Enyaq shows how Skoda is leading the way

Not so very long ago, you had to be brave to drive a Skoda. Not for the lack of quality or ability, for these cars were always solid and dependable. They did well in rallies and won rave reviews but somehow this Czech brand and its Russian rival Lada became laughing stocks.

By Steve Teale
Friday, 18th February 2022, 6:58 pm
Not pretty but certainly imposing
Not pretty but certainly imposing

Even now, anyone over 50 will associate those two marques with a smile or a wince as they remember the Skoda and Lada jokes. Anyone under 50 however associates Skoda with the sort of middle-class quality which used to be reserved for the likes of Volvo. Lada? Long gone, sadly, at least from the UK market.

But Skoda went through something of a transition in the 1990s and onwards when it became part of the Volkswagen empire alongside SEAT, Audi and others. It was less sporty than Audi, less premium than VW and more mature than SEAT, and it won legions of supporters for being simply clever, as its marketing slogan claims with some credibility.

Now Skoda is going through another transition as it becomes one of the most go-ahead car brands in the world as it takes us on the next step of the electric vehicle (EV) journey.

Classy and modern

Tested here is Enyaq iV. First things first, let’s tackle the name. Enyaq may sound strange but there is an interesting story behind it – at least, I think so. It comes from the Irish name Enya which we are told means source of life.

The iV (four) bit makes less sense for this is the first in the family. In fact Enyaq iV is one of the most significant new models ever created in Skoda’s 126-year history.

Fully electric and designed from the ground up to deliver a new driving experience, it sets new benchmarks for space, technology and value. Based on the Volkswagen Group’s modular electrification toolkit (MEB), the groundbreaking all-electric SUV marks the start of the brand’s electromobility journey, paving the way for a new generation of all-electric Skodas.

It isn’t a bad looking car. It’s not really pretty or distinctive yet it has a quality feel to it. And like most premium EVs at the moment, it is a boxy crossover or SUV.

Enyaq iV is certainly stylish

Are we in danger of all cars becoming the same? It seems that way with the flurry of boxy SUVs. This shape lends itself to the electric car market because it has the bulk to conceal the cumbersome battery packs, which for now at least are necessary to power these vehicles.

I imagine that as batteries shrink due to technological advances, the necessity for boxiness may decline. For now we are stuck with van-like sizes, and while it may look like you’re delivering bread, they drive like sports cars.

In short this car comes with a number of main body styles – the main model tested here, a sports version called SportLine, a quicker version called vRS and a coupe called Enyaq Coupe.

As befits a car that is starting a bold new era in Skoda design and engineering, the Enyaq iV introduces a new range structure based around battery sizes.

Customers can choose between two versions, 62kWh and 82kW, and then opt for one of six interior design selections and choose from option packs.

Tested here, we have Lounge, which as the name suggests is a classy and relaxed affair.

It drives smoothly and has enough power to move quickly. Importantly it has a good range, too.

At launch, both Enyaq iV 60 Nav and Enyaq iV 80 models feature a rear-mounted motor and rear-wheel drive, marking a return to the drivetrain layout that came to typify the brand’s output in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The entry level 62kWh battery model is equipped with a 179PS (132kW) motor that drives the rear wheels through a single-speed transmission.

It has a combined range of up to 256 miles on a single charge. The larger 82kWh model tested here generates 204PS (150kW) and is capable of up to 333 miles on a single charge.

Replenishing the power is an important factor these days. Enyaq iV offers customers three charging options. In addition to using a standard household 230V socket with 2.3 kW alternating current (AC), it can be charged at home overnight using a wallbox of up to 7.2kW. Depending on the battery size, the 7.2kW wallbox charging process takes nine to 13 hours. As a third charging option, the vehicle can be connected to rapid DC charging points with a charging capacity of up to 125 kW. This allows the Enyaq iV to be charged from 10 to 80 per cent in 38 minutes.

You see, buying a car is more like buying a laptop these days. It is less to do with power and mpg and more to do with computer technology and charging rates.

Skoda offers a range of styles. Loft, is standard on all models and combines fabric and artificial leather. Lodge features fabric from recycled bottles, bright colours and silver square haptic decor strip. Lounge, meanwhile, features a combination of leather and microfibre upholstery with contrast stitching and anodised cross decor strips on the dashboard and doors. And Suite features black leather upholstery with Cognac brown stitching and artificial leather trimmed dashboard.

The EcoSuite features brown leather dyed with olive leaf extract with contrast stitching and piano black decor strips. And SportLine: features Alcantara and leather-trimmed sports seats and dashboard, carbon effect decor strips and aluminium-look pedals.

The Lounge tested here is impressive, especially in the car. It has a classy, modern dash and wonderfully comfortable seats. I do wonder how well the fabric on the dash will wear but brand new it looks fabulous.

The 2022 Enyaq iV sees some improvements over the previous version. Although it already has one of the fastest DC charging capabilities in the sector, the updated model will offer speeds of up to 135kW (up from 125kW) for all Enyaq iV 80 models built from January. This will deliver reduced charging times for drivers when fast charging on a suitable (150kW-plus) public charger. Enyaq iV 60 models will now be able to charge at speeds up to 120kW (up from 100kW).

Customers who opt for all-wheel drive models (Enyaq iV 80x) will also benefit from a new ‘Traction mode’. Activated via the driving mode screen on the infotainment system, this increases ASR (Anti-Slip regulation) and provides optimal power distribution between the front and rear axle. The new Battery Care Mode, which is controlled via the infotainment screen, has been designed to set the optimal charging settings for extending the life of the battery. When activated the next charging process will charge to a maximum of 80 per cent.

The graphic displays of the infotainment system have also been updated to deliver even more information to drivers. Drivers using the navigation system will be able to see an estimated battery level on arrival when a destination is programmed.

Buying an Enyaq iV comes with lots of options. Skoda offer a range of extra-cost packs these days. For example, this car came with Family Package Plus (£455) which adds rear window blinds, two USB ports for passengers in the back, plus child safety locks and folding tables in the rear.

The Drive Package covers such as features as a leather sports steering wheel, gear change paddles and dynamic chassis control – firm for demanding driver, softer for comfort.

Enyaq iV is an incredibly attractive package. You probably never imagined paying £45,000 for a Skoda. But then you probably never imagined a car so sophisticated.

Skoda Enyaq iV 80 Lounge 82kWh 204PS

Price: £40,505. Test model was £45,740 because it added features such as 20in alloy wheels (£530), 125kW battery charging (£440) and towbar (£775)

Motor: An electric motor which puts out 204ps via a single-speed gearbox and rear-wheel-drive

Range: 331 miles

Performance: Top speed 99mph and 0 to 60mph in 8.2 seconds

Warranty: Three years, 60,000 miles but can be extended to five years, 100,000 miles