► Claimed range up to 336 miles
► Comfortable, effortless, luxurious
► On sale now, deliveries in June
We've driven the prototype, been drip-fed the press releases, and in what feels like a particularly long and drawn-out lead-up to launch, we've finally got our hands on the Skoda Enyaq iV in production form. We're still looking at a Czech-market left-hooker, but this drive on UK soil is representative of what the first customers get when right-hand-drive UK deliveries start in June.
Be in no doubt, this is the most important car in the Czech brand's history since it became part of the VW Group, because 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.
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, Skoda's effort is warmer inside and classier 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 electric car, not its first. That early impression was on the money, only more so with the final development completed.
We drove the Enyaq iV in 80 EcoSuite form, which starts at £40,920. Ours had been optioned up to £54,085, which seems scarily high – but this includes some options that we'd gladly lose, as well as one or two we'd struggle to do without. Cutting to the chase, the Enyaq iV feels very sorted, majoring on comfort and usability.
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. Performance is ho-hum, with a 0-60mph time of 8.5 seconds and a maximum speed of 99mph, but the delivery of those numbers is first rate, with the emphasis on relaxed, effortless progress.
Around town it's serene, and on the motorway it's hushed and poised with a decent amount of punch when accelerating between 50-70mph. Never does it feel underpowered, but equally it rarely knocks your socks off.
What about ride and handling?
This is the Enyaq iV's forte. Although it's not going to surprise you when we say that the Enyaq iV rides 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 21-inch wheels has any right to. Build up speed and that impression does not change at all – we took it over some very familiar roads, and the suspension was never caught out, with brilliant damping control.
With the adaptive dampers set in Comfort mode, it's no softy. Body control is kept in check over rougher surfaces and around twisty bends, and although it doesn't feel particularly agile or laden with feedback, 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. 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, 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, six to eight 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 two 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
The 80 is the current pick, with a nice balance of performance and battery range. But four-wheel-drive versions will follow, sharing the 80's battery pack, but with an extra motor up front. 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 80X: 261bhp, 82kWh battery (77kWh usable capacity), 285-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 is going to span a variety of battery sizes and motor outputs. As an SUV, it's going to 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 far more handsome in the metal than it did in the earliest press photos, which seemed to give it an awkward, uncomfortable stance.
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 taking place in June 2021. 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. The tricked-up Founder's Edition that's bristling with all the toys – yes, including that grille – and special paint will be available first. That's coming in at £46,995. Why Founder's Edition? Well, 2020 was the 125th anniversary of Skoda being founded – appropriately, 1895 will be produced. 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
There's a lot riding on this car for Skoda, but the early signs are positive, with an order book that's already bulging. The good news is that they shouldn't be disappointed, as it's so on point.
The Enyaq's £35,000 starting price seems fair for the iV 60 model and bodes well for the upcoming entry-level models. It's comfortable, well-sorted, spacious and capable of travelling long distances between charges – our admittedly brief experience is that the anticipated range display is accurate, which is good news for those with range anxiety. It also looks good on the road, well-finished with tight panels gaps and plenty of road presence.
Given our brief experience so far, it's difficult to imagine this not being one of the most sought-after cars in 2021. It's friendlier and more luxurious than a Kia e-Niro and looks better inside and out than a Volkswagen ID.4. Until we directly compare them, it's impossible to call definitively – but it's looking very, very good for the Skoda Enyaq iV, and quite worrying for Volkswagen.
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