Skoda Elroq review: we drive the electric crossover that thinks it's a junior Enyaq | CAR Magazine

Skoda Elroq review: we drive the electric crossover that thinks it's a junior Enyaq

Published: 01 July 2024 Updated: 01 July 2024
Skoda Elroq prototype review: a baby Enyaq!
  • At a glance
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 3 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5

By John Howell

Experienced road tester and part-time farmer.

By John Howell

Experienced road tester and part-time farmer.

► Skoda Elroq prototype review
► We test the new junior e-SUV
► Here in late 2024: target Scenic

What starts off tiny, swells enormously but, after a while, shrinks back down in size again? Oh, hang on, what? No, no, no, you filthy lot. Not that. We’re talking electric cars.

Remember the G-Whiz? That was tiny and also cheap. Then EVs started growing and growing until, eventually, we ended up with bucket-list behemoths like the Tesla Cybertruck and Mercedes EQS. Which is fine for celebs and oligarchs, but what about us normal folk? Well, happy days are on the way. EVs are on the wane – not just in size but also in price.

Take the forthcoming Skoda Elroq as an example. You can think of it as a cut-down Enyaq or an electric Karoq – the choice is yours. But when the camo wrapper comes off and it goes on sale at the end of 2024, it’ll be Skoda’s smallest and cheapest electric SUV yet. And a bang-on rival for the Ford Explorer and Renault Scenic.

Being a cut-down, cut-price Enyaq shouldn’t be a problem, either. Remember, the Enyaq features on our Best Electric Cars list, so surely the Elorq’s going to be a contender, too?

At a glance

Pros: Supple ride; decent claimed range, tidy handling, competitive practicality, solid potential range
Cons: Not as agile as an Explorer, smaller boot and less rear legroom than a Scenic, too many details still TBC

Skoda Elroq goes on UK sale in November 2024

What’s new?

The name and the styling. Yes, we know you can’t see the latter, but we spoke with Oliver Stefani, Head of Škoda Design, and he told us this marks the introduction of Skoda’s new design theme. It’s called ‘Modern Solid’. When we asked what that meant, exactly, he said some words. Words that included functional, minimalist and clean. And also ‘exudes authenticity and robustness’. God bless designer speak. No, we were none the wiser, either.

Then he said the Elroq features something called a Tech-Deck Face. This encompasses a gloss black panel instead of an open front grille, behind which lurks all the sensors – cameras, radar, and the like.

Around the Tech-Deck Face is LED lighting on split levels. The upper level is the indicators and DRLs, with a light bar running between them. Below are the headlights, which will be Matrix units on higher-spec trims. And there’s no Skoda badge on the Elroq’s nose. Instead ‘Skoda’ is spelt in full on the bonnet, Land Rover style.

Skoda Elroq: side profile

At the rear are the familiar C-shaped taillights. These are also LEDs and, on top-spec versions, provide sweeping indicators and fancy welcome animations.

What are the specs?

We don’t know everything yet, but one thing we do know is how much smaller the Elroq is compared with the Enyaq. 160mm shorter, but the wheelbase is basically the same. The reduction in length is due to the shorter overhangs of the Elroq’s familiar MEB platform. Did you know that the Explorer uses this platform, too? It’s true, it does. And it has very similar dimensions to the Elroq – the Skoda’s just 28mm longer, for example.

The Elroq range will be made up of the 50 (167bhp), 60 (201bhp), 85 (281bhp) and 85x (295bhp). All except the 85x have a single synchronous permanent magnet motor energising the rear wheels through a one-speed auto transmission. The 85x has twin motors and all-wheel drive. No word on the motor torque outputs, yet.

We don’t know the acceleration figures, either, but with the Elroq being around 150kg lighter than the Enyaq, it’s a reasonable guess that the 50 will hit 62mph from a standstill in around 8.5 seconds. The 60 will likely lop half a second of that, and having driven the 85, we’d say that’s doing the 0-62mph dash in around 6.5 seconds.

The 85x could drop just below the six-second mark, but it’s unlikely to be as quick as the quickest Explorer. That has 335bhp and does 0-62mph in 5.3 seconds. Top speeds for the Elroq are confirmed at 100mph for the 50 and 60, while the 85 and 85x peak at 112mph.

Range and charging specs?

Like most VW Group EVs, the battery sizes equate roughly to the model name. So the 50 has a usable 55kWh, the 60 59kWh, and 77kWh for the 85 and 85x.

We’re told that 85 and 85x will do at least 348 miles on a single charge and recharge at 175kW. The indicated range for the 50 is 230 miles and 248 miles for the 60. Expect a charging speed of around 130kW for those two.

We tested disguised Skoda Elroq

Despite any difference in charging speeds, the varying battery sizes mean that all Elroqs will fast charge from 10 to 80 per cent in about 25 minutes.

How does it drive?

If you want to know how the Elroq drives in town, we’ve got that nailed. The 9.3-metre turning circle and light steering make it feel very nimble indeed. It has a softer ride than the Explorer, so it’s less abrupt over scrappy surfaces or speed bumps, but with more vertical extension at times.

It’s pretty good over cobbles, too. We know that because there are lots of cobbled streets in the centre of Amsterdam. Sadly, that’s where most of our drive was, with precious little time given to driving it on more flowing roads.

