DR ALAN MORAN REVIEWS THE NEW SKODA ENYAQ, AN ELECTRIC DREAM
Imagine paying €51,000 for a Skoda? Considering the misplaced jokes over the years, this might come as a surprise to a lot of people. Not only are eyebrows raised at the potential full price of the Enyaq, there is a queue of people waiting to hand over their cash (or credit) for one at the first available chance. Skoda Ireland had sold last year’s available allocation before the car was launched to the public, plus a few more they managed to haggle from the manufacturers.
To those in the know, it is no big surprise. Personally, I have always held Skoda in high regard. JD Power, the famous research organisation, has been monitoring cars for years based on owners’ feedback. They have documented Skoda as topping dependability studies, with fewer than 70 problems per 100 vehicles, which you might think of as a lot, unless you see the overall industry average of 114.
Anyway, I was invited to the press launch of the Enyaq in Dublin. Here’s a little known fact: ‘Enyaq’ is derived from the Irish name ‘Enya’ (eithne), meaning ‘essence’, ‘spirit’ or ‘principle’, or even ‘source of life’. The ‘E’ is for electromobility and the ‘Q’ symbolises the SUV range of Skodas. Before the end of 2022, Skoda will have nine more electric models launched. Interesting times ahead, then.
So, the car. As part of the VAG family, there is overlap between the VW ID.4 and Audi Q4 e-tron. Audi retains the fastest with their 503bhp (370kw) model, but otherwise models overlap. Skoda will have the 80x, an all-wheel drive version, later. As always, Skoda will have the value for money, practical end of the market.
I drove the Enyaq iV 80, with the 77kw battery translating into 150kw of power. With increasing numbers of battery electric vehicles (BEV) on our roads, we’ll have to get used to new figures for assessing electric power. More importantly, it gave a range of 535kms, or 332 miles. For me, that’s enough to get me to Galway and back, a journey I have done once in the last year. Which brings me to a story I know about a local professional who drives a Tesla. If he drives to Galway, he needs to recharge there; if his wife drives, she can make it there and back on one charge. Work out what’s happening for yourself. Recently, I stayed in Limerick for the weekend, on St Catherine’s Street. Where I was staying there were two chargers within 130m walking distance to my B&B. Either one would give me more than enough electric charge to get home.
For those who are, let’s say, more light-footed or are happy with a slower car, there’s an Enyaq 60 with 58kw battery and (WLTP) range of 412km. The 58kw battery gives 132kw of power, or 180bhp, as we used to know it. On the road price, after grants and before haggling (I wish you luck), is €44,390. Both versions are rear-wheel drive and come with 310nm of torque.
And to drive, the Enyaq is lovely. Power delivery is quiet and progressive. Although rated at about 200bhp, the Enyaq weighs about two tons, and 0-100kmh/h is quoted at 8.6 seconds. To me, driving the South County Dublin roads, it felt quicker than that. Of course, being electric, with the stepless transmission and instant torque, it will always give a feeling of instant acceleration. The ride was compliant, but I was probably on the best roads in Ireland. I found the seats comfortable and supportive and loved the soft touch of the material on the dashboard.
Almost all electric cars are ‘gearless’ (except Porsche Taycan with its two forward gears), but the Enyaq iV 80 has the gear paddles that adjust the regenerative braking, which gives an interesting driving experience. By flapping these, different regenerative modes are applied, giving varying degrees of gently coasting, to a sense of gentle brakes applied.
On the test roads I managed to get lost several times (which resulted in testing the full lock of the steering — quite good), but the remaining electric range never dropped significantly.
All Enyaqs come with the MIB infotainment systems, with 13” colour touch screen display and digital dashboard. There are 15 option packages to choose from. The list would make another piece on its own.
In case you are sitting on a fence somewhere thinking about going electric, Skoda have an app (My Skoda IV) you can download and pretend you are driving electric. It can compare your trips, fuel consumption, and emission tracking. The best bit is, it will tell you when you need to charge your BEV and where your nearest charging stations are. And, in the UK in June 2021, new BEVs outsold new diesel cars.
I was asked before I took the test drive if I would be interested in buying one. I said ‘I’m not an SUV type; I’m more into a lower saloon-type car’. By the time I came back, I was ready to see the logic of the Enyaq.