The Top Gear car review: Skoda Enyaq iV
As seen on topgear.com
The Top Gear car review: Skoda Enyaq iV
Spacious, keenly priced, good tech, refinement and range
Ride could be plusher. Will it actually do 300 miles in the real world?
What is it?
Funny how even though they’re all ultimately derived from a common toolkit of platforms, engines and technologies, the Skoda is often a better bet than the equivalent Volkswagen. Not always, but frequently. As much is true of the Kodiaq versus the Tiguan, the Superb versus the Passat and even the Octavia versus the Golf.
Bear that in mind as you read this review of Skoda’s new five-seat electric SUV. The Enyaq iV is equivalent to the Volkswagen ID.4 – it’s based on the same platform and uses the same powertrain and technologies. Other competitors include the Ford Mustang Mach-E, electric Volvo XC40, Kia e-Niro and (eventually) the Tesla Model Y. The Enyaq is on sale in Britain right now, but the first UK-spec cars aren’t scheduled to land until this summer.
Initially Skoda’s first purpose-built EV comes in two flavours. The Enyaq iV 60 has a 62kWh battery and the pricier Enyaq iV 80 has an 82kWh battery (both gross – 58 and 77kWh net respectively). Both have single rear-mounted electric motors for rear-wheel drive. You’re looking at between 256 and 333 miles of claimed WLTP range, which is excellent for the money.
The 80 gets 201bhp and the 60 gets 177bhp, but there’s only 0.2 seconds between their 0-62mph times and they both have an equal 229lb ft of torque. Oh, and both cars charge at a max rate of 50kW unless you specify 100kW and 125kW charging for the 60 and 80 respectively.
All-wheel drive Enyaqs with a second e-motor for the front-axle are coming, as is a quicker vRS version.
The Enyaq is actually longer than the ID.4 (but shorter than Skoda’s own Kodiaq, a TG favourite), so it’s got a bigger boot. Over 100-litres more with all the seats folded flat, which is not to be sniffed at. And, at the outset at least, it costs less. As of April 2021 the cheapest Enyqaq is under £35,000, so it’s eligible for the Government’s £2,500 Plug-in Car Grant.
The Skoda also looks and feels a bit more conventional – you wouldn’t mistake an ID.4 for a normal car, but you might an Enyaq – which will please as many people as it disappoints. Which camp are you in?
What is it like on the road?
Don’t worry about the Start button. Just hop in, put your foot on the brake pedal, pop it into D (or B) and you’re away. And it takes precisely no getting used to – the accelerator and brake pedals are well-calibrated for smooth driving (though the latter is a bit wooden) and the steering is feel-less but nicely judged far as weight and precision goes.
It’s not a car you’ll relish driving along a B-road. But that’s fine. It’s a family SUV, so it doesn’t have to be. All the Enyaq needs to do is get your brood from A to B without making them throw-up, and while I have no kids with which to test my theory, it’s stable and settled enough that car sickness shouldn’t be a problem*.
The Czech-spec LHD big-battery car we tried had Dynamic Chassis Control, an expensive option rightly few will bother with in the UK. So equipped the Enyaq rides fine, though it’s noticeably more abrupt than it ought to be especially over broken tarmac and potholes. Smaller wheels and the standard springs are probably the way to go – watch this space.
Wind- and road-noise are well supressed and the Enyaq feels surefooted at higher-speeds on the motorway. It cruises at 70mph quite happily but doesn’t get there very quickly. 0-62mph takes 8.2 seconds in the 201bhp 82kWh car we tried or 8.4 in the 177bhp 62kWh car. 0-30mph will feel pretty punchy if you’re coming from a normal crossover or SUV, mind.
Most Enyaqs get paddles on the steering wheel to adjust the amount of brake regeneration, or you can stick the transmission in ‘B’ mode to effectively lock it in its strongest setting. Even then it doesn’t give you much retardation – this isn’t an EV you can practically drive on the accelerator pedal alone.
Bit early to talk about efficiency, but we averaged 3.1 miles/kWh on a mixed 60-mile route. It was a cold day so I had the heater on and wasn’t driving as economically as I might have. That works out at a real range of 240 miles, some way south of the 333 miles Skoda claims. More testing needed.
