in both coupe and SUV forms when it goes on sale in 2021.

Despite the Tavascan's performance intentions, Cupra said the SUV would offer “comfort for all occupants". The concept car’s interior combined structural carbon and "dynamic approaches to technology" to provide a balance between performance and practicality.

Cupra says the front end features vents to help boost range, while a diffuser at the rear also helps with aerodynamics. Meanwhile, the roofline of the vehicle provides what Cupra describes as “the presence of an SUV and the sleekness of a sports coupe.”

Inside, diffused LED ambient lighting greets occupants as they open the doors; the cabin is covered in contrasting leather, carbon and Alcantara trims.

In addition, the Tavascan concept featured sculptural 3D leather bucket seats, as well as a wing-shaped dashboard that 'floats' across the front of the interior. Behind the steering wheel, there's a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, supplemented by a 13-inch infotainment display and full smartphone connectivity.

According to Cupra, the larger screen can shift its focus, moving towards the passenger when needed. Speakers are also integrated into each of the bucket seats.

The Tavascan takes its name from a village in the Pyrenees mountains on the border between Spain and France, which Cupra says is "unique due to its stunning landscape and surrounding nature".