The Skoda Enyaq has been a bit of a trophy magnet since it was launched in early 2021.
It’s gathered five-star reviews left right and centre, received awards from the likes of What Car? and Parkers, and scooped two awards at the Scottish Car of the Year, including the Car of the Year title.
Back when I drove it on the media launch in June I suspected the electric SUV would be on my own personal shortlist and a further week using it for day-to-day family purposes has convinced me it’s my top car of 2021.
I’ve driven faster, fancier, more expensive and more exciting vehicles but the Enyaq ticks so many boxes as a proper everyday car that will fit into so many people’s lives.
It looks good, drives well, has loads of space and kit, a decent range and in a world where an electric city car can cost £30k+, it’s remarkably good value.
As with so many family cars these days, it’s an SUV shape built on the VW Group’s EV-specific MEB platform - the same one that underpins the Volkswagen ID.4 and Audi Q4 e-tron.
The looks are clearly linked to the rest of the Skoda family. It’s hardly a revolution in automotive design but it’s a slightly sleeker, more modern stablemate to the traditional Kodiaq SUV. A coupe-style fastback version will be along in 2022 to offer a more sporting look.
The interior is slightly more of a step away from other Skodas. The flat floor and lack of transmission tunnel creates a spacious feeling cabin and there’s a simplicity about the controls and layout that feels pleasingly modern. Touches like the neat “pocket” that wraps around the simple digital instrument unit and low-level dash are a nice alternative to the traditional chunky cluster and enhance the feeling of space as well as aiding visibility.
The Enyaq is offered in two drivetrain variants. Entry level cars, badged 60, feature a 60kWh battery and 175bhp motor driving the rear wheels. Models badged 80, like our test car, feature an 82kWh battery and 201bhp rear-mounted motor with 229lb ft.
Official tests put the Enyaq iV 80’s range at 332 miles. In the real world with the temperature in the mid-teens that translated to an easy 260 miles, which could no doubt have been extended with a little care. It’s the sort of usable range that elevates it beyond a simple commuter vehicle into something you won’t dread taking on longer journeys.
A work engagement in Yorkshire meant I got to test the Enyaq’s long-range performance on a run that took in everything from undulating B roads to long stretches of motorway. At a push I might have managed the whole trip on one charge but a 45-minute fill up at the halfway point gave me more than enough to complete the drive and still reach the office the next day.
On the more routine school and commuting run, the Enyaq’s range of around 250-260 miles was more than enough and its overall consumption of 3.5 miles per kWh pretty impressive for such a large car.
However you use it, the Enyaq offers a quiet, relaxed drive. As with any EV there’s an immediate response from the motor, although its 8.2-second 0-62 time is pretty humdrum in the world of EVs. That’s hardly a big deal given that this is meant to be a day-to-day family vehicle, where its smooth ride and impressive noise insulation will be far more important for a peaceful driving experience.
Other EVs also offer decent ride and refinement and can match the Enyaq’s energy consumption but not many are the Enyaq’s equal when it comes to practicality, especially at this price.
Amid a host of other SUVs, the Enyaq is one of the few that can comfortably fit a family of five. Leg and headroom are good but the car’s wide, well proportioned rear bench makes it a winner, giving enough space for three to fit easily in the back. The flat floor only enhances this, offering loads of legroom all round.
The cheaper Kia Soul EV also offers decent passenger space for five but at the expense of boot space. Not so the Enyaq, which still offers 585 litres of easily accessible boot space. A Ford Mustang Mach-e or Audi Q4 e-tron get closer on space but cost more and have a smaller range.
Skoda offers five “designs” or trim lines for the Enyaq but we tested the entry-level Loft edition with a few optional extras.
That means no leather but a pleasant warm grey fabric upholstery and it doesn’t mean a shortage of equipment. 19-inch alloys, LED lights and chromed roof rails give it a high-spec external appearance and inside there’s a 13-inch touchscreen with (pointless) gesture control and sat nav, dual zone climate control, digital instruments, a wifi hotspot for eight devices, and a reversing camera - something missing from the £50k Audi equivalent.
Our car started at £39,350 before several options packs pushed the price to £42,500. Truthfully, as nice as the memory seats, heated steering wheel and head-up display are, there wasn’t a single option that felt essential and I’d forgo them all to keep the car below the £40,000 “luxury car” tax threshold.
Even if you spend £42k, the Enyaq still feels like great value. Nothing offers the same mix of space, practicality, real-world range and equipment for your money, meaning all the plaudits heaped upon it are well earned.
Skoda Enyaq iV 80 Loft
Price: £39,350 (£42,540 as tested); Motor: Single 150kW; Battery: 72kWh; 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 miles/kWh; Charging: Up to 125kW