Škoda electrifies Kiwi line-up with all-new Enyaq 80

Mar 10, 2023

The highly anticipated Škoda Enyaq 80 – the Czech brand’s first ever fully electric model – has arrived in New Zealand. And in typical Škoda fashion, the local distributor has taken a belt-and-braces approach to offering plenty of options for owners, right down to body style.

It’s all-change for almost every automotive manufacturer in existence right now, with both legislative mandate and buyer demand seeing electric vehicles rise and rise in popularity. For mainstream carmakers, if you don’t have a model option offering customers some form of electrification, then you’re playing in the wrong sandbox.

And for European brand Škoda, the Enyaq 80 EV is its ‘Year Zero’ moment.

More than just a range addition though, the Enyaq 80 also signifies a whole new look for the brand; new design strategy, new logo. The new model is also the jumping off point for Škoda’s push into the premium end of the market.

The local distributor has done wonders in getting the Enyaq 80 to our shores so swiftly after its home market debut. In fact, New Zealand is the first country outside Europe to receive it. And as to be expected, Škoda New Zealand has high hopes for the new nameplate when it goes on sale locally at the end of February.

There will be three model options for Kiwi buyers, starting at $79,990 plus on-road costs. (Škoda Enyaq Sportline, arriving Q3 2023). That price means a $7,015 Clean Car Rebate will be possible on that Sportline model. (While government fund available)

The Enyaq 80 will be available in two body styles, with both solid-looking SUV and fastback coupe-style silhouettes available. Both versions (which are driven by a single motor set-up) feature a long wheelbase with short overhangs at each end, and a chunky, robust-looking stance.

Pushing the wheels out to each corner makes the most of the MEB platform that the car is built on (this is the standardised modular architecture that the wider Volkswagen Group builds all of its electric vehicles on). The battery in the floor between the wheels help immeasurably with both handling and packaging: all that weight down low is great for keeping the car solidly planted on roads (especially windy ones, like they specialise in through the backblocks of Otago where motoring media got to sample the new model during February). And without the need for the conventional transmission tunnel, the flat floored Enyaq has acres of legroom and storage space for passengers in the rear.

Mind you, this kind of stuff is something those miracle workers at Škoda have excelled at for multiple generations of models now. If you’ve ever stretched out in the rear seat of a Superb Combi (wagon) and then marvelled at all the boot space behind you, you’ll know what we mean.

The Enyaq 80’s battery offers up 82kWh gross power (77kWh net) and Škoda reckons it’ll take around 30 minutes to charge from 0% to 80%. On a full charge, the WLTP test figure for the Enyaq 80 is 544km for the coupe version, and 532km for the SUV (put that difference down to the slightly more svelte aerodynamics of the coupe). There’s not much in it though and, with the average Kiwi daily commute less than 30km, it’s feasible many owners will go days without needing to charge their vehicle.

The Škoda Enyaq 80 can even ‘learn’ the owner’s driving habits to predict battery range more accurately. It will take about 500km of driving usual routes and journeys for the Enyaq 80 to predict range more accurately. Once that initial assessment period is over, it will constantly analyse driving performance in real time to provide up-to-date range data. The upshot is that the driver should aways know with certainty how much range is left before the battery needs to be charged up again, which is great for peace-of-mind.

The Enyaq 80 arrives standard with both an AC charge cable for public and home use, as well as a 3.6kW AC charge cable for emergencies. So keen is Škoda New Zealand to get its customer base electrified (so to speak), that it has partnered with local charging infrastructure specialist Evnex to make the process of installing a wallbox at home as seamless as possible. Škoda says Evnex will be available to take new owners through the whole process, from planning where the wallbox will go, to helping owners learn how to use it once it’s been installed.

Out on the roads of Otago the Enyaq 80 really shone: obvious practicality around town effortlessly substituted with a comfortable engaging drive beyond the town belt. Power delivery is great, with that signature ‘no lag’ feel of the electric motor spooling up and providing for an instantaneous response from the accelerator. The great trick that most of the new breed of electric vehicles like the Enyaq 80 pulls off, is that they feel like drivers’ cars, even when they are disguised as family vehicles. The Enyaq 80’s powertrain delivers 150kW maximum power, with 310Nm maximum torque.

And because it’s Škoda and the play towards practicality needs to remain strong, it also has a 1000kg braked tow rating. Paired with the available battery range and, especially in SUV guise with its 585-litre boot, this thing is every bit as much a grand tourer for the summer season as it is a carbon emissions-free commuter tool.

It looks great at night too, thanks to some trick premium tech up front. While the entire range features Matrix LED headlights as standard, in Sportline Max trim the Enyaq 80 features a special ‘Crystal’ grille design which illuminates the entire nose of the car with both horizontal and vertical LED strips. Owners can choose from three light sequences when locking or unlocking the car. Above the grille sits Škoda’s new-look logo and a little detail for trainspotters: the centreline of the bonnet (a signature design feature of all Škodas) will always be inverted on the manufacturer’s electric models, rather than sit proud of the sheet metal as it does on ICE models. Every Enyaq 80 also features LED taillights at the rear.

The premium experience extends inside Škoda’s new EV, with a high-quality feeling cabin dominated by a large infotainment touchscreen and comfortable sports seats (which are also heated). More nods to Škoda’s top shelf approach to spec’ing the Enyaq 80 include subtle ambient lighting, carbon effect accents through the doors and dashboard to contrast with stitched leatherette, and a newly designed full colour Virtual Cockpit ahead of the driver. This easy-to-navigate screen provides all manner of data for the driver, including navigation info (when paired with a smartphone), available range and driver safety assistance alerts.

Sticking with the Enyaq 80’s interior, brand fans will be pleased to discover some of those old favourite Škoda elements remain, such as the umbrella integrated into the driver’s door, the ice scraper (now in the tailgate rather than behind the ‘fuel’ flap), dedicated pockets for mobile phones in the back of the front seats and a standard cargo net for the boot paired with handy divided storage under the dual-height boot floor.

It’s this sort of stuff that has made Škoda’s name over the decades, irrespective of the powertrain up front. Additionally, though, and like all mainstream manufacturers, it will be electric power that continues to keep the name relevant into the future.

Even the Škoda customer experience gets an overhaul with the arrival of the Enyaq 80. The local distributor has developed an online reservation tool, meaning prospective owners can choose their exact spec of Enyaq 80 from the comfort of home. Or, if they want to explore the car more fully, Škoda New Zealand has kitted out its national dealer network with Virtual Reality headsets designed to give curious customers the ability to sit in and walk around a virtual version of the car.

With its spot-on mix of quality, space and driving engagement paired with truly usable battery range, the Enyaq 80 model line-up is a confident first step into electric mobility from a brand with ever-expanding cache, and the uncanny ability to build cars that just seem to do everything right.