Long-term report: The Skoda Enyaq iV 80x kicks off an electric adventure

There’s a lot of buzz about electric cars – but what is living with one like? Jack Evans finds out.

Skoda Enyaq
Skoda Enyaq

Electric cars are a hot topic at the moment, don’t you think? From infrastructure to running costs and everything in between, it feels as though there’s a swelling tide moving in the direction of all things EV.

My experiences with electric cars have been largely positive. Back in June last year I took a Skoda Enyaq from Inverness to the south coast in one hit – a journey of over 600 miles – and didn’t have any real bugbears to speak of when it came to charging. Likewise, I’ve been lucky enough to test plenty of new electric cars and found them to rival many petrol or diesel-powered cars when it came to refinement and outright quality.

Skoda Enyaq
Frosty conditions chilled the Enyaq recently

But actually living with one? That’s a different kettle of fish. That’s why I’m very excited to be driving this Skoda Enyaq iV for the next six months. This model – the 80X – is one of the big hitters in the range and only comes underneath the recently-introduced vRS version in the Enyaq hierarchy. That ‘80’ badge refers to the battery, while X means it’s got all-wheel-drive – something that should come in quite handy over the winter.

So how have the first few weeks with the Enyaq been? Any charging maladies? Well, it’s all been largely plain sailing if I’m honest. The 80 has a claimed range of just over 330 miles, which makes it one of the most long-legged EVs that you can get today, shy of much more expensive metal from Mercedes and Tesla. This chunky range means that I’ve not had to shy away from larger trips too much, while a maximum charge speed of up to 135kW means that a zero to 80 per cent charge can take as little as 30 minutes should you find a rapid charger.

Skoda Enyaq
The Skoda on rapid charge

There is a caveat to this range, of course. As the temperatures have started to fall, so has the Enyaq’s range. Currently, a full charge is showing just shy of 280 miles – some way off the 317 claimed. It’s still a really usable amount of range, I might add, but if your petrol or diesel car suddenly travelled 50 miles less from a tank of fuel, I imagine you’d be a little concerned.

But I’ve been finding the charging side of things pretty breezy. I’ve not got a home wallbox installed, but I’m lucky to have a reliable 7kW a short walk away. Around once a week plug it in here, leave it to charge to 80 per cent (the recommended level to help preserve the battery) and I’m golden for the next few days. Even with a slightly smaller amount of range, I’ve found that the Enyaq has more than enough juice for a week’s worth of bimbling about.

And boy, does the pre-conditioning come in handy. Before you leave the car, you can pre-set when you’d like it to warm up – heated seats and all. Now the weather has turned particularly wintery, it’s been a real bonus and helps to take the edge off the chilly mornings while making sure your car is free from ice when you’re ready to head off.

You’re meant to be able to do it via the Skoda app – and you should be able to activate it at a moment’s notice this way, rather than presetting it – but sadly I just can’t seem to make it work. Every time I try to kickstart the Enyaq’s heating I get an error message. At this point, I can only see the car’s battery level and its charging status if it’s plugged in. Still handy, I’ll admit, but some way off the functionality that the app promises. Hopefully, there’s an update in the pipeline to help resolve this.

Skoda Enyaq
The 80x gets dual electric motors

There’s been a fair bit of criticism levelled at this most recent Volkswagen Group infotainment, which finds itself at the centre of cars like the Enyaq, as well as the Volkswagen ID.3 and Cupra Born. For the most part, I’ve not had any issues, though recently CarPlay – which is my go-to – refused to open properly. I also had an issue where I could connect a phone call but no one on the other end could hear me. I stopped the car, locked it and unlocked it and the issue had vanished – but it was weird all the same.

The screen also takes a while to ‘warm up’ and is a bit slow initially. I’d forgive an old desktop running Windows ‘95 for this, but not the very latest system from a big car company. That said, when it is firing on all cylinders it’s quick and easy to navigate and Apple CarPlay displays really nicely and fills the entirety of the screen, rather than appearing like a postage stamp as it does on some other cars with the smartphone connectivity systems.

I feel like the next few months are definitely going to be a learning curve and I’ve got a lot of miles to travel over the Christmas period, so we’ll have to see what the future has in store for the Enyaq. It’s going to be interesting, that’s for sure.

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