Skoda Enyaq vRS - long term review - Report No:2 2023 | Top Gear
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Long-term review

Skoda Enyaq vRS - long term review

Published: 22 May 2023

Skoda Enyaq vRS: the fastest *and* one of the slowest Skoda road cars ever built

This is the fastest road car Skoda has ever produced. And one of the slowest. You think I’m making some jibe about charging speed, right? Sorry, that sort of lyrical twist is beyond me. I’m talking speed speed, the type you feel, the type that excites.

Or not. We’ll come on to that. In the meantime, this fastest vs slowest business. It’s pretty simple really. With a 0-62mph time of 6.4 seconds the 300bhp Enyaq vRS is quicker than the latest Octavia vRS (6.6secs). And yet, limited to a maximum of 111mph, it’s 15mph slower than a base 1.0-litre Fabia. This is a curious thing for the sportiest electric Skoda, isn’t it? OK, so you don’t need top speed particularly, but where are the bragging rights? Imagine the shame if you found yourself on an autobahn…

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But OK, let’s say your car is never leaving the UK and people were only ever going to ask about the Chick Hitts diamonte moustache, not ‘what’ll it do?’. Actually, we all know that all they’ll ever ask about is all I’ve been asked about so far: range. Which means I haven’t been able to startle anyone with this gem: in our tests it actually did 0-60mph in 5.8secs, putting it right in the thick of the hot hatch action alongside a Hyundai i30N and Volkswagen’s current Golf GTI. vRS holds its head up high!

However, there’s a fair bit to unpack here. It’s 4WD which means no traction issues or scrabbling tyres, there are no gearchange punctuations or powerband hills and troughs to interrupt proceedings, nothing to stem the flow of poooweerr. And yet to 100mph (14.8secs) it’s dropped a hot hatch class, no quicker than a Hyundai i20N or VW Polo GTI. Both of which require a fair bit of traction management and gearbox rowing.

But that’s the point about EVs isn’t it? They’re effortlessly quick right where they need to be, able to zip away from traffic lights or zap overtakes with little preparation. They are impressive to watch, often unpleasant to be in, but they do the job so who cares about top end shove? They have democratised acceleration.

And in opening it up they have upended the rules of speed. No-one really knows where they sit anymore. A vRS should be quick-ish. Not as quick as a GTI, but swifter than, say, a Volvo XC40. But hang about, for the same money as the Enyaq vRS, you can have a twin motor XC40 with over 100bhp more than the vRS, dropping the 0-62mph to 4.9secs. And the Swedes don’t try too hard with their figures because they think no-one cares. There’s a Kia EV6 out there with 575bhp, where does that fit in?

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The hierarchy has been demolished and that’s allowed bold, opportunistic firms such as Tesla and Kia to come in and make their own rules. Alongside them, forced to use whatever bits VW allows and persevere with vRS as a recognised brand identity, Skoda seems stuck in a rut.

And that’s before we get back to talking about the physical performance of this car. Because it’s not fast, and it’s not interesting. Performance is punchy, but no punchier than most other EVs. It’s not notably faster than a regular Enyaq, a Hyundai Ioniq 5 or any other mid-size e-crossover. And there’s absolutely nothing noteworthy about the power delivery. The noise is the same, there’s no more mechanical interaction, no sense of the car engaging with you.

Of course that’s no different from any other electric car (I make a slight exception for the Porsche Taycan), but we know that sport still sells, and if car firms want to claim sportiness they’re going to have to try a lot harder than this. After all, we haven’t even talked about weight yet.

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