The Skoda Enyaq iV is a massively important car for the Czech brand.
It might not be its first EV – that honour goes to a 1930s beer truck – in fact, it’s not even its first EV this century (the Citigo iV claims that title) but it is its first electric model set to compete in the family car market - a sector that has provided much success for the likes of the Octavia, Karoq and Kodiaq.
It’s also Skoda’s first car built on a dedicated EV platform and the first car using that Volkswagen Group MEB system to be built outside Germany, so there’s a lot riding on this.
Predictably in this day and age, Skoda’s first attempt at a family EV is SUV shaped. At 4.65m long and 2.14m wide, it’s a little shorter but a little broader than the conventionally powered Kodiaq and Skoda says it will be priced similarly.
There’s a definite family resemblance between the two but the Enyaq has a distinctly sharper finish and deliberately more avant-garde style. From side on, the rear proportions are perhaps a little strange but otherwise it’s a great looking car dominated by a broad grille, deep front bumper and sharply sculpted headlights. Like other recent Skodas, a few crisp lines give definition to the bodywork without being so over-the-top that it will put off more traditionally minded buyers. What might not be to everyone’s taste is the idea of an optional illuminated “crystal” grille which will be available later this year.
If the exterior design is good, the interior is phenomenal. Starting with a blank sheet of paper Skoda has crafted a spacious, comfortable and bright cabin that brings a new level of quality to its line-up. Thanks to a flat floor, low-set dashboard, shallow windscreen and large windows all round, the Enyaq feels bright and airy in any specification but particularly when specced with the optional panoramic sunroof. The dashboard is topped by a 13-inch touchscreen which, admittedly, looks a bit like someone has glued an iPad in place but, in contrast, the compact digital instrument display peaks out neatly from a fold in the dashtop material. This is supplemented by an optional augmented reality head-up display. Six interior design packages offer a range of colours and finishes, including using wool and recycled plastic for upholstery or leather tanned using a chemical-free process. Even standard Loft trim looks and feels high-quality but, for me, the cognac leather and gloss black of the EcoSuite package is a premium grade winner.
The low sweep of the dash along with a chunky centre console packed with storage areas also helps emphasise the car’s feeling of space, particularly width. This is even more apparent in the back where the bench has lots of room for three passengers and no annoying transmission tunnel to take up foot space. Skoda claims the Enyaq has “limo-like” rear legroom, which is pushing it slightly but there’s certainly loads of leg, shoulder and headroom for adults in the front and rear. The boot is a handy 585 litres, with a user-friendly flat and square load area, and Skoda’s Simply Clever motto is at play once again thanks to touches like phone pockets in the seat backs, storage cubbies everywhere and a proper underfloor storage space and cable cleaner for your charging cable.
That charging cable leads (no pun intended) us nicely on to the electric heart of the Enyaq. Using the same architecture as the VW ID.4, the Enyaq keeps things relatively simple with two battery options – a 62kWh pack, badged 60, and an 82kWh pack, badged 80. Both provide power to a single rear-mounted motor but an all-wheel-drive version as well as a sporty vRS will be along later this year.
That will pack 302bhp but in the meantime the 60 offers 174bhp while the 80’s motor puts out 201bhp. Both generate 229lb ft of torque, available instantly. Quoted range for the 60 is up to 256 miles on a charge, while the 80’s larger capacity offers a claimed 333 miles.
Out in the real world that translated into a predicted range of 247 miles for our 80-spec test car. I was skeptical after being disappointed by the real-world performance of other EVs recently, especially since our route took in a demanding 160-mile stretch of the North Coast 500. The Enyaq, however, surprised me, not just matching but bettering its prediction by a healthy 15 miles. Against official consumption of 3.7 miles/kWh it managed 3.2 on some very challenging roads, which gives hope of even better performance in “normal” use. A shorter run in a 60 returned 3.5 miles/kWh consumption.
Both versions cover 0-60mph in less than 8.5 seconds and offer the usual immediate response that comes with electric motors but the Enyaq is more about cruising along in peace and quiet than haring away from a standstill. That laidback feel is emphasised by its relaxed handling. The low-down weight of the batteries gives it more planted feel than some SUVs but the suspension errs on the soft side and the steering is direct but not quick.
That soft suspension makes for a fantastically comfortable ride, though, skipping over rough surfaces without disturbing passengers, and body control is never so bad as to be an issue. Aside from some tyre noise on certain surfaces the Enyaq’s driving experience is impressively serene.
With the choice of just two drivetrains, Skoda says it has changed how customers will buy the car – choosing first a battery size, then one of the six interior packages before picking from 11 curated options packs. These packs range from £260 to £1,240 and cover elements such as comfort, climate, tech and driver assistance. Individual extras are also available, meaning you can still lose days speccing your ideal car.
As is usually the case with Skoda, standard spec is pretty generous and all cars get 19-inch alloys, LED lights all round, a 13-inch touchscreen plus dual-zone climate control, lane keep assist and front assist with autonomous emergency braking. Paying around £5,000 more for the bigger battery also adds chrome exterior touches, front parking sensors and rear camera, drive mode selection and leather and heating for the steering wheel, plus paddles to control the regenerative braking.
The options pack add everything from heated seats and fold-out tray tables to a hands-free tailgate, adaptive cruise control and dynamic chassis control. Among the individual options, one that’s definitely worth taking is the charging upgrade. For 60 models this lifts maximum charging from 50kW to 100kW while 80s get 125kW capability that cuts 10-80 per cent charging times from just over an hour to under 40 minutes.
Prices for the Enyaq start at £31,995 (after the plug-in grant) for a 60 Loft and all the smaller battery cars are eligible for the grant. Sadly, the £5,000 extra for the larger battery means the 80 doesn’t qualify, putting its starting price at just over £39,000. However, even then, the Skoda feels like good value.
Its combination of family-friendly space and design, excellent real-world range and sharp looks and premium feel make it not only a great EV but a great family car full stop.
Skoda Enyaq iV 80 EcoSuite
Price: £40,920 (£47,085 as tested); Motor : Single 150kW synchronous motor; Battery: 82kWh; Power: 201bhp; Torque: 229lb ft; Transmission: Single-speed, rear-wheel-drive; Top speed: 99mph; 0-62mph: 8.2 seconds; WLTP range: 332 miles; WLTP consumption: 3.7 mi/kWh