Is Skoda’s rakish family EV still a worthy prospect in mid-range trim?
The Skoda Enyaq iV has been around for several years now, launched as part of the Czech brand’s first foray into the growing – and extremely profitable – electric SUV market.
With a focus on style to win over customers, the Enyaq has been a big success for the car maker, and with the launch of the more rakish Skoda Enyaq iV Coupé early last year, their combined 51,000 sales helped to push Skoda to become the sixth most popular brand in Europe in 2022.
That Coupé is the car we are looking at today. Available in four trims but solely with Skoda’s biggest, 82kWh (75kWh usable) battery that offers a competitive 345 miles of range, the streamlined EV starts from a rather modest – for an electric family car in 2023 – £44,825. As such, rivals range from the simple-to-use Volvo C40 Recharge and sibling brand Volkswagen‘s solid ID 5, to the quirky Hyundai Ioniq 5.
Here, we’re testing the middle-of-the-pack Suite-trim Coupé. What that means is, for £1380 more than the standard Loft trim, you replace cloth and artificial leather with a soft black leather across the dashboard and doors, as well as gaining leather-clad seats. It feels a small price to pay for a much more premium feel, yet the lack of electric seats, especially at this price point, feels both odd and a bit cheap.
Our car also gets Race Blue metallic paint (£660) and the aptly named Clever package (£2755), which adds keyless entry, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats, a host of other tech and a rather lovely two-spoke steering wheel. All up, this rolls off the forecourt at £49,620. Not cheap, but then electric family driving isn’t these days.
At 4653mm long and 1879mm wide, this offers a heck of a lot of space. With two six-foot adults in the front, there is more than enough leg room for another two adults to sit comfortably in the back. Three is doable too, but it’s just, obviously, a bit more of a squeeze. Head room is also generous, despite the raked roofline.
Another key feature for a family is storage space and the Skoda again delivers. First off, cubbyholes are not at a premium here, with large pockets in every door. The EV also offers 570 litres of boot space, way more than a Volvo C40’s 413 litres. With the seats down, this increases to around 1700 litres. Oh, and speaking of storage space, if it is raining, there is an umbrella that sits inside the door, so no need to bring your own. Points for quirkiness, too.
Quirky is also how I’d describe certain aspects of Skoda’s infotainment tech, which uses the same fundamental system as other Volkswagen Group brands. For example, in a textbook case of form over function, you browse through certain settings by rotating a picture of the car, and turn up the volume by using a touch-sensitive slider rather than a handy and easy-to-use knob – and without a backlight, this slider is quite difficult to see at night. The tech also crashed on me when I attempted to leave the Android Auto screen, which I found I preferred to use, especially when navigating.
Regardless, the majority of usage with the huge, 13.0in infotainment screen – which, without many buttons, is home to the majority of the car’s functions – is relatively painless, especially while driving.
On the road, the car is pleasant to drive. Yes, it is big (its length proves the most challenging aspect, especially parking with a city) but its nimble steering makes life much easier than the car’s size should allow. It also offers some feel, which is most welcome.
During our test, the car’s range, displayed on the VW-derived digital display, also held true to Skoda’s claim, which is pleasing. This is probably in part down to the Enyaq Coupé’s limited poke: 201bhp from a single rear-axle-mounted motor. Clearly, that’s more than enough for a family car, but with others such as the all-wheel-drive C40 Recharge Twin offering a 4.7sec 0-62mph time (which leads to range-zapping out-of-junction acceleration moments), the Skoda’s modest 8.5sec encourages a more conservative driving style, and it is all the better for it. The Coupé also has a rather superb regenerative braking/one-pedal driving mode, which again makes saving those electric miles all the easier.
Downsides come in a few forms. The biggest annoyance is the two-tonne Enyaq’s harder ride compared with its Swedish counterpart, with potholes needing to be looked out for, rather than taken in your stride. The car also struggles slightly with body roll, which wouldn’t normally be an issue – and if anything, should be expected, given the size of the car – but the lack of support from the seat, especially in the shoulders, makes it worth mentioning. The inability (or difficulty finding how) to turn off auto-hold also came to the fore during our test: reversing off an inclined driveway took a number of attempts because the car refused to roll, and stopped dead when the brake was touched.
Yet the car left an impression: one of ease. It is simple to use, comfortable and capacious. In short, this is a very good everyday family SUV, with enough range to get from A to B and then to head off off to C and back again to A. Its price means it will be compared with the more luxurious Land Rover Discovery Sport, which in Dynamic SE and with a much more hassle-free diesel-hybrid powertrain, starts from around £50,000 – a grand more than the Skoda. But, with the electric future inbound, the Skoda offers what the Land Rover doesn’t: future proofing. And if fuelled with a home-mounted charger, the cost of travel – a key point for any family – will, over the course of a year or more, be significantly reduced over petrol and diesel rivals.