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New Skoda Enyaq iV vRS 2023 review

Skoda's hot electric SUV is a useful addition to the range, but doesn't do enough to become its highlight

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

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Verdict

Viewed in isolation, the Enyaq vRS has plenty going for it. It looks sharp, yet (colour aside) subtle. It’s incredibly practical, and both comfortable and relaxing to drive. Yet while even the combustion vRS models aren’t the most focussed performance cars, the Enyaq version really feels little different to a standard model from lower down the range. Combined with the high price, it’s a hard car to justify over the cheaper and still very appealing mainstream Skoda Enyaq.

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This is the Enyaq iV vRS SUV which, along with its Enyaq vRS Coupe sibling that we’ve already sampled in the UK, is an early indicator from Skoda of how a high performance model for the brand will look as it heads into an electric future. 

If our test car is anything to go by, it’s a bright future. Literally. It’s hard to blend in when you’re driving a 4.6-metre long SUV finished in the lurid Hyper Green seen in our pictures. It’s certainly eye-catching, even if the no-cost shade reminds us a little too much of an ambulance. 

It’s got the lighting to compete with an emergency vehicle, too; the front grille comes with an illuminated crystal facade made up of 131 LEDs. That grille then sits between a pair of Matrix LED headlights.

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Grille and paint aside, the Enyaq’s vRS transformation is fairly subtle. There are deeper bumpers front and rear, with the one at the back fitted with a full-width reflector strip mounted low within the lower black panel. Wheels measure 20 inches as standard, with larger 21-inch items available for an extra £620.

This test car was also equipped with the Maxx pack, which essentially ticks all of the option boxes and bundles them into a single group of extras. Electric front seats, park assist, rear side airbags, heated seats all round, an uprated Canton sound system and a head up display are among the long list of features that you get for £4,280.

It also adds a set of adaptive dampers, which give the driver a chance to add a little more sharpness to the driving experience after a few prods of the touchscreen. 

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It’s not a transformative upgrade, though. Tackle a couple of corners and it remains stable but rather inert, both in terms of the overall balance and the response, precision and feedback that you get through the steering.

In fact, we found ourselves generally steering clear of the Sport mode, as it added a little more fidget to the ride without delivering enough engagement. Left in its softest settings, the vRS maintains the standard car’s soothing attitude.

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And that will be fine for most people, but the problem is that when people see the vRS badge, they will expect a level of performance - and the Enyaq doesn’t really feel that quick. Power comes from a pair of electric motors, with 295bhp and 460Nm the result. In theory, that should be plenty - after all, that’s near-identical to a Golf GTI Clubsport’s power, with the addition of a lot more torque. But a Golf doesn’t have over two tonnes of mass to shift. 

On paper, the 0-62mph time of 6.5 seconds seems respectable but it’s only three tenths of a second quicker than the Enyaq 80x Sportline Plus. Factor in a soft throttle response mixed with the typically smooth, linear acceleration you get with most electric motors - not to mention that you only get the full beans if the battery is in a certain level of charge and condition - and you rarely, if ever, get the excitement you’re hoping for. 

Brake regen can be controlled on the fly via paddles mounted to the steering wheel. The ability to tailor the exact amount of deceleration you need, as you need it, gives a level of control that we wished was the norm across all electric cars.

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Skoda has got some other areas very right, as well. Take the cabin, which feels better finished than pretty much any other car riding on the Volkswagen Group MEB platform, including VW’s own ID.4 GTX - the Enyaq’s closest rival. 

The vRS treatment includes a three spoke sports steering wheel, lots of alcantara trim, and highlighter pen-coloured stitching to match that exterior paint job. The front seats are supportive, the back seats have loads of space, and the 585-litre boot is enormous for the class.  

Charging and battery specs for the vRS are largely similar to the rest of the existing Enyaq range. A 77kWh (usable) battery delivers a WLTP range of 321 miles, and even on long motorway runs with the air conditioning working hard to offset unseasonably warm British weather, we were getting roughly 280 miles between charges. At lower speeds, that claimed figure seems entirely plausible. With 135kW charging, you don’t have to wait too long to carry on your way, either.

While we have no real gripes with the way that the vRS drives, behaves from day to day or delivers on space and kit, the thing is that we could say the same of any of the other Enyaqs in the range. And they’re all cheaper. Prices for the vRS start from £52,670 before you add any extras, which is fairly strong money for a car that doesn’t feel much different from a standard Enyaq iV 80 that costs almost £10,000 less.

Model:Skoda Enyaq iV vRS
Price:£52,670
Powertrain:77kWh battery/2x e-motors
Power/torque:295bhp/460Nm
Transmission:Single-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
0-62mph:6.5 seconds
Top speed:111 mph
Range:321 miles
Charging:135kW (0-80% in 36 mins)
On sale:Now
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Chief reviewer

Alex joined Auto Express as staff writer in early 2018, helping out with news, drives, features, and the occasional sports report. His current role of Chief reviewer sees him head up our road test team, which gives readers the full lowdown on our comparison tests.

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