Fully electric and designed from the ground up the ŠKODA Enyaq iV sets new benchmarks for space and practicality, as well as comfort and refinement, making it a great all-rounder.
ŠKODA has come a long way since it started in 1895 with seven employees designing and manufacturing bicycles under the name Slavia in the Czech town of Mlada Boleslav. They added engines before making their first car in 1905, and after gaining a reputation for innovation (including early overhead-cam engines) they soon found themselves expanding and a merger with the engineering company Pizen Skodova led to the beginning of the Skoda brand in 1925.
After the war, and strictly controlled by the state, Skoda models became outdated as other car companies increased in size and profit. Only after the economic crisis of the 1970s did Skoda manage to gain recognition and respect among some motoring communities with the new Skoda Favorit in the 1987. Despite the fact it was well engineered, reliable and clever however, the brand was the butt of many jokes. Brainwashed on Cold War rhetoric, the very notion of an Eastern Bloc car manufacturer to most motorists in Western Europe was laughable.
As a child of the seventies or eighties you were bought up to believe ŠKODA made poorly built, derivative vehicles, regardless of the fact if they were or not. Built the wrong side of the Iron Curtain they were doomed to failure. However, as the communist regime fell throughout Europe, the Czech government set new market economy conditions, which allowed Skoda to search for a foreign partner to help it grow and saw a wholesale takeover in 1990 by the Volkswagen Group.
Move on a few decades and ŠKODA is now a firm family favourite. With large-scale investment in the brand it’s allowed for more exciting and luxurious cars – more affordable versions of VWs, to put it crudely. And so we come on to the Enyaq iV, ŠKODA’s first purpose-built electric car on the Volkswagen Group’s MEB platform and one of the most significant new models ever introduced in the brand’s 126 year history. Although it’s worth noting Boleslav’s first electrified vehicle – often referred to as the ‘Czech Edison’ dates back to 1908.
Available from launch with two battery size options (62kWh and 82kWh), delivering 256 and 333 miles respectively, it’s priced from £31,995 and when you compare that to £34,650 for the VW ID.4 and £41,325 for the Audi Q4 e-tron – both from the same family sharing the same batteries and motors – it makes the Enyaq iV 60 a bit of a bargain. Having driven its siblings, we’re curious to see what the ŠKODA version is like – this is our impressions of the 80 (82kWh EcoSuite) after living with it for a week.
Featuring a rear-mounted motor and rear-wheel drive, both the Enyaq iV 60 Nav and Enyaq iV 80 mark a return to the drivetrain layout that came to typify the brand’s output in the late 1960s and early ’70s – but don’t let that put you off! The 80 gets 201bhp of and the 60 gets 177bhp, but the former is only 0.2 seconds quicker to 62mph at 8.5 seconds as they both have 229lb ft of torque available from a standing start. Both models will go on to reach 99mph. Performance therefore is on a par with the ID.4 but the more expensive Ford Mustang Mach-E and Polestar 2 offer much faster acceleration.
And with all of that power delivered to the road via the rear wheels, it means improved traction during acceleration and steering feedback. So many front-wheel drive EVs scrabble for grip, and given that electric motors don’t bring so much of a space or cost penalty compared to petrol or diesel cars, we could see front-wheel drive being phased out. Furthermore, in an electric car, like this one, with almost 50:50 weight distribution the rear is where you want power to go, because that's where the body weight transfers when the driver accelerates.
With the batteries stored in the floor between the axles the Enyaq iV benefits from a low centre of gravity and balanced handling and as a result it drives very nicely indeed regardless of whether you’re on the motorway or country roads. And with a turning circle of just 9.3, it feels nifty in town too, despite its size. Take it as it is – a family SUV – and you won’t be disappointed, although a little less body roll would be nice. Saying that, we suspect that Skoda wanted to leave a little room for improvement given it’s to get the vRS treatment later in the year together with a four-wheel drive model (80X). If you can’t wait and enjoy driving spiritedly, try the VW ID.3.
Drive Mode Select offers five driving modes (Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport and Individual) and you can also change the chassis and steering settings to Sport but it seems to make minimal difference. The level of braking, or regen, can be adjusted using the steering wheel paddles (on the 80 version), which allows you to choose from three recuperation intensity levels. Otherwise, can stick the transmission in ‘B’ mode to effectively lock it in its strongest setting. It's nicely calibrated and predictable although we’d like a stronger setting to allow true one-pedal driving that would befit the relaxing and refined driving experience.
There are currently two battery pack sizes; 62kWh (Enyaq iV 60 Nav) and 82kWh (Enyaq iV 80). The former supposedly delivers a 256 mile range while the latter boasts up to 333 miles (or slightly less at 327 for the SportLine edition). After a full charge we were only seeing 268 miles, which was very disappointing.
Skoda officially quote Enyaq iV 80 power consumption between 3.7 and 4.0 miles per kWh - we were averaging around 3.3 but not driving it very economically, and we reckon in warmer climes and a sensible right foot this wholly possible. Even with the less than quoted figure it’s still a decent amount of range.
It can charge up to 50kW as standard but 100kW or 125kW charging upgrades are available as cost options for the 60 and 80 respectively. That means the fastest option can get the battery from 5% to 80% full in 38 minutes, while at the other end of the scale when connected to a 7.2kW supply, a full charge takes around 13 hours.
At almost £32k the ŠKODA Enyaq iV is a bargain – obviously at that price point you’re getting the entry level iV60 with 256 miles (although take that with a pinch of salt). Alternatively it’s available from £410 per month with an initial rental of £2460 under their Lease&Care offer or from £379 per month plus £750 deposit on PCP (48 month agreement, 10,000 miles per annum).
