Skoda Enyaq iV RS First Impressions: Buzzkill Or Buzz-Thrill?
- by Tushar Kamath
- May 22, 2023
- Views : 1306
Even in its most “extreme” form, the Skoda Enyaq iV puts sensibility above all else
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The Skoda Enyaq will be Skoda’s first electric car for India and will be arriving as a direct import. It will also be the most expensive Skoda offering here. Going up against praiseworthy rivals like the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 is no small challenge, so we took the Enyaq for a spin in Skoda’s homeground of the Czech Republic to understand what (if anything) it’s doing differently.
Czech It Out
Lazy wordplay with this subheading aside, the Enyaq’s design story is still a typical Skoda tale. Many manufacturers have chosen the switch to electric as an opportunity to change things up with unusual styling (Honda e, Hyundai Ioniq 5) specific to their electric offerings, but with the Enyaq, Skoda’s evidently targeted a degree of normalcy, so as to not shock their typical clientele away. It’s also sized close to the Kodiaq, only falling short of Skoda’s 7-seater by a few millimeters, with the biggest difference of 65mm seen in their height.
Of course, in colours like Mamba Green, the Enyaq does grab attention by the ton (especially if you opt for the Enyaq Coupe), but the core design is still subdued and familiarly Skoda. That isn’t to say that Skoda hasn’t tried to be playful though. The front grille gets turned into a crystalline display case with backlighting (not standard), the Sportline and vRS grades get aggressive bumper inserts and the wheels get uniquely-styled aero-covers as well.
As of now, Skoda hasn’t decided what version of the Enyaq will be launched in India but it is likely to be the Enyaq iV 80x. While the SportLine or vRS would certainly make for the best eye candy, Skoda India will likely focus more on corporate customers who generally veer away from designs that have any shouty styling elements.
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On first impressions, the cabin’s black interior makes the Enyaq feel smaller than it is. Once inside, however, you’re welcomed by a cabin that’s roomy enough for four tall adults. Even at the rear, there’s adequate headroom for users well over 6ft tall, and the panoramic sunroof doesn’t play spoilsport.
Skoda’s also shown some thoughtful attention to detail to improve seat comfort. Typical of many EVs, the floor is higher than normal and makes you sit slightly knees-up, especially if you’re tall. To counter this, the tip of the seatbase has been raised sharply to offer better underthigh support. The plastic quality of the rear AC vents and the climate control switches, though, isn’t great and they feel very out of place in an otherwise premium cabin.
For storage, there are seatback pockets with separate phone slots, a floor-tray behind the rear AC vents and, of course, the 585 litre boot that gets flaps to drop the 2nd row seat backs down.
Also Check Out: Kia EV6 First Drive | Well Rounded Electric Power
At The Helm
It’s in the front row that Skoda’s thrown in some quirky bits, some of which don’t quite compute. The dashboard gets a layered design that’s unique to the Enyaq with a large heads-up display at the end of it. There’s dollops of leatherette padding and ambient lighting to up the premium quotient and the massive 13-inch touchscreen with plus-sized fonts makes for convenient operation.
The centre console looks similar to the Octavia’s, and like it, the AC is controlled through the touchscreen as well which can get a bit annoying. Additionally, the touchscreen itself does throw up some lag every now and then. What stands out as the oddity is the instrument cluster. It’s a fully-digital display that’s just 5.3-inches across.
While you won’t miss out on any core information, it looks quite tiny, especially when compared to the large central screen. Thankfully, the heads-up display is very informative and you’ll actually rely on it more than the driver’s display.
3-zone climate control
Powered front seats with memory settings
Wireless phone charger
Retractable rear window sunblinds
The Enyaq is available in a long list of configurations, including different battery packs (52kWh, 55kWh & 77kWh) powering either the rear-wheels or all-four wheels. The prospect of driving the range-topping vRS was all too tempting to resist; it’s the first all-electric vRS after all. The on-paper stats are enticing for sure at nearly 300PS and 460Nm of torque.
However, once you get going, you find the experience isn’t mind-boggling in the way you’d expect. No doubt, the Enyaq is a very quick car going from 0-100kmph in under 7 seconds, but like we’ve experienced in other EVs (especially ones with rear/all-wheel drive), the experience is drama free. If you don’t keep an eye locked on the speedometer, you wouldn’t necessarily realize how far north of 100kmph you’ve gone. Unsurprisingly, the grunt available is ready to launch at any speed, and getting up from 60kmph to 130kmph (motorway speed limit in the Czech Republic) is comically easy.
That said, it does water down the want for the vRS since the experience isn’t dramatically different against, say, the Enyaq SportLine. Additionally, the vRS’s peak power is only available if the battery is at 88 percent charge or higher (among other conditions). However, the Enyaq is a very easy car to drive with readily available performance for any driving condition. The power delivery never gets overwhelming and even the vRS is novice-driver friendly.
While this won’t tickle the fancy of seasoned drivers, those who just want an easy-going daily runabout won’t find the Enyaq lacking in the drive department. And considering how everything else in the Enyaq seems to be about making the switch to electric more organic than eventful, this behaviour doesn’t come as a surprise
As for ride comfort, the Enyaq did feel stiff over the few rough patches we encountered near the b-roads of Mcely, but in no small part is that a function of the 21-inch wheels the test car came equipped with. The India-spec car should stick to 19 or 20-inch wheels at most, lest our roads turn this EV into a tyre repair shop’s wet dream. On smooth roads, the mannerisms are quite sedan-like and the Enyaq feels relaxed cruising at 120-130kmph.
AC 11kW (0-100%)
DC 135kW (10-80%)
Expected in India with the larger, 77kWh battery pack, it should deliver a real-world range of roughly 450km on a full charge as well (WLTP rating = 524-548km, depending on the variant), based on our experience with EVs of this size and weight.
The Right Start?
The Skoda Enyaq is a well-rounded family EV, delivering a good blend of space, practicality, ease of use and equipment. If it’s your first EV, it’ll also feel natural to adapt to. It’s also true to its European roots, staying understated in its design and not doing anything drastic to announce its EV heart.
The catch is, Skoda will launch the Enyaq as a direct-import and with the larger battery pack, at that. This means it will sit close to the Kia EV6 on the pricing front (est Rs 60-65 lakh ex-showroom), when it arrives this fiscal year.
At that price, the Enyaq is missing a lot of the novelty you get with both the EV6 and its more affordable cousin, the Hyundai Ioniq 5. The Skoda Enyaq scores high on sensibility and subtlety but it does feel like it's missing that little something special that’d make it more of a conversation piece/plaything. Depending on who you are, this exact nature will decide if that’s a deal maker or breaker.
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