With a bright red ŠKODA ENYAQ and enthusiasm in our hearts, we set off for the City of Love. How will this popular electric SUV fare in the bustling urban jungle of Paris, and how will it cope with the long trip there? Is the big city its territory, and will it be love at first drive? Or will the velvet red lacquer of love fade quickly?

ŠKODA ENYAQ iV | 210 kW (286 PS) | 77 kWh battery | 535-563 km | 5-door model
from € 48,900 | test car price € 65,629.99 | Manufacturer’s website

A Mercedes SL Pagoda or Citroën DS, the undisputed goddesses of automotive engineering, would probably make a better impression on the Parisian promenade than our bright red test car. But as the saying goes, you can’t always get what you want, not even on the Avenue des Champs Élysées, so we’re cruising around the City of Love in a ŠKODA ENYAQ iV – an eSUV rather than a convertible, a family car rather than a collectable. However, that didn’t take anything away from this unique trip to the French metropolis. On the contrary, we’ll never forget our days in Paris and the ŠKODA ENYAQ iV played a significant role in that. But more about that later. There might be better cars for navigating narrow streets, squeezing into small car parks and braving the hustle and bustle of big cities, but hey – that’s life!

The ŠKODA ENYAQ iV looks bigger than it is…
…but it can get tight in the urban jungle.

For our DOWNTOWN Magazine, we made a big production in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, held a fashion shoot in the streets of Paris, rode the latest cargo bikes through the urban jungle, met up with good friends and simply had an unforgettable time. At the heart of it all was the red ŠKODA. For years, the Czechs have been known to add their own highlights to VW’s solid, mass-produced technology. Škoda models are often a little bigger than comparable models from the rest of the group. At a hefty € 65,000, our test car is hardly a bargain. However, the ŠKODA ENYAQ 85x Sportline comes fully equipped with all the bells and whistles. So how did the red mum-mobile handle the trip to Paris, and what’s it like to navigate through the city? The idea of driving through the night to watch the sunrise over the seine with café au lait and a fresh croissant is certainly appealing, but is it a good idea in the ŠKODA ENYAQ iV Sportline?

ŠKODA ENYAQ iV on test – Prices and features

If you’re in the market for an affordable electric car, the ŠKODA ENYAQ iV may not be the best fit for you. With a starting price just shy of € 50,000, there are other options that might be of more interest, such as the Tesla Model Y in its long-range version or the BYD Seal U, both of which offer a more exciting experience compared to the relatively conservative Czech SUV. At least the entry-level ENYAQ model has the same 210 kW output and 77 kWh net battery capacity as our almost fully equipped Sportline model. Also, thanks to its rear-wheel drive configuration, it tends to have a lower energy consumption than the four-wheel drive model we tested. As with many VW Group EVs, the ŠKODA ENYAQ iV is built on the MEB platform, and shares the same wheelbase as the VW ID.4. However, at 4.65 metres, it is 8 cm longer than its dissimilar sibling.

Despite the good vibes in the front: it’s mainly the rear passengers who benefit from the panoramic sunroof.

Our test car certainly makes a strong visual statement. This is largely due to the striking Velvet Red metallic paintwork, which costs a whopping € 1,030, and the stylish 21” black-painted Supernova alloy wheels, available for a modest extra € 750. And the features leave little to be desired – the € 3,700 MAXX package lives up to its name and offers everything you could wish for. Highlights include memory sports seats with cloth/leather upholstery and a massage function on the driver’s side, a panoramic sunroof, Matrix LED headlights with dynamic high-beam assistant, a heated windscreen, a twelve-speaker CANTON sound system, and just about every conceivable driver assist system. For our production needs in Paris, the transport pack (€ 360) proved invaluable, with a variable boot floor, remote seatback release, cargo elements to secure luggage in the boot, as well as the luggage partition (€ 190).

The ŠKODA ENYAQ 85x Sportline inside and out

Our red ŠKODA ENYAQ 85x Sportline has a distinctly sporty aesthetic, accentuated by its striking paintwork and large-diameter rims. Overall, the eSUV’s design is rather understated, but not without eye-catching elements. The all-black grille, for example, gives the family car a powerful look, especially when illuminated in the dark. In general, we liked the continuous LED strip and light graphics at the front, whereas the rear looks rather dull – both by day and by night. The slightly sloping roofline and Velvet Red paintwork, which emphasises the beading and edges, give the exterior added visual impact.

A total of three displays are available.
The rear is really spacious, a big plus for families.

The first thing you notice when you get behind the wheel is the sporty yet comfortable seats and the extremely spacious feel. Despite the panoramic sunroof, which primarily benefits rear-seat passengers, the ENYAQ still offers plenty of room for taller people. There’s ample space in the rear seats, too. Our small passengers, including a child seat and accompanying parent, always had plenty of room. Speaking of the sunroof, it is operated by touch and swipe, which takes some getting used to, but it works reliably and adds a bit of a high-tech feel to the family car. The build quality is generally good, although there’s a fair amount of plastic used throughout. Materials such as faux leather and carbon fibre, found on the steering wheel and trim strips, may have a high-end look, but they’re still plastic – and they feel like it. The quality of the materials is noticeably lower below the waistline, and above the centre of the headrests, but this is now almost standard. All in all, there’s little to criticise about the ŠKODA ENYAQ’s interior, except that it struggles to evoke any particularly strong emotions, especially against the breathtaking backdrop of Paris, and therefore feels a little out of place.

