► Claimed range up to 333 miles, 250+ in the real world
► Comfortable, effortless, serene progress much of the time
► On sale now, deliveries in June, hot vRS model to follow
Skoda’s new Enyaq mid-sized electric SUV promises to be all things to all people. And this is a big deal for Skoda, with dealers already reporting significant demand from Superb and Kodiaq owners looking to go electric for the first time. Be in no doubt, this is possibly the most important car in the Czech brand’s history since it became part of the VW Group – not only does it define Skoda’s future EV strategy, but it makes a huge statement of intent about where it sits in the overall Volkswagen hierarchy.
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Skoda’s most recent products have felt pretty much on a level pegging with Volkswagen – you can’t even slide a cigarette paper between the Octavia and the Golf these days – and, if anything, the Enyaq iV looks more impressive than its platform-sharing cousin, the VW ID.4. Whereas the German car sports an industrial design, with a minimalist interior, Skoda’s effort is more welcoming inside and effortlessly conservatively on the outside.
What’s it like to drive?
What’s impressive is how polished the Enyaq iV feels. We concluded after our prototype drive back in 2019 that it feels like it could easily have been the firm’s second generation of bespoke electric car, not its first (discounting the Citigo). That early impression was on the money, only more so with the final development completed.
We’ve driven the Enyaq iV in every version bar the upcoming vRS model, including entry-level 60 form as well as the longer-range 80 EcoSuite form and all-wheel drive 80x SportLine.
Firstly, there’s the way it accelerates. Those familiar electric car hallmarks are present and correct in the Enyaq: linear acceleration, variable degrees of brake energy recuperation and hushed progress. All three versions don’t feel that different from eachother in terms of how they accelerate, however. Compared with, say, a Tesla Model 3, performance in both is ho-hum, with a 0-62mph time of 8.4 seconds for the 60, 8.2 for the 80 and 7.0 for the 80x. Maximum speed is 99mph for all three, too – so expect to be left standing on the autobahn (for now). However, the delivery of those numbers is first rate, with the emphasis on relaxed, effortless progress, and solid mid-range punch.
Around town it’s serene, and on the motorway it’s hushed and poised with low levels of noise from the drivetrain in general. Never does it feel underpowered, even in 60 form, but equally it rarely knocks your socks off.
What about ride and handling?
One particular aspect of this is the Enyaq iV’s forte. Although it’s not going to surprise you when we say that the Enyaq iV rides very well, the sheer depth of its comfort shocked us. It’s not often that a car’s ride quality can impress with its pliancy within the first 100 metres, but that was the case here – it crushes speed humps and shrugs off ridges in a way that no car with 19-inch wheels has any right to. If you fit optional 21s, you’ll notice an increase in harshness over some surface irregularities, but overall, it’s still a very comfortable car.
Build up speed and that impression does not change at all – we took it over some very challenging Highland roads, and the suspension was never caught out, with brilliant damping control. Cornering is also better than you might expect, with limited bodyroll and incisive steering that allows you to really get it into the apex. Still, you’re always aware of its sheer weight so you tend to flow it through corners, rather than flicking it in.
With the adaptive dampers set in Comfort mode, body control is kept in check over rougher surfaces. In short, it’s safe and accurate in bends, and feels on top of its game. The steering wheel paddles moderate the driveline’s energy recuperation – flick the left-hand switch to increase drag, which equates to shifting down on an ICE-engined car. Even on its maximum setting it doesn’t slow with the conviction of a Tesla Model 3, so you’ll rarely find yourself one-pedal driving.
Steering is fluid and well-weighted. There’s a little laziness in the turn-in, but once you’re dialled in, you give it no further thought. There’s pay-off in the city, because the turning circle is almost black-cab tight – as you’d expect in a car driven by its rear wheels. Braking is excellent – not a given on an EV – with a solid pedal and firm stopping.
What’s it like inside?
Your first impressions are that this is a welcoming, luxurious and tastefully-finished interior. The EcoSuite model is leather-lined, soft-touch and packed with equipment, whereas the Sportline is finished in an appealing combination of black leather and alcantara. Skoda regulars will relate to the controls and user interface for the infotainment set-up. There are very few physical buttons, with most of the car’s functions operated through an enormous 13.0-inch touchscreen infotainment display, but compared with the ID.4 it feels traditional and easily mastered on the move.
