An SUV as a family car is actually an illogical combination. After all, a Sports Utility Vehicle is at its core an off-road vehicle and built in height for maximum ground clearance. However, as a family car, an SUV rarely sees off-road, while its tall build does ensure a high centre of gravity and all the drawbacks that come with it. But. with the Enyaq, things are different! Skoda opted for an SUV because its height allows it to accommodate a lot of batteries in the floor and still offer plenty of interior space.
This is also reflected in its design: for an SUV, the Enyaq has an unusually low stance. Seen from the side, the car therefore appears somewhat "saggy". However, this way Skoda compensates for the high centre of gravity and improves the streamline. What the Enyaq does share with an SUV, on the contrary, are the rugged looks of the high raised nose, the high shoulder line and the gruff look in the headlights. Those less comfortable with an electric car that exudes a desire to improve the world will therefore feel more comfortable with Skoda.
Inside, too, the Enyaq is a very ordinary car. Although Skoda uses eco-friendly materials (including vegan leather), the cabin has no futuristic design, unusual colours or groundbreaking ergonomics. Skoda wants to make electric driving as ordinary as possible and therefore uses the same components (including the steering wheel) as in its other models wherever possible.
Because the batteries are embedded in the floor and the Enyaq is built in height, interior space is excellent. The driver and passenger have plenty of space. Even when the front seats are pushed far back, plenty of head and legroom still remains in the rear. None of this comes at the expense of luggage space, which is also generous.
As befits Skoda, the Enyaq features the usual "Simply Clever" inventions. This means simple things that make life just that little bit easier. Examples include an umbrella holder in the front doors, phone stands in the headrests, a parking ticket holder in the A-pillar and a windscreen washer fluid tank with built-in funnel. For this electric car, a special compartment for the charging cable is added, including a special cloth to keep the cable clean.
A new audio, communication and sat nav system debuts in the Enyaq that is ambitiously designed. Its capabilities are extensive and the number of settings even greater. By default, it is therefore necessary to scroll through many menus to find functions. To avoid unnecessary browsing, frequently used functions can be fixed as favourites at the top or bottom of the screen. It takes some time to set everything to your liking, but after that, this new system really is a big improvement over the previous infotainment system.
However, the voice-activated assistant is definitely not a step forward. Despite the fact that the test car's internet connection was activated, not a single command was understood correctly. Town names were mistaken for contacts in the phone book, the request to look for a charging point was answered by turning down the heating. In short: a software update is needed at this point.
A small and simple display can be found behind the steering wheel, but that is certainly not a disadvantage. Thanks to its basic design, it is extremely clear and therefore quick to read. Moreover: most of the information appears in the extremely large "head-up display". This shows not only the speed, but also life-size arrows from the navigation system in the driver's field of vision. During the test, however, these did not appear for all instructions, so for now it remains important to also look at the screen.
Skoda is releasing an electric car just now because it depends on parent company Volkswagen for the technology. Indeed, under the skin, the Skoda Enyaq is similar to the Volkswagen ID.4. The Enyaq is available with a 60- or 80-kWh battery, capable of 400 or 520 km (WLTP) range respectively. Depending on the battery chosen, the Enyaq can charge quickly (100 kW) or very quickly (125 kW). During the test, it charged with around 25% charge remaining and achieved the promised high charging speed effortlessly. The small display behind the steering wheel then shows minimal information. However, after some searching, the large display actually shows extensive information about the progress. The charging speed is expressed in kilometres per minute. This is scientifically irresponsible because it depends on the driver's driving style, but for many it is more telling than kilowatts.
Skoda does not opt for futuristic looks or extraordinary handling, and the driving characteristics have also been kept as ordinary as possible. While the Enyaq moves effortlessly and in silence, it does not have the crushing acceleration or vicious intermediate sprints that some other electric cars impress with. The Enyaq behaves like a good-natured behemoth that lends itself ideally to covering very long distances effortlessly. Then, the difference with a combustion engine is so great that one drive is enough to make you never want to go back to petrol- or diesel-powered cars.
Basically, the computer determines how the car behaves, but those who want to can influence it. Levers behind the steering wheel can be used to determine how strongly the Enyaq decellerates (and thus recovers energy) when releasing the accelerator. However, when the driver does not do so, the situation determines how much regeneration can be done, which is just as easy. When, based on the navigation system, it is detected that a curve is approaching, even stronger restraint is applied than on a straight road.
By choosing sport mode, the Enyaq responds a little more enthusiastically to the accelerator. It also makes the steering heavier, which is especially pleasant on the motorway as it makes it easier to keep the car straight. On the contrary, when eco mode is chosen, the character becomes more restrained and energy consumption drops. The test drive took 17.9 kWh per 100 km, which is comparable to the power consumption of smaller electric cars! Thanks to this low consumption, the range promised by Skoda could actually be achieved.
In handling too, Skoda has strived to keep everything as familiar as possible. On bad road surfaces and speed bumps, the Enyaq manages to disguise its huge weight (over 2 tonnes for the 80 kWh version) quite well. The first generation cars did that with a very firm suspension, which made them jumpy on uneven roads. In contrast, the Enyaq is distinctly comfortable on bad road surfaces. When cornering, one does feel how heavy the car really is because there is quite some time between a steering input and the actual change in direction. However, the low centre of gravity and the well tuned suspension ensure a fine balance. The Enyaq therefore steers effortlessly through corners even at high speed, which gives a great sense of confidence.
Is the Skoda Enyaq the ideal family car? The answer to that question is more nuanced than a simple "yes" or "no". When it comes to space and practicality, the Enyaq scores above average. Thereby, the inventions under the "Simply Clever" banner make life with the Skoda just that little bit more pleasant. However, space and convenience alone are not decisive.
The added value is in the electric drive. Because Skoda uses exactly the same technology (with the same fine tuning) as other models from the Volkswagen group, the Enyaq is not unique. Only compared to similar size combustion engine cars, the difference is huge. The Enyaq is quieter, faster, more comfortable, emits less and is much more economical per kilometre. Thanks to its large battery and fast charging, carefree travel is possible, even over long distances.
Ultimately, what makes the Enyaq a true Skoda is the packaging. The looks, controls and driving characteristics have all been kept as ordinary as possible. This sets Skoda apart from other brands that opt for futuristic looks, extreme driving characteristics or (too) progressive ergonomics. This makes the Enyaq a giant leap forward, while everything remains familiar. Just plain smart.
- Excellent handling
- Spacious and practical
- Technically advanced, yet very ordinary
- Voice assistant understands very little
- Little price advantage over competitors