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Skoda sticks daft name on svelte style statement

 

Skoda-Enyaq-vRS-1
Skoda-Enyaq-vRS

Perhaps it works in the Czech Republic but Enyaq is like a hybrid of an Irish folk singer, with a wild beast being ridden bareback by Vladimir Putin, and Iain Robertson believes that even a swoopy design will struggle to sell such an ugly image with any success, even resurrecting (falsely) any performance aspiration with vRS badges.

The $64,000 question has been hanging in the ether like an elephant in the room, as to whether or not Skoda has run out of model name creativity. To be frank, I thought that Yeti was stretching it but Enyaq is significantly more milk-curdling than Fabia, or Octavia. I can recall some critics, around the time of Volkswagen pulling off its corporate master-stroke of acquiring the Skoda brand from the Czech government, suggesting that a brand name change was advisable. I believed them to be wrong, as Skoda already possessed such a long and illustrious history, of which the West was largely unaware. Thank heavens it never happened. Yet, model-naming is even more fraught.

Thus Skoda has made its bed, so we must live with it. However, gilding it with the addition of vRS badges is like informing your nation that you have not gone to war, a word, if used locally, that might incur a prison sentence…even though everybody else knows that you have, eh Vlad? To me, a former owner of several Skoda vRS models, the red and green enamel badges and seat embroidery equates to a tasty dynamic performance envelope, which proves that those colours can be seen together and the world became a better place as a result. Now apply them to a BEV with a top speed capped at 99mph and add 12mph to its recipe and it signifies a sell-out and rip-off, of an order in which I never believed Skoda would indulge, as it simply underscores the downside of VW’s corporate marketing machine that clearly consumed far too many Shreddies for breakfast that morning.

Skoda-Enyaq-vRS-2
Skoda-Enyaq-vRS

Of course, the Enyaq has had praise heaped upon it, mostly by the EV set and it is an impressive car, even as a regular SUV-type hatchback, not just this coupe variant. It comes from the same shelves as VW’s I.D. line-up. However, here is the rub…the normal 201bhp power option has been increased to 295bhp for the vRS model but it can hardly be called a high performance alternative, when my old turbo-diesel Octavia vRS could blitz the 0-60mph sprint in just over 6.0s, running out of puff at around 158mph, and the Enyaq vRS, with twin electric motors, all-wheel-drive and 84bhp more than it is slower (6.2s; 111mph) overall, albeit with a purported EV range of 335mls. Okay, I accept that stretching the top whack is pointless these days and driving full tilt everywhere will half the anticipated range but Skoda needs to get off its unrealistic vRS platform.

Set off by its huge diameter alloy wheels (20.0-inch diameter standard, 21.0-inch options) and a garish optional paint scheme, the vRS certainly looks the part and its interior theme maintains it with carbon-fibre trim inserts and perforated hide seats and steering wheel rim. However, there is also a lot of recycled plastics woven into the trim panels that are an understandable addition but which look and feel sub-standard. The dashboard follows the current I.D. pattern of small, programmable readout panel ahead of the driver, with a large touchscreen in the top of the centre stack, through which most of the car’s functions can be summonsed and adjusted to meet personal needs.

Externally, the vRS benefits from intelligent matrix LED headlamps, complete with non-glare functionality, while the mock radiator shell is finished in gloss black (as are the door mirror caps) and illuminated by over 100 LED lights (that can be switched off). The usual vRS full width red reflector bar at the rear is supported by E-shaped LED taillamp clusters. Overall, the car does sit lower than than the stock Enyaq, by 15mm at the front and 10mm at the rear. Featuring an especially lengthy wheelbase does provide unencumbered space within the cabin and, below the stylish hatchback rear door is a massive 570-litre boot area that is ideally shaped to accommodate a folding wheelchair and other mobility aids. The steering wheel paddles are used to adjust the amount of energy recovery, because the car does not possess a conventional transmission.

Skoda-Enyaq-vRS-3
Skoda-Enyaq-vRS-3

The driving position is what I would term typically Skoda good. A huge range of adjustment is available in almost every plane and the ability to simply sit on the edge of the seat prior to swinging in one’s legs, or prosthesis, is massively convenient. Once inside, the amount of space is substantial, even for a driver of two metres height. The high-back front seats are both supportive and very comfortable. Skoda has been especially inventive when devising the aerodynamics package for Enyaq, which features full length underfloor panelling and taut shutlines, all of which contribute to a tremendously slippery drag coefficient of just 0.234. With electronically managed chassis control, which includes anti-slip, stability and traction controls, the Enyaq vRS is as safe as houses in the majority of driving conditions and the tail follows the nose faithfully, even when dipping into its limited performance potential.

 

Conclusion:      Priced from £51,885 the Skoda Enyaq iV vRS, to provide its full name, is not just expensive but is twice the price of my old Octavia vRS of a decade ago. The question is, is it twice the car? The answer is no. While Skoda will be sure to underwrite its lease rates for businesses, the private buyer is not exactly obtaining the bargain value for money that Skoda used to represent. Like the curate’s egg, it is good in parts.

Skoda-Enyaq-vRS-5
Skoda-Enyaq-vRS