There’s also a small yet clear digital instrument display and Skoda’s virtual assistant, Laura, not to mention wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There’s also smartphone app connectivity that allows you to control a number of the car’s key items from the comfort of your own home, such as when to charge or the preconditioning the climate control. A very slick new head-up display package is available – we’ve tested it and it works a treat, projecting sat-nav instructions and adaptive cruise control onscreen in a natural way.
Otherwise, it’s conventional inside and very practical. The driving position is spot on and the visibility is good, although the A-pillars are bulky and cause issues at angled junctions. The back seats are very spacious, with as much leg- and headroom as a Kodiaq, while the boot has a capacity of 585 litres with the rear bench in place. In short, it’s an easy five-seater, and capable of swallowing their luggage easily.
Range and charging
It will depend on which Enyaq you choose and how you’re charging it, but assuming you have the space and facilities for a domestic wallbox installation, eight to 10 hours will be sufficient to get you from flat to full overnight. Plan ahead to ensure your longer jaunts include faster 125kW chargers en-route and you can top back up to 80% capacity in 38 minutes.
There are three models available at first but expect the range to expand rapidly.
- Enyaq 60: 177bhp, 62kWh battery (58kWh usable capacity), 242-mile range
- Enyaq 80: 201bhp, 82kWh battery (77kWh usable capacity), 333-mile range
- Enyaq 80X: 261bhp, 82kWh battery (77kWh usable capacity), 285-mile range
The 80 is the current pick, with a nice balance of performance and battery range, but that does come at a heft premium. The following models will join the range later – spanning the 55kWh entry-level model and the performance-focused vRS model.
- Enyaq 50: 146bhp, 55kWh battery (52kWh usable capacity), 211-mile range
- Enyaq vRS: 302bhp, 82kWh battery (77kWh usable capacity), 285-mile range
What else is there to know about the Enyaq iV?
The Enyaq iVs a generously-proportioned crossover that in time will span a variety of battery sizes and motor outputs. As an SUV, it’s hit the ground running – seemingly at the intersection of two dominant market trends: the rise of the electric car and the public’s insatiable appetite for SUVs, crossovers and jacked-up soft-roaders.
It’s based on the Volkswagen Group’s MEB modular electric architecture and is the largest iteration of MEB yet, as befits a brand known for its space. At 4684mm long, 1618mm high and 1877mm wide, the Enyaq’s size and shape makes it look like a half-way house between an Octavia Estate and a Kodiaq, with styling that equally somewhere between the two. It looks conservatively handsome in the metal, which is pitched perfectly for its buyers.
Its handsome-if-safe styling only has one contentious point: the grille, blanked-off to give buyers a visual link with the internal combustion-engined Skoda they’re considering trading out of. While entry-level models are set to have a matt black infill and mid-rangers a glossy one, the flagships get LED-lit vertical bars, bisected by a horizontal one that marries-up to the day-running lights (DRLs).
It’s on sale now, with deliveries now underway. The model range starts with the Loft and Lodge models, followed Lounge, Suite and EcoSuite – all are available in 60 and 80 forms. We’ll see the vRS added to the range once the twin-motor models come on stream later in 2021.
It’s easy to head into an elevated price point as the options list is vast. If you fancy something a bit more daring, an Enyaq Coupe – think along the lines of an Audi Q3 Sportback – will follow soon.
Verdict: Skoda Enyaq
As an electric SUV, it’s hard not to be impressed with its all-round competence, with all the comfort, space and long-distance cruising ability most people would ever need from a family car of this type. It’s more appealing than the Volkswagen ID.4 and looks classier than the Kia e-Niro, and in that alone, it’s now the best EV of its type and price. However, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 are looming large, and add some much-needed design flair into the mix.
The Enyaq’s sub-£35,000 starting price seems fair for the iV 60 model and bodes well for the upcoming lower-powered models. It’s comfortable, well-sorted, and does a great job of appealing to as many drivers as possible. Another positive point is that the anticipated range display is unerringly accurate, which is good news for those thinking of using it as a company car. It also looks good on the road, well-finished with tight panels gaps and plenty of road presence.
In conclusion, it’s friendlier and more luxurious than a Kia e-Niro and looks better inside and out than a Volkswagen ID.4 – which is very, very good for the Skoda Enyaq iV, and worrying for Volkswagen.
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