Skoda Enyaq review: Smooth operator

(Pocket-lint) – Flick your eyes over the Skoda Enyaq fast enough and, shocker, you might kind-of mistake it for a Tesla Model X from certain angles. No, there’s no crazy gullwing doors here. No, there’s not quite as much real-world range either (it’s not far off, on paper, at least). But, heck, the Skoda doesn’t half offer a whole lot for a lot less cash.

That’s where the Enyaq is going to really appeal. On top of that, despite being built upon the same platform as the Volkswagen ID.4 – VW Group owns Skoda, so that’s a given – the Skoda brings a little extra room for a little less money. It flips Audi Q5 grade costs on its head.

Even so, the Enyaq doesn’t really scrimp on its feature set, with a large infotainment screen included as standard, decent real-world range, and enough of the current must-have high-ride SUV appeal to be seen as a sensible option to a wide audience.

In many respects this could be the most sensible electric car option. But is being too sensible simply off-putting, or does Skoda have the appeal balanced just right?

Design & Interior

  • Trim levels (80 model): Loft, Lodge, Lounge, Suite, Ecosuite, Sportline
  • 19-inch alloy wheels (20-inch & 21-inch optional upgrades)
  • LED headlights (LED Matrix optional extra)
  • 585-litre boot capacity
  • £34,495 starting price

It’s all angles and elevated lines with the Enyaq – not quite to Tesla Cybertruck levels, mind – giving a distinctive look that’s still identifiably Skoda, as the various badges attached to the car will assert.

Pocket-lintSkoda Enyaq review photo 31

If you’re looking for an EV with decent real-world range, though, its comparable competition – such as the Kia e-Niro – go with overall gentler stylings. By comparison the Enyaq doesn’t blend into the background, while not being so obscure that it’s a head-turner for the wrong reasons – well, unless you add the optional light-up LED grille, perhaps, which’ll probably make it look like a birthday cake on wheels. 

In many respects we prefer the Enyaq’s exterior aesthetic to the Volkswagen ID.4, as the Skoda just has more poise and less warbly roundedness about it. There are LED lights as standard, further adding to the visual prowess, while 19-inch alloys as the entry level (20- and 21-inch upgrades are available) add to the overall package.

Inside, it’s generally a treat too. There’s plenty of space, both front and back, with the driver and front passenger in particular getting access to most of the goodies. The seats are comfortable, the materials and plastics soft to the touch, and there’s ample space to store your various kit – from cubby holes to centre bins and cup-holders.

In terms of space the 585 litre boot is large, especially for an electric vehicle where batteries have to be hidden away (in the floor on this platform). Not that you get secondary space in the front under the bonnet – you might expect it, given the lack of an engine – but there’s still a good amount of family room in here. Enough even for a dog crate in the back, should you have a canine companion to cart around.

Infotainment & Controls

  • Head-up dislay (HUD), optional Augmented Reality navigation
  • 13-inch dash-mounted touchscreen as standard
  • Touchscreen controls, some physical shortcuts
  • Optional: adaptive cruise control, lane assist
  • 2x USB-C ports, Qi wireless charging pad
  • Android Auto / Apple CarPlay

Comfort acquired, it’s less the sensation of the seats that’ll catch your eye, though, and more the 13-inch touch display that sits proudly off the centre of the dash. That’s a big screen to get as standard (there’s no larger option, not that one’s needed), which is great for seeing navigation and infotainment – whether you’re running with what Skoda offers or linking up Android Auto or Apple CarPlay to take care of things (side note: our Android phone took multiple attempts to function via MirrorLink, so it seems a tad glitchy right now).

Good as the large screen is, it’s positioned a bit of a reach away – especially for a high-riding SUV seating position such as this. And you’ll need to reach numerous times because Skoda, just like VW, is super-keen on touchscreen controls. We had issues with that in the VW ID.3, and while the Enyaq has some remnants of that experience it’s otherwise a bit more polished and has some more sensible physical shortcut keys on the dash and rotational shortcut dials on the steering wheel – which is all for the better.

Realistically, we suspect it’s more a case of getting used to the fact that volume is controlled by a slider mechanism to the bottom of the screen, or that climate control – which can be quick-selected by a physical button – will require a quick tap of your desired mode, or an up/down adjustment of the always-on-display temperature. It’s not totally taxing, but still a whisker off the mark as to where this system could get to.