You can lose track of a few things in the interior of the ŠKODA ENYAQ, which is certainly not meant as a criticism. There are storage compartments in the doors, a fairly large glove box and a spacious two-tiered centre console. Without the divider, there would be space for a large water bottle; “form follows function” seems to have missed the mark here. The same goes for the inductive charging points. The slot on the right is too small for larger smartphones, and our iPhone hardly charged at all, but became uncomfortably hot in the process. Maybe nice as a hand warmer in winter, but it’s probably not what Apple had in mind. On a more positive note, we liked the small, nicely integrated gear selector lever.

Assist systems in the ŠKODA ENYAQ: Laissez-faire in the wrong place

In the top-of-the-range version, the ŠKODA ENYAQ is equipped with a plethora of assist systems. Not that the base model is lacking in this respect, offering Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist and Turning Assist, including Swerve Assist. However, these features are now considered standard – and Cruise Control without Distance Control is no longer up to date. Our flagship Sportline MAXX model, on the other hand, has a very futuristic feature set. It has everything that money can buy in the VW range at the moment: Predictive Adaptive Cruise Control (pACC), Lane Change Assist and Rear Traffic Alert, as well as Exit Warning, Adaptive Lane Keep Assist and Traffic Jam Assist – these are all part of the Travel Assist Package Plus included in the MAXX line. However, despite the impressive lineup, the Czech eSUV doesn’t always live up to its potential. On the contrary, it disappoints in terms of connectivity, navigation and driver assistance. While the Adaptive Cruise Control, which automatically takes traffic signs into account, usually works very well, the Lane Keep Assist is frankly just annoying. In city traffic it is overly nervous, darting back and forth between the lane markings on narrow roads, while on the motorway it sometimes gives the impression that the Lane Assist is not active at all, as it often intervenes extremely late, as though it has stopped paying attention. Outside city limits the ACC also shows its weaknesses: Misinterpreted speed signs can lead to sudden and harsh braking, and sharp bends can cause anxiety as the car brakes either too late or not at all. On the other hand, the Driver Drowsiness Detection sometimes beeps even if you have a firm grip on the steering wheel but are not steering… because your route goes straight ahead.

The cameras make the eSUV look wider than it actually is.
However, you better avoid tight parking spaces.

The navigation is based on Google Maps and is primarily controlled via the centrally positioned infotainment system, with a 13″ capacitive colour display in landscape format. However, the menu navigation takes some getting used to. It is neither intuitive nor self-explanatory. The main display is flanked by a small display behind the steering wheel, along with a head-up display (HUD) that is projected onto the windscreen and served us well – as long as the navigation system actually worked. Unfortunately, navigation proved to be a real headache, especially in the narrow and busy centre of Paris. It would inexplicably crash, forcing us to restart it in the middle of traffic or even take a detour – stopping in heavy traffic isn’t really an option. Another problem is that one of the cameras frequently activates, for example when driving close to an obstacle in stop-and-go traffic, blocking the view of the navigation system, and you can’t just click it away. Thankfully, the HUD helped us out on several occasions. However, if you have to rely on your passenger to help you navigate, that rather defeats the point – you might as well just hand them a map. The screen is also occasionally unresponsive to input, which is rather frustrating. Equally annoying is the fact that it takes three clicks to turn off the now obligatory speed warning.

However, we were impressed by the sound system in the ŠKODA ENYAQ. The twelve speakers deliver clear, powerful sound that doesn’t distort even at high volumes. The CANTON system even excels at reproducing the delicate tones of a French chanson. What else did we notice? The multifunction steering wheel is intuitive to use, though the voice assistant sometimes doesn’t listen very carefully and the seat heating doesn’t get warm enough for the perpetually cold among us.

Our test and driving impressions of the ŠKODA ENYAQ 85x Sportline

To get to the point: The eSUV from the Czech Republic isn’t built for sporty driving. It’s more about comfort, confidence and calm – at least, when the overly nervous Lane Keep Assist is switched off. The car grips the road well thanks to its weight and the large tires. Wind and road noise are also effectively muffled inside the car. Even the usual electric hum at low speeds isn’t disturbing. More apparent are the somewhat pronounced rolling movements during fast cornering. Overall, the ŠKODA ENYAQ 85x offers a very comfortable driving experience thanks to its well-tuned suspension, and always has enough power for overtaking on country roads. In general, the suburbs are the ideal territory for the not-exactly-compact family car, which at 4.65 metres long and 1.88 metres wide, is not as big as it looks. For comparison, a Tesla Model Y is 10 cm longer and 4 cm wider, and the Czech model has a much larger boot capacity of 550-1,710 litres. It’s also easy to load, although the seats don’t fold completely flat. Nevertheless, we managed to fit three mountain bikes in the back, thanks to some expert Tetris skills. The manufacturer opted not to include a frunk, however resourceful suppliers are already offering DIY solutions. We prefer to stow the charging cable under the bonnet.

