TG's long-term Skoda Enyaq vRS: electrical glitches strike again
The Enyaq had been away. I’ll come on to why in a bit. It comes back, I drive it in and out of work, and stick it on charge at home that evening. At breakfast the next morning I check the Skoda app: it’s only added 12 per cent charge. Weird. I go and check. The charging port light glows red. Unplug/replug. No difference. No guidance from the owner's manual beyond the usual patronisation (sample: ‘check the plug is inserted all the way’). The Pod Point home charger isn’t the issue – I check that by plugging in a neighbour’s hybrid.
I’ve got 30 per cent charge so I toddle off to a 150kW DC charger. Same story. There’s a Skoda dealer in Newbury, so I head there. Service manager tells me “we don’t have the correct bit of Enyaq diagnostics equipment to plug in. We’ve been waiting for it for two years now”. He tells me I’ll need to go to Reading or Oxford. I’m down to 22 per cent. If I drive there and they can’t sort it, it’s touch and go whether I’ll have enough charge to get home.
There’s another solution. I speak to Skoda Assist. They have the diagnostic machinery in the vans and can get someone out to me at home the next day. The laptop is plugged in and up pops a diagram of all the car’s ECUs. “Most cars have about 20 or 30 these days,” I’m told, “gone are the days when you just had one for the ignition.” One of the top-line ECUs is showing red: “That’s not good news, when one of those shows red it has a knock-on effect into others.” Sure enough, a lengthy list of fault codes spools up.
I can’t remember the last time a car refused to charge – it was years ago. I can remember the car: Jaguar I-Pace. The early ones were notoriously flakey. But I thought we were beyond the charging issues now, only had the infrastructure to complain about. Apparently not. The long and the short of it is that KY72 XLH can’t be fixed at home. Skoda Recovery arrives and takes it away.
Not for the first time. It had been away before because of the radar cruise. Hardly a novel way to start a rant. But it wasn’t the extreme myopia of the forward vision systems or the learner-level lane ricochet that passes for lane keep – it was the speed sign reading. Cruise control on at 70mph, the Enyaq spots a 50mph sign and slows itself down. Clever stuff. But there’s little sensitivity. It slows pretty abruptly taking no account of following traffic. So I’ve basically just brake-tested a white van. That goes down well.
It's amateur hour. And the system can’t be disabled. But I haven’t yet got to the good part. Because it’s somehow reading two or three signs on the M4 as 100mph. With predictable results…
So off it went back to Skoda the first time, who couldn’t replicate the ‘unintended acceleration’, and since it came back, neither can I. Confidence has been knocked. This is the one thing I didn’t expect from running a Skoda. I assumed it would run without fuss or bother, because that’s what a Skoda is to me. But as I’ve said before, I’m sceptical about the Enyaq vRS. A Skoda should have honesty and practicality at its core, but although the Enyaq coupe is still big inside (570-litre boot), it’s not as intelligently designed as it ought to be.
The rear seats should fold cleverly, leave you with a level floor, but instead the backs just flop forward. £320 puts a false floor in the car to line things up better, but reduces overall volume. I shouldn’t get worked up about this, but it’s curiously dissatisfying because it smacks of a lack of investment in areas Skoda has traditionally been strong in. Yes there’s an umbrella in the driver’s door, but it’s not enough. And then we get to the rear seats. The standard panoramic glass roof is the only reason it’s not claustrophobic back there. The dipping roofline limits headroom and reduces the door height, making it easy to bang your head as you get in and out. It’s just not very… Skoda.
Skoda has just announced a second Enyaq vRS – the full ticket estate/SUV rather than this coupe. That’s the one to have. And at £52,670, it’s a useful chunk cheaper. But actually I still hold true to what I’ve said before – the vRS isn’t the Enyaq sweet spot. I’ll tell you more about that next time. When hopefully I’ll have the car back. Again.