Pocket-lintSkoda Enyaq review photo 1

The second notable screen is the driver’s Virtual Cockpit. This is far smaller scale, but therefore not distracting, and displays all the relevant at-a-glance information that you’ll want to see. Far more distracting, however, is the HUD (head-up display) with its optional augmented reality navigation system – which throws directional curves and arrows onto the panel to try and tell you where you’re turning. It’s a bit too videogame-overlay-like and we can’t really see why it’s useful – it’s more just distracting (just like it is in the original Mercedes implementation).

Additional safety and convenience features can be built into the Enyaq, too, with lane-keep, adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, and rear parking sensors all available – you’ll just have to pay extra for these add-on features. The more you opt for, the more complete the experience, which can be rather helpful for cruise driving over those longer motorway distances.

Pocket-lintSkoda Enyaq review photo 11

So the interior is comfortable, packed with screens and useful information that you’ll learn to live with in little time. All we’d like is better integration with touchscreen options and a more driver-oriented screen to cut back on the arm-extended reach a little. Otherwise, as standard interiors go, this one is accomplished and kitted out.

Drive & Range

  • 60 model: 58kWh battery, 256 mile range quoted
  • 80 model: 77kWh battery, 333 mile range quoted
  • Regenerative braking paddle adjustment
  • Selectable drive modes
  • Rear-wheel drive only

So onto the big one: electric range, recharging and, well, battery anxiety. It’s all too common – especially given the UK’s lack of not only well-maintained, but fast-charging infrastructure – that the prospect of buying an EV can cause a bit of a lump in the throat. “Will it get me there and back no troubles?”

Pocket-lintSkoda Enyaq review photo 37

Fortunately, the Skoda Enyaq is well equipped with potential range and the way in which that translates to real-world driving. We drove the ’80’ model, which has a 77kWh battery capacity; there’s also the ’60’ model, which is more affordable and has a smaller 58kWh battery capacity.

We can’t speak of the 60, having not driven it, but the 80 is claimed to deliver up to 333 miles (that’s 535km) according to WLTP standards. As ever, those figures are a bit of a reach – upon getting into our fully-charged Enyaq it told us 210 miles were at our disposal (admittedly in 10C temperatures, which always affects these things). That’s quite the discrepancy though.

Really, we think, WLTP standards should be changed to better reflect real-world conditions. Because, actually, we’ve been impressed by the Enyaq’s range – and, in particular, consistency in delivering feedback on that available range.

Pocket-lintSkoda Enyaq review photo 22

Having driven away with 210 miles ‘on the clock’, some 16 miles in and the car was telling us we had 206 miles remaining, its regenerative braking clearly being top-drawer at clawing back the miles. Those figures continued to fluctuate a little – but, at the end of our three hours of driving, the distance travelled reflected the change in available range very accurately.

All in all, the car was telling us we’d get about 3.4 miles per kW, so a 250 mile range (420km) is genuinely achievable by our assessment – across all kinds of driving styles and speeds. 

You’re not going to buy an Enyaq for thrills and spills, as that’s not the point of such a car, but with instant torque from that rear-wheel drive electric motor there’s immediacy to pulling away, while overtakes won’t be a problem with 0-60mph speeds of around 8 seconds. Given this car is over 2.3 tonnes, that’s not bad going for a mid-size SUV.

Pocket-lintSkoda Enyaq review photo 12

Behind the wheel, irrelevant of drive mode selected (there’s marginal differences between whether you’re in eco or sport), everything feels rather serene and quiet. The Enyaq presses on, not quite as spritely as some EVs we’ve driven, but in a refined manner. It’s a real smooth operator in all kinds of driving conditions.

So not only is the real-world range admirable, the interior comfortable, the standard tech kit commendable, but this EV is a total breeze to drive too. It hits a whole lot of sweetspots, that’s for sure.

Verdict

That’s the sum of it: the Skoda Enyaq, as the marque’s first dedicated all-electric vehicle, is a sound and sensible investment. It undercuts the VW ID.4 in most regards, without really compromising on what you get. It’s got the Tesla Model X appeal – but for those who could never afford such a car.

Sure, there’s some foibles – the infotainment screen has its VW-owed irks, a lot is excessively touch-based, and it’s a bit of a reach to get to physically – but for a spacious, comfortable, decent real-world ranged EV, the Enyaq hits a lot of those (not virtual) buttons.

It’s a breeze to drive, is sensible without erring towards being too boring and, crucially, its asking price is enough to make you ponder the near competition. As mid-size electric SUVs go, the Skoda Enyaq is one smooth operator.

Writing by Mike Lowe.





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