Even in Paris, the Velvet Red paintwork is an eye-catcher.
The ŠKODA ENYAQ iV looks a little out of place against the breathtaking backdrop of the City of Love.

During our extensive production in Paris, we spent a lot of time navigating the city’s dense traffic. For several reasons, the car feels bigger than it is. Firstly, the headrests integrated into the seats obstruct the view when looking over your shoulder. The large side mirrors help a little, though. Secondly, the parking sensors are too sensitive for our liking, and the cameras also distort reality. Especially in narrow streets, or when reversing into a parking space, you get the feeling that you are manoeuvring a massive off-roader, only to realise when you get out that there is easily 30-50 cm more space around the vehicle than you thought. Of course, this negates the benefits of the surprisingly small turning circle. At times we found ourselves wishing we could hop on one of the cargo bikes from our big group test and effortlessly cruise around the city in style. Paris, as it happens, is the perfect city for cargo bikes.

The ŠKODA ENYAQ 85x Sportline – Charging and touring performance

The number 85 in the model name of the ŠKODA ENYAQ 85x Sportline could lead you to expect an 85 kWh traction battery. But that’s not the case: the battery has a capacity of 82 kWh, and that’s gross. Only 77 kWh is actually usable. Only? Yes, only. Though this may sound like a lot, given the SUV’s weight and drag coefficient of 0.257 (Tesla Model Y: 0.23), it only provides an average range of around 320-360 kilometres. The factory specification suggests a range of up to 563 km, but the calculated average consumption of 13.7 kWh/100 km is hardly feasible, even at low speeds. More important than capacity, however, is charging speed. And this is where the little “X” in the name makes all the difference. The four-wheel drive vehicle can charge at DC fast charging stations at up to 175 kW, while the rear-wheel drive vehicle can only charge at 125 kW.

We had to deal with several interruptions while charging.

The navigation system in the ŠKODA ENYAQ isn’t very helpful when it comes to finding a fast charging station with up to 300 kW of charging power. It’s best to rely on a separate app on your smartphone. Integration of potential charging points into a route could certainly be improved. For example, it’s sometimes unclear whether a point of interest (POI) is a charging point or a petrol station. In addition, it takes two clicks to display the expected state of charge (SOC) at the destination or the nearest charging point. We also encountered some problems when charging, but these weren’t necessarily due to the car. For example, we were unable to charge at two charging points. We also had spontaneous charging interruptions, or had to plug and unplug several times before the charger could connect to the car. This was unnecessarily stressful, especially in the hectic city centre traffic of Paris. We would also have liked to see a more powerful regenerative braking system to enable true one-pedal driving.

The journey from our headquarters near Stuttgart to the City of Love was no picnic either. Due to several charging stops, the 600-kilometre journey, mostly on motorways, took a full two hours longer than in the diesel vans that set off at the same time, carrying all our production equipment. The bottom line is that the Czech eSUV has limited suitability for long journeys – and certainly not under time pressure. Long-distance trips with cranky children in the car are also unlikely to be particularly relaxed.

Who is the ŠKODA ENYAQ EV for?

Despite the “Sportline” suffix, the ŠKODA ENYAQ 85x is a typical family car – although it certainly looks quite sporty in our test configuration, with its striking red paintwork. The eSUV offers plenty of space in the interior and boot, coupled with a comfortable and confident driving experience. Adventurers will also get their money’s worth with the ENYAQ, as long as they don’t travel too far, and there are charging points nearby. Patience is required on long journeys due to the rather high consumption and slow charging speed. Business travellers and frequent drivers may be best looking at other options. Ultimately, the ŠKODA ENYAQ is a family car for suburban living and will definitely be popular with this target group. However, it is less suitable for navigating narrow city centres.

Conclusion on the ŠKODA ENYAQ 85x Sportline

The ŠKODA ENYAQ 85x Sportline in eye-catching Velvet Red promises more than it delivers, and failed to impress us in Paris. It hides its mediocrity well behind a visually appealing exterior. Manoeuvring the car in the urban jungle is a challenge, not least because of the over-sensitive, beeping parking sensors. The rather high energy consumption, coupled with the conservative charging capacity, requires patience on long journeys. The ŠKODA is also no bargain. However, it does offer a comfortable and spacious electric car experience.


  • high quality build
  • minimal driving noise in the interior
  • spacious interior
  • many assist systems


  • spontaneous navigation crashes
  • overly nervous, beeping parking sensors
  • distorted cameras
  • rather high energy consumption

More information via skoda-auto.com

Words: Patrick Gruber Photos: Robin Schmitt