Skoda's hot electric SUV is a useful addition to the range but doesn't do enough to become its highlight
3.5 out of 5
The Skoda Enyaq is one of our favourite family-friendly electric cars and the Czech firm’s vRS performance badge has adorned plenty of engaging performance cars, so it’s a shame the Enyaq vRS doesn’t quite stack up. As in the lesser Enyaq versions, the full SUV model here makes more sense than the coupe SUV variant, but even with this extra practicality, the vRS is far from the best in the range.
Skoda’s vRS performance sub-brand has been a jack of all trades since we first saw it on the first-generation Octavia in 2001. Since then it’s appeared on diesel hot hatchbacks, plug-in hybrid estates, seven-seat SUVs and now it features on a fully-electric car – the Enyaq vRS.
We find the Enyaq more engaging to drive than the Kamiq and Karoq SUVs so there’s plenty of promise around this new direction for the vRS brand. On paper the full-sized SUV version looks pretty similar to the recently-launched Enyaq Coupe vRS. Both will do 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds, courtesy of a 77.2kWh battery powering an electric motor on each axle, and both will go on to a top speed of 111mph. Although the Enyaq vRS SUV features the same powertrain as the coupe version, range is 12 miles higher at 321 miles, thanks to a better aerodynamic drag coefficient.
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The dual-motor setup allows for 295bhp (the same as an Alpine A110 S, no less) and a punchy 460Nm of torque. However, if you take a quick look at the existing Enyaq lineup, the cheaper 80x Sportline model offers 261bhp and 425Nm of torque for a 0-62mph time of 6.9 seconds – using the same battery as the vRS. Like other Enyaqs with the same battery, a 10-80 per cent top-up is possible in 36 minutes thanks to 135kW charging.
As you may expect from the stats, on the move the vRS doesn’t feel too different from other Enyaqs that use the 77.2kWh battery, although that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Of course, there’s the instantaneous acceleration from standstill that you get with most pure-electric cars and Skoda has clearly worked on giving the vRS a slightly sportier edge without compromising the Enyaq's mostly composed ride. You’d be hard-pressed to notice the extra power in the vRS, because it’s delivered in the same smooth way as in the regular car.
Skoda has fitted sports suspension to the Enyaq vRS, resulting in a 15mm drop in ride height at the front and a 10mm drop at the rear. This and the larger 21-inch wheels do cause a few more jolts to filter through to the seats than in the standard car but it's never uncomfortable. The adaptive damping system comes as an option but it doesn’t add much to the driving experience so we’d leave that box unticked.
Unfortunately, the slight compromise in ride quality doesn’t result in equal gains in driving dynamics. Pitch the Enyaq vRS into a tight corner with some enthusiasm and you’ll find the front washing away with some disappointing understeer. If you’re careful with your inputs there’s scope to loosen the rear end mid-corner but few will find joy in doing so with very little feedback coming through the chassis or indeed the silent powertrain.
The electric motor on the rear axle is the more powerful of the two so you do get a sense the vRS is rear-driven, although traction control is keen to step in if any tyre slip occurs. While the Enyaq vRS is well over two tonnes, there’s surprisingly little body roll and it does feel balanced as a whole with the weight evenly distributed between the axles. On twisty B-roads you do have to treat each corner separately rather than attempting to flow them together, however.
There’s also a few driving modes to pick from in the vRS. Eco mode limits the amount of power to promote efficiency and maximise range, Normal is a balance of maximum power and softly weighted steering and Sport lessens the traction control, adds some steering weight and sets the suspension to its stiffest setting. There’s also a Traction setting for the mildest of off-roading environments and a Comfort mode which sets the damping to its softest setting. In reality you’ll struggle to pick out the difference between the modes in everyday driving.
The Enyaq vRS feels similar to the Volkswagen ID.5 GTX to drive, being based on the same MEB platform, but the interior certainly feels more polished than that of its German cousin.
There are two exclusive interior options for the vRS – RS Lounge and RS Suite. The two have varying amounts of black Alcantara and black leather dotted around the cabin – strikingly contrasted with lime green stitching.
The overall layout of the cabin is as straightforward and ergonomic as we’ve come to expect from Skoda, with plenty of storage room front and rear and oodles of head and legroom all round. Some hard touch plastics on the doors bring the tone down a little but it certainly feels like a premium product inside the vRS. A 13-inch touchscreen is plonked on top of the dash, which is good because it gives your wrist somewhere to rest while using it. The system is still a little laggy however and the integrated climate controls are a tad annoying. The huge touch-sensitive bar to operate the volume underneath the screen is best left alone.
Unlike the coupe, the Enyaq vRS won’t require rear passengers to duck as they enter, although there’s only an extra 15-litres of boot space over the more rakish model – something plenty of buyers will probably accept as a compromise for the extra style of the coupe.
The Enyaq vRS still features plenty of what makes the regular Enyaq a great EV, but at £52,670 it comes with significantly extra outlay. The mid-range 80 Sportline offers 12 miles extra range, similar driving characteristics and a £3,765 saving.
Skoda Enyaq iV vRS
77kWh batt./2x e-motors
Single-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
135kW (10-80% 36 mins)
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