Our test car starts from £39,350 and at that price point you’re better off spending an extra £1640 and buying the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range, because what you sacrifice in range (278 miles) you gain in the brand’s charging infrastructure, innovative technology, blistering performance and decent handling. If you’re specifically after a crossover though there’s also the Hyundai Kona Electric Ultimate (£37,200), Kia e-Niro 4+ (£39,645), Peugeot e-2008 GT Premium (£38,580) and DS 3 Crossback E-Tense Ultra Prestige (£31,660). Even in top-spec trims most of them are cheaper, but it’s worth noting residual values for the Enyaq iV are strong versus the competition.
Like all electric cars, the Enyaq iV will be significantly cheaper to run than petrol or diesel-engined equivalents, it’s exempt from road tax and many councils offer reduced cost Residents’ Parking Permits, or even Green Vehicle Permits that allow free parking at shopping centres and train stations, access to bus lanes, and free use of charging stations. And if it’s a company car there are many tax incentives for both the employer and employee. Servicing intervals are once a year or every 20,000 miles and it should be cheaper to service than a conventional car, as there are fewer moving parts and fluids to change.
Without the constraints of having to accommodate an internal combustion engine, transmission and running gear, the design team were given more freedom when it came to penning the exterior. As a result it’s a bold and elegant family SUV yet still immediately recognisable as a ŠKODA. A sculptured bonnet, striking hexagonal front grille and unique crystalline headlights dominate the front, while the Enyaq iV’s side profile references the brand’s SUV flowing design language and adds a host of styling details such as roof rails and window frames in contrasting colours (chrome, matt or gloss black) and the largest diameter of wheel ever fitted to a ŠKODA (19 inch as standard, with the option to fit 20 and 21s). At the rear, the tailgate is framed by a matt black roof spoiler and a rear bumper that features a grey diffuser. When the delivery driver dropped off the car to us he remarked how many heads it turned - and he wasn’t wrong. We had so much interest in this car over our week with it.
Measuring 4649 millimetres long and 1879 wide, the Enyaq iV delivers extraordinary amount of space, as well as an intelligent layout that optimises the advantages of the car’s flat floor platform and premium materials. At the heart of the cabin is a free standing 13 inch central display and a virtual cockpit on a 5.3 inch display (a head-up display with augmented reality is an optional extra); all variants offer state-of-the-art connectivity and a connected app allows drivers to schedule and control charging and cabin pre-conditioning remotely. It feels premium inside with plenty of tech, much better than its South Korean rivals, more on a par with the Audi Q4 e-tron, which it should be at over £40k.
The beauty of an all-electric platform is that it allows the designer to reimagine a car’s interior architecture and in the case of the Enyaq iV’s, all five occupants enjoy a spacious interior and a boot that can hold 585 litres of luggage (which can be extended to 1710 litres with the rear seats folded, 100 more than the ID.4) and plenty of storage space. The seats have been completely redesigned and are very comfortable on long journeys; the only downside we would say is that for anyone over six foot sat in the front with an equally tall passenger behind them they may find the dashboard intrudes on leg space as it sweeps out towards the centre console. The only other niggles we had were the sat nav showing where Shell petrol stations were located and the gesture control, which would only work intermittently. At least it has fewer of those infuriating touch-sensitive buttons and sliders that dominate the ID.4.
There are six interior design packs to keep things simple – our test car was specified with EcoSuite, featuring cognac brown leather dyed with olive leaf extract with contrast stitching and piano black decor strips (which looked fab) – together with a range of option packs. These include two Comfort Seat packages that add power adjustment and even massage function, along with Family, Climate, Convenience and Transport packages. A further range of exterior and driver packages are also available with the latter featuring Dynamic Chassis Control, but just go easy – options can significantly jack up the price.
The entry-level Enyaq iV comes with a generous equipment list that includes 19 inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, heated, electrically adjustable, folding and auto dimming door mirrors (with boarding spots and welcome logo), rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control and keyless go, an infotainment system with satellite navigation (that isn’t the best on the market and can be quite laggy), ambient interior lighting, fabric/artificial leather upholstery, multifunction leather steering wheel, front assist with assisted automatic braking, (very intrusive) lane assist, cruise control and an umbrella! It’s not just Rolls-Royce that give them away! It’s not the only clever little feature either, with a bag and cleaner for the charging cable so you don’t get your hands grubby, an ice scraper hidden in the tailgate and smartphone pockets on the front seat backrests and two storage compartments in the centre console (which was a good use of the space but utterly useless at showing you if your phone was charging).
At £31,995 for the Enyaq iV60 is a steal, with a 256 mile range and the ability to juice to 80 per cent in only 35 minutes at a 100kW rapid DC charger. It rides and handles well, and although it could offer a little more performance, it offers the space, comfort practicality and refinement that ŠKODA is now renowned for. A useable family car and a convincing alternative to the VW ID.4 with its own unique character and attributes, it’s currently the best EV of its type and price. Who wants to make Skoda jokes now?
Price (RRP OTR): From £40,920; £45,622 (model as tested)
Top speed: 99mph
0-62mph: 8.5 seconds
Driving range (combined): 333 miles
Charging time: 13 hours (7.2kW, 0-100%); 1 hour 10 minutes (50kW, 50-80%); 38 mins (125kW, 10-80%)
Insurance group: TBC
Vehicle warranty: 3 years/60,000 miles
Battery warranty: 8 years/100,000 miles