Skoda Elroq: front three quarters

Therefore, if you want to know what the Elroq’s like on an A-road with sweeping corners the answer involves a degree of supposition. There was one road with a couple of corners and a speed limit above 50kph. That gave us the inkling that Skoda’s set the Elroq up to feel pretty similar to the Enyaq.

That’s fine. For start, it’s very quite at speed, with hardly any motor whine, road or wind noise. It also means a bit more body lean than, say, the tauter Explorer, and arguably the nose is marginally less keen to snuff out an apex. It flows along quite nicely, though.

A big part of that is the steering. It’s calmer than the Scenic’s slightly nervy set-up; you don’t have to recalibrate your brain to feel quickly at home in the Elroq. There’s less road sensation through the Skoda’s wheel rim, but it’s accurate, weights up predictably, and feels more intuitive from the off.

Not so the brakes, mind. We tried these in two settings: ‘B’, which is the maximum (but not-quite-one-pedal) regenerative setting, and the auto setting. The latter varies the regen if, for example, you’re heading towards a junction or the car in front brakes. And in both settings, there’s inconsistency that can be off-putting. It’s something the Ford’s engineers have managed to dial out of the Explorer’s brakes. Hopefully, the Skoda team can learn from them and apply a few changes before the Elroq goes into production.

What about the interior?

The cars we drove weren’t disguised inside, but Skoda was dead touchy about photographs of the dashboard or the infotainment screen leaking out. Which is odd, because if you’re keen to know what it looks like inside simply Google ‘Enyaq brochure’. It’s near as damn it the same.

That said, these pre-prod cars weren’t the finished article in terms of material quality. Still, looking again to its bigger brother for guidance, expect to see soft-touch surfaces on the top of the dashboard and doors. And we were told that the trim levels and suite options will be similar, making it highly likely you’ll find a nice mix contrasting textures throughout.

Skoda Elroq front three quarters

In left-hand drive, the driving position was great. There are the usual and plentiful adjustments for the steering wheel and driver’s seat, which felt very supportive while tootling around the ‘Dam. Through the often-narrow streets, all-round visibility wasn’t an issue, either.

There’ll be the option of a head-up display, but all versions get a 5.0in driver’s display ahead of the driver and a 13.0in infotainment screen sited centrally on the dashboard. The infotainment software wasn’t signed off, so we can’t tell you much about that – other than it appeared to be similar to the latest software seen in other Skodas.

Space is good. Sure, legroom in the rear isn’t as generous as it is in the Scenic, but it’s very similar to the Explorer. You’ll have no problem fitting four tall adults when required, with all treated to plenty of headroom. Those in the rear seats also have loads of space for their feet under the front seats. There are 48 litres of cabin storage front and rear, too, plus a 15-watt wireless charging pad and several 45-watt USB-C ports.

The 470-litre boot matches the Explorer, but that’s somewhat shy of the Scenic’s 545-litre trunk. The boot floor is height adjustable and there’s just enough underfloor storage for the charging cables. Meanwhile, the rear seats fold 60/40 with a ski hatch for extra flexibility.

Before you buy (trims and rivals)

Wheel sizes range from 19in to 21in, and Skoda told us that the only thing missing from the Elroq’s kit list (that’s available on the Enyaq) is a panoramic sunroof.

The array of safety assist systems has been sharpened up for the Elroq, which should make them more effective and less intrusive. And talking of technology, a new feature is the Tesla-style remote parking app.

It works through the My Skoda smartphone app, letting you remote park the Elroq from up to four metres away. You can save your five most common parking manoeuvres, and each one can be up to 50-metres long. Just remember to choose the right one, especially if your driveway is next to any sheer drops.

No matter how hard we pressed, there was no breaking the pricing embargo. It’ll be cheaper than the Enyaq, though, and Skoda usually undercuts most rivals. That leads us to gauge the starting price at around £35,000 for the 50, with the 85x topping things off in the region of £45,000.

Verdict

Obviously, this verdict is an open one at this stage, but the preliminary assessment is that the Elroq will be a genuine contender if Skoda gets the pricing right. It certainly drives the way you’d expect a Skoda SUV to drive, which is effortlessly and comfortably.

The battery range isn’t quite as good as the best you can get out of a Scenic, and it’s not quite as practical, either. That said, on both those counts the Elroq’s still looking competitive.

If you’re after something similar but more engaging to drive, the Explorer’s handling is a tad more alert. It’s available with more oomph, too, but the Elroq’s likely to undercut it on price.

Specs

Price when new: £40,000
On sale in the UK: November 2024
Engine: 77kWh battery (usable), single e-motors, 201bhp, TBC lb ft
Transmission: Single-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Performance: 6.5 sec 0-62mph (est.), 112mph TBC mpg, TBC g/km of CO2
Weight / material: 2000kg (est.)/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4488/2148/1625mm

Photo Gallery

  • Skoda Elroq prototype review: a baby Enyaq!
  • Skoda Elroq: front three quarters
  • Skoda Elroq: side profile
  • We tested disguised Skoda Elroq
  • Skoda Elroq: target Renault Scenic E-Tech or Ford Explorer
  • Skoda Elroq front three quarters
  • Skoda Elroq goes on UK sale in November 2024
  • Skoda Elroq rear three quarters
  • Skoda Elroq expected to cost around £40,000 in UK in this spec

By John Howell

Experienced road tester and part-time farmer.

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