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ŠKODA Enyaq iV review

Czech it again, it can't be! Yes, ŠKODA has made an all-action electric car, the Enyaq iV, and the results are brilliant.

The stunning ŠKODA Enyaq iV

The stunning ŠKODA Enyaq iV

Even just a few years ago, the thought of creating a sentence which included the words, ‘ŠKODA’, ‘electric car’, and ‘simply brilliant’ would have motoring journos like me reaching for the wet flannel and carefully mopping a fevered brow. Now though, the reality is here. ŠKODA’s new electric car, the Enyaq iV, is simply brilliant. There: I’ve said it!

That’s the conclusion. So let’s drill down through the detail to find out exactly what makes ŠKODA’s new mid-sized electric SUV the success it promises to be.

First, the headlines. Its starting price squeaks in under the government's £35,000 cut-off for the £2500 Plug-in Car Grant. That in itself is something to celebrate. At the moment there’s an entry-level Enyaq 60, plus the longer-range 80 EcoSuite, which starts at £39,925.

Significantly, all Enyaq 60 models dip below the £35k barrier, before options. That’s a clear statement from ŠKODA: it plans to get as many of its new refined, spacious and comfortable EV on to the road as it can.

There will be a model which suits everyone, with a choice of two battery and motor combinations, plus a claimed range of up to 333 miles. Though naturally that will depend on your driving style.

Isn’t it based on the VOLKSWAGEN ID.4?

Hmmm … ish. At the core of the Enyaq is, indeed, the Volkswagen Group's MEB modular electric architecture; the same platform used by the big electric VOLKSWAGEN. But the ŠKODA is the largest iteration of MEB to date; even larger than the ID.4.

Measuring 4684mm long, 1618mm high and 1877mm wide, the Enyaq sort of sits between the Octavia Estate and Kodiaq when it comes to external size. As for its styling, I’d say it’s closer to the Kodiaq than the Octavia, but that’s no bad thing. It is though fair to say the ŠKODA is a good looking model. And to be honest, the ID.4 doesn’t match the Enyaq’s impressive styling.

It’s worth highlighting at this stage that the build quality gap between VOLKSWAGEN and ŠKODA is now so tight that you’d struggle to squeeze a piece of dental floss between them. And when it comes to the battle of the interiors, again the ŠKODA comes out on top.

Really? How good is the cabin?

Mightily impressive. There’s a huge amount of room, and step up to the EcoSuite model and the leather-lined, soft-touch cabin delivers a truly luxurious feel bordering — and yes, we’re talking ŠKODA here — premium class.

As you’d expect, there’s plenty of tech. The Enyaq is fitted with an enormous 13-inch wide screen; that’s the biggest infotainment screen ever fitted to a ŠKODA. An indication as to how spacious the interior is, is marked by the fact the screen doesn’t feel imposing or intrusive.

All models get this tech, which in tandem with the digital dash, includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus satnav. There’s also autonomous emergency braking with collision warning, lane assist, cruise control and dual-zone climate control. Plus parking sensors, LED headlight and 19in alloys all as standard. Tick the option box, and you can have 21-inch wheels.

Inside the cabin there are very few buttons, with most functions being handled via the easy-to-operate user interface for the infotainment set-up. Whisper it, but it’s an easier system to use on the move than that found in the ID.4.

Anything else inside?

You’ll struggle to find fault with the driving position, and visibility is excellent; though you might find yourself taking an extra moment or two at angled junctions simply because the A-pillars are rather bulky.

In the rear, the seats are very spacious: think head- and legroom similar to that found in the Kodiaq. With the rear bench seat in place, bootspace is 585-litres, which means plenty of luggage space for all five occupants.

Two other points worthy of note. There’s a smartphone app which allows you to control a number of the car's key items — such as pre-setting the climate control — from the comfort of your favourite sofa in front of the TV. Plus, there’s Laura … ŠKODA's virtual assistant. I know: it seems that every new car now has to have a talking virtual assistant. Thankfully she doesn’t keep asking: “Are we there yet?”

Sounds good. What’s it like to drive?

In a nutshell: smooth, refined and polished. It’s honestly difficult to accept this is ŠKODA’s first EV. Around town it’s silent, while on the motorway or dual-carriageway it wafts along with a hushed serenity with only low levels of noise infiltrating from the drivetrain. But it is … quiet.

For a family electric SUV focused on delivering relaxed, effortless progress, it accelerates briskly enough. The Enyaq 60 covers 0-62mph in 8.4secs, with the larger, heavier 80 knocking just 0.2s off the time. In town it’s more than perky enough to cope with city traffic, thanks to its immediate response, and mid-range punch is pretty solid. Maximum speed for both 60 and 80 is 99mph.

All models have variable degrees of brake energy recuperation simply controlled by steering wheel paddles. Flick the left-hand switch and you increase drag; it feels similar to shifting down a gear in a manual petrol or diesel-engined car. As for the Enyaq’s turning circle: it’s so nimble it’ll give a black cab a good battle in the supermarket car park.

I’ve heard the ride is really impressive

It is. This has to be one of the comfiest cars on the road, let alone in its class. There’s a pliancy which is instantly noticeable when you start driving, and is simply confirmed when you come across your first speed hump or pothole.

The way it glides across imperfect roads, absorbing the bumps and blemishes, is something you would never expect of a car which sits on 19in alloys. Even when you build the pace up, it’s rare that you’ll ever catch the suspension out, thanks to the excellent damping control. There’s also limited body roll when cornering, something you might not expect for such a tall car.

So far so good then: what about range and charging?

Yup, the two biggest questions people ask when they’re considering an electric car. Like with every EV, much will depend on your style of driving and what charging facilities you can access.

If you can fit a domestic wallbox to your home, then it’ll take eight to 10 hours to recharge from flat to full; that’s a perfect overnight charge. However, if you’re heading out on a longer journey, it’ll pay to do your homework and plan stops at faster 125kW chargers. These can top up to 80% in just 38 minutes. At the moment there are two Enyaq iV models available: • Enyaq 60: 177bhp, 62kWh battery, 242-mile range • Enyaq 80: 201bhp, 82kWh battery, 333-mile range

But ŠKODA plans to extend the range of Enyaq models quickly, including four-wheel-drive versions which will share the battery pack from the 80, but with an extra motor up front. The following, including a new entry-level 55kWh battery model, plus a performance-focused vRS Enyaq, will follow:

• Enyaq 50: 146bhp, 55kWh battery, 211-mile range • Enyaq 80X: 261bhp, 82kWh battery, 285-mile range • Enyaq vRS: 302bhp, 82kWh battery, 285-mile range

And what about interior trim levels?

Buyers can choose from five trim levels, ranging from Loft and Lodge, followed by Lounge, Suite and EcoSuite. All five are available as either 60 or 80. Buyers will also be able to personalise their perfect Enyaq thanks to the hugely comprehensive options list.

Final thoughts

Many people will instantly view the Enyaq as a ŠKODA version of the Volkswagen ID.4. Place them side by side, and the probability is you’re going to prefer the ŠKODA. Not just from the way it looks outside, but perhaps more importantly, inside. And that has to be a major boost for everyone at ŠKODA. See, as I said: it’s brilliant!

About the Author

Jim McGill