First Drive: CUPRA take us through Catalonia in their new electric SUV, The Tavascan

Since 2018, CUPRA has developed a reputation as one of Europe’s fastest-growing car brands. Originating from Spanish manufacturer SEAT’s motorsport division, Cupra Racing, the move for the brand to launch in its now standalone form has led to growing popularity in a number of markets, including Australia.

CUPRA’s line of vehicles brings the performance dynamics of their motorsport origins, together with a modern vision for design, style, and sustainability thanks to their recent ventures into the e-vehicle space. Hence, the critical importance of a brand like this making the kind of moves they’ve been making over the past few years.

As CUPRA’s scope continues to broaden, the brand’s next move in its expansion of electric vehicles is the reveal of the CUPRA Tavascan – their second battery electric vehicle, and CUPRA’s first all-electric SUV Coupe. Following in the footsteps of the CUPRA Born, the brand’s first 100% electric vehicle, the Tavascan is a fusion of cutting edge design, powerful dynamics and signature flair.

While it is not currently on the Australian market (though expected to arrive by 2025), CUPRA’s new kid on the block is already causing waves of momentum across Spain. So, what better way to get a sneak peek of the car; as well as a behind the scenes look at how it all comes together, than by heading to the source?

Extending the invite, CUPRA Australia offered us an opportunity to explore the Tavascan and CUPRA on its hometurf – who could say no?

Arriving in Barcelona, the warmth wraps around us echoes the value of Spanish summer. This really is the best time to be in the country. The first CUPRA we experience is the one waiting for us at the airport, the CUPRA Born. An insanely comfortable car; it’s no wonder the Born has become a popular seller within the CUPRA fold.

Transported deep into the heart of the city, we’re given insights into the history of Barcelona; how the architecture of different centuries has woven together with the modern era in creating an identity all its own. In a way, this mentality has worked its way into CUPRA’s development of automotive artistry.

Under the Head of Design, Jorge Diez, CUPRA has a language all its own; a mix of stylish provocation, strength and a colour palette that is now signature to the brand: coppers, gunmetal steel mattes, deep greens and a shade of blue that is instantly attention-grabbing.

The following morning, we are given a CUPRA Tavascan for the day to make our way to CUPRA HQ, located in Martorell. Though travel time, on average, should only take 30 – 40 minutes, our car is kitted out with pre-planned routes so we can experience the Tavascan properly, while also seeing the beauty that is Catalonia.

The scenic route couldn’t have justified its reputation better.

Let’s get into two instant pulls of the Tavascan: the design and the sound.

The interior of the car is striking, the design giving off an exo-skeletal feel, making it feel like you’re in a car of the future. For audiophiles, the sound system is one of the Tavascan’s big drawcards. With an immersive driving experience in mind, CUPRA teamed up with Sennheiser in creating a state-of-the-art, 15” infotainment system that is completely customisable.

The high-fidelity speaker system champions Sennheiser’s always consistent flair when it comes to pushing boundaries in the audio field – their latest software innovations are on full flex with the Tavascan.

Upon its launch, Veronique Larcher, Director of Sennheiser Mobility, commented, “Our approach is disruptive, rebellious, and unconventional, which is reflected in the unique sound experience we’ve created for the CUPRA Tavascan.”

And she’s not wrong. The user can completely orchestrate the way sound is distributed through the car, thanks to Sennheiser’s AMBEO Concerto software. The state-of-the-art software can distill components of music, reconfiguring them to achieve the optimal listening and immersion experience.

As part of our time at CUPRA HQ, we participated in a sound workshop with Sennheiser engineers, pulling the curtain back further in finding out how sound and by extension, the experience of listening to music, has become key to CUPRA’s DNA.

Also as part of the visit to CUPRA HQ, we’re given a breakdown of the Tavascan and Born; as well as an overview of the CUPRA vision, by key members of the brand including Global Head of Communications, Cecelia Taieb, and Jordi Gené – CUPRA WTC Championship driver and car expert for the brand.

It’s impossible not to pick up on the intense family vibe and passion that drives (pun intended) each CUPRA concept and rollout.


It’s this passion that CUPRA proudly stands by and injects into each one of their concepts – Tavascan being the latest to fly this flag.

Towards the end of our time in Martorell, we’re given the keys to the Born VZ – the new version of the original we mentioned earlier. “VZ”, simply meaning “fast”, is sporty and feels more powerful than the original Born; a distinct step forward from CUPRA as they continue to marry electrification of their cars with dynamic performance.

The drive takes us through the Montserrat mountain range, doubling as a way to see more of the natural beauty of the region, as well as getting a feel for how the car handles winding mountain roads. The short answer: really well.

With alerts and additional sensitivity applied to steering and pedals, the Born VZ takes steep climbs and narrow roads with ease. The comfort levels don’t dip in this smaller vehicle either; the bucket seat design is meant to mould to the driver/passenger for ample snugness.

Partnering with the SEAQUAL INITIATIVE, CUPRA extended their sustainability angle with the Born and the Born VZ, with SEQUAL YARN incorporated into the seat makeup; a recycled polymer fabric made from plastic waste extracted from the Mediterranean Sea.

To find out more about this initiative, check out this rundown.

The cars returned safely to HQ, we jump back in the Tavascan and drive back into Barcelona, where three days and nights at Primavera Sound, the largest music festival in the Mediterranean awaits.

CUPRA, who is a major sponsor of the event, has not only an official stage (which played home to incredible artists including Beth Gibbons, Sofia Kourtesis, American Football and Jai Paul), but also the heaving Boiler Room, who saw a constant roster of top tier artists come through to deliver remarkable sets.

There is talk of the rebellious nature true to the culture in this area of the world; if you tell people from here they cannot do something, you just watch them break the rules and do it anyway. This energy is noticeably different from the drive experience, to the onground festival experience as well.

While CUPRA may still be a new name in the car market in Australia, they’re making exciting headway in just a short period of time. In less than two years of being in the Australian market, CUPRA smashed their 5,000 car milestone; also a healthy indication of how the consumers are now more than ever, looking for electric alternatives.

With the CUPRA Tavascan set to arrive in Australia sooner rather than later, Spain continues to build that bridge of innovation, style and legacy outside Europe.

For more information on the CUPRA Tavascan, visit the official website here.

Official vehicle images supplied by CUPRA.

The author visited Barcelona as a guest of CUPRA Australia.