*TG accepts no responsibility if your child chunders in the back of an Enyaq. Sorry.
On the inside
Layout, finish and space
The Enyaq’s interior is much less annoying than the ID.4’s, chiefly because it has fewer of those infuriating touch-sensitive buttons and sliders. For example the steering wheel has a smattering of normal buttons and a clickwheel for volume. They’re far easier to use than the VW’s touchpads, and there’s significantly less risk of accidentally muting the radio with your palm whenever you turn left.
The central screen is a generous 13-inches across. Takes a minute to wake-up when you switch the car on, but after that it responds pretty quickly to your inputs and has a thoughtful UI. There’s a row of shortcut buttons underneath for your heated screens, drive modes and so-on. A touch-slider directly under the screen does volume, while quick access to the climate controls/heated seats is via a band that runs across the bottom of the touchscreen whether you’re looking at the map, radio, CarPlay or anything else.
Sure we’d like physical climate controls but hey, it’s 2021 and apparently they aren’t a thing anymore. Skoda’s implementation of touchscreen climate controls is at least better than VW’s and some others’.
Ahead of the driver is an unusually small screen – a far cry from normal digital instrument clusters, it really only displays speed, charge and the status of the adaptive cruise control. It’s clear and easy to use, though I wish the range readout gave you a percentage as well as miles remaining (percentages are predictable, how many miles the car thinks it can do before it runs out of juice isn’t. On a 60-mile drive my indicated range only fell 30 miles).
There’s no storage space under the bonnet like you get in a Tesla, but the boot is big at 1,710-litres with all the seats folded flat. That’s more than you get in the VW. Cable storage is under the boot floor. Nice to have somewhere to put them, but if you’re fully-loaded it means you have to take everything out of the boot to get to them.
All the seats are comfortable and there’s plenty of room for people and things. The flat floor means it’s easy to sit three-abreast in the back. Shame the rear-bench doesn’t slide about like it does in a Kodiaq, but there’s ample legroom anyway. Up front the driving position is well judged.
Clever Skoda-y touches include an umbrella secreted in the driver’s door and an ice scraper hidden in the tailgate.
Running costs and reliability
There are no trim levels per se. First thing you need to do is decide whether you want the big or small battery. Then you pick from one of five different interiors – Loft, Lodge, Lounge, Suite or EcoSuite – and finally from a list of 11 equipment packages (Family, Convenience, Parking etc…).
There are a few standalone options too. Even though you’ll be charging at home most of the time (Skoda claims a full charge takes 9hrs 30mins for the iV 60 or 13hrs for the iV 80 on a normal 7kW wallbox), the £440 DC charging upgrade from 50kW to 100kW for the iV 60 or 125kW for the iV 80 is well worth having. Just in case you’re caught short. The £1,005 heat pump is a must-have too – ought to make the Enyaq much more efficient in colder temperatures.
Be careful not to get carried away with the options list though. The car we tested was equipped with every single pack and most options. Great. But order one just like it and you’re looking at a bill for well over £50,000.
Prices start at just under £35,000, so small-battery Enyaqs actually qualify for the Government’s Plug-in Car Grant (£2,500 off an EV costing £35,000 or less). With the grant applied, the entry-level Enyaq costs less than £32,000 before options. That’s great value - no ID.4 is currently eligible for the grant. For the moment the VW is only available with the big battery and starts at over £40,000. The big-battery Enyaq starts at £39,350 - over £7,000 more than the iV 60 taking the grant into account.
And residual values are strong versus the competition, so leasing costs ought to be very reasonable. Skoda’s own leasing package, called Lease&Care, incorporates most routine servicing and, for a few extra £/month, gives you seven days use of a non-EV per year for longer drives.
The warranty is three years/60,000 miles and eight years/100,000 miles for the battery.
Final thoughts and pick of the range
Remember what we said at the start? Once more Skoda has built a car that could well be a better buy than the equivalent Volkswagen. Won’t know for sure until we test them together in comparable specs, but on first impressions the Enyaq edges the ID.4 on several fronts. It drives just as well as its cousin but has a less annoying, more practical interior and is cheaper to buy. Best try one before you commit to buying the other.