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Road tests

New Skoda Elroq prototype review: electric SUV shows plenty of promise

The new Skoda Elroq is heavily-based on the Enyaq, albeit in a slightly smaller package

Verdict

The Skoda Elroq doesn’t break as much new ground for the Czech brand as the Enyaq did, not least because it shares so much with that vehicle. But it already feels like a really well-judged offering that’s poised to deliver enough of Skoda’s typical practicality at a keener price point. 

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The Skoda Enyaq has been a breakthrough vehicle for the brand, as more open-minded electric car customers adopt its most expensive model ever over cars from supposedly more premium manufacturers. Now the Czechs are hoping to build on that solid base with their second bespoke all-electric offering: the Elroq. And we’ve had an early chance to see how it’s shaping up.

The first thing we notice about the Elroq, as we approach it in a car park beside Amsterdam’s old Olympic stadium, is how similar it looks to both the Enyaq and the conventionally powered Skoda Karoq. Indeed, the name is designed to pay tribute to both of those models, showcasing the fact that Skoda considers this car to be ‘an electric Karoq’.

The whole car is plastered in camouflage wrap, but it’s already clear that the front end features Skoda’s forthcoming ‘Tech Deck Face’, incorporating a number of sensors in a flush panel and helping to introduce a new overall design language called Modern Solid. There’s no sign of a traditional badge, even under the disguise – so expect the car to feature a wider bonnet ‘power dome’ and the SKODA name spelt out in the new corporate typeface instead. This treatment will then be adopted by a facelifted Enyaq that’s due later next year, of course.

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The profile looks significantly less radical than the front-end design; from the side, the Elroq could easily be a successor to the current Karoq, and it looks extremely similar to the Enyaq up to the rear door. Beyond that point – well, beyond the rear wheels – there’s noticeably less overhang than in the larger car. As rumoured, it looks all but certain that the Elroq will have a very similar wheelbase to the Enyaq’s (if not completely identical, we’d wager), but a smaller boot. That’s where you’ll be saving money – assuming that, as expected, the Elroq’s price point is a little lower. Expect it to slot in between the Enyaq and the baby Skoda Epiq (due later) on size and cost, therefore.

Skoda is paranoid about leaking images of the Elroq’s interior, but it feels reassuringly familiar from the driver’s seat; there’s a whopping infotainment screen that’s the same 13-inch display as that fitted to the Enyaq, albeit with updated software. The five-inch instrument cluster is the same small panel as in that car, too – although since the Elroq is based on the VW Group’s ubiquitous MEB platform, there will be the option of a head-up display too, complete with augmented-reality assistance on navigation instructions.

We do have some proper tech info on powertrains, at least. There will be four available, badged Elroq 50, 60, 85 and 85x. The entry point will have 168bhp from its rear-mounted motor and a gross battery capacity of 55kWh; the 60 boosts the output to 201bhp and increases the battery size to 63kWh (gross). The range-topping 85 gets an 82kWh battery (gross) for a claimed range of more than 348 miles, and a single 282bhp motor – while the 85x adds a further motor at the front for a combined output of 295bhp and four-wheel drive. 

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The 85s will also be the fastest-charging variants in the range, with a maximum rate of 175kW – although Skoda claims that the varying battery sizes mean that all versions can get from 10 to 80 per cent in under 28 minutes. The brand also says that pre-conditioning can be activated automatically, assuming you’ve asked the in-car navigation to take you to a rapid charging station, or manually via a button in the digital interface.

We’re driving a rear-drive 85 today, and over Amsterdam’s fairly lumpy thoroughfare, the Elroq instantly makes a decent case for itself. Our car is sitting on 20-inch wheels (the middle spec, since they’ll range from 19 to 21 inches in size), but there’s every sign that the focus on comfort that made the Enyaq one of the most rounded of all the VW Group’s initial wave of EVs is going to work its magic here too. There’s a bit of body roll and head toss, but these are a price worth paying for such decent insulation between the lumps, bumps, manhole covers and potholes beneath.

The steering is inert but consistently weighted and while there’s no real involvement to be had here, the car feels secure and faithful – as a Skoda should.

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Niggles? The Elroq might feel more than quick enough overall, but the pedal weights and modulation still need some work. This is an early prototype, of course, and the calibration might not be based on the latest software available. But the left-hand pedal is a little grabby in its first few centimetres of travel (though the transition beyond that is better sorted) and the throttle is simply too sensitive in its initial movement to facilitate smooth driving around town. Hopefully these issues will be ironed out during final production sign-off – which has some way to run, since Skoda doesn’t expect sales to start until the end of this year. First UK deliveries are expected in spring 2025.

The rest of the cabin backs up the suspicion that the Elroq’s wheelbase is the same as the Enyaq’s, because there’s tons of space in the rear seats for three adults – comfortably more than in a petrol or diesel-powered Karoq. The Elroq’s boot capacity is 470 litres – a little down on the Karoq’s – although this can rise to 1,580 litres if you fold down the second row of seats. 

Skoda has added a couple of new Simply Clever features too, including a net that’s attached to the underside of the rear parcel shelf – an ideal spot for a charging cable, the company believes, although you’d need to take care that it doesn’t drip water all over the items beneath it on a typical winter’s morning. 

Model:Skoda Elroq 85
Price:£37,000 (est)
Powertrain:82kWh battery (gross), 1x e-motor
Power:282bhp
Transmission:Single-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
0-62mph:TBC
Top speed:112mph
Range:>348 miles
Max charging:175kW, 10-80% in 28 mins
Size (L/W/H):TBC
On sale:December (est.)
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Editor-at-large

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

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