Skoda Enyaq long-term test
Is it possible to live with an electric car even if you can't charge it up at home? We're finding out with the help of the Skoda Enyaq iV electric SUV...
The car Skoda Enyaq iV 60 Loft Nav Run by Darren Moss, deputy editor
Why it’s here To show that it’s possible to use an electric car as your sole vehicle, even if you can’t charge it at home
Needs to Have enough range to not need charging every day, be comfortable for longer trips, and function as a mobile office when needed
Mileage 2768 List price £34,850 Target Price £34,850 Price as tested £40,005 Test range 201 miles Official range 256 miles Dealer price now £34,670 Private price now £30,818 Trade-in price now £31,086 Running costs £185 (charging)
1 April 2022 – Time well spent?
In one of the songs from the hit musical Rent, the characters ask, “How do you measure a year?” Well, if you’ll accept a tortuous analogy, I’d measure my last six months with the Skoda Enyaq in the amount of time I’ve spent at public charging stations.
When you can’t charge at home, this becomes part and parcel of running an electric car. As the image below shows, to do so I’d have to run an extension lead from my first-floor living room window, past the flat below, over the hedge and finally to my car. That's okay for emergencies, but also impractical and ruinous to Mrs Wilson’s view of her petunias.
I knew this going in, of course. I’m no stranger to electric-car ownership, having previously run a Hyundai Ioniq Electric in the first half of 2020. At that time, I concluded that, yes, you could run an electric car even if you can’t charge it at home, but you have to be prepared to plan ahead. So, in the 18 months since I ran that car, have things improved?
Well, the answer is yes – and no. You see, although the number of charging points in my local area has grown and continues to grow, so has the number of cars wanting to use them. That means the queues are as long as they always were. And while new charging points make stopping en-route easier by increasing the number of places you can charge up, the parking restrictions around them aren’t always clear, and I was hit with three parking fines in my time with the Enyaq, all while it was plugged in.
Reliability remains an issue, too. On the evening before my Enyaq departed, I visited four separate charging stations from three providers to top up the battery. That wasn’t out of a desire for variety – the first three were troubled by a combination of broken card readers, broken connectors and, in one case, a complete unwillingness to even turn on.
But the Enyaq shouldn't be judged purely by the infrastructure built to support it, so what of the car itself? Well, I chose the 60 version, partly to keep costs down, but also because that model qualified for the Government’s plug-in vehicle grant.
Thanks to a recent change to the grant, that’s no longer the case, but I’d still stick with this version if I had my time with the Enyaq again. That’s because it has all the range I could really want in day-to-day driving (256 miles officially, but closer to 200 in my real-world experience), and the price jump to the bigger-batteried 80 model is substantial, to the point where our reigning Car of the Year, the Kia EV6, makes more sense.
I’d also stick with my chosen Loft Nav trim level, which came with kit including dual-zone climate control and LED headlights. I’d even keep the same options, because they all added genuinely useful features to the car. The Assisted Driving Package Plus became a firm favourite, though, because its adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance made long motorway trips much more comfortable.
I was a big fan of the Enyaq’s interior, and especially the fabric covering the upper dashboard, which is great to touch and lifts the feeling of quality beyond rivals including the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.4. It was spacious, too – I never fell short of somewhere to store my odds and ends, and passengers were able to stretch out no matter which seat they were in.
There were a few minor niggles, though. The stereo had a glitch with Apple CarPlay that meant it would force my music out of only the front speakers for a few moments on most journeys. Also, while there is technically room to store the Enyaq’s charging cables under its boot floor, you’ll need to be a Tetris master to make them fit.
Those small issues don’t detract from what remains a fantastic electric car, though. If you can charge up at home or work, you’re in for a real treat. Even if you can’t, and you’re prepared to accept the compromise that comes with relying on the public network, the Enyaq’s comfortable and calming driving style will keep your stress to a minimum.
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