Electric SUVs are revolutionizing the motor industry, combining the practicality and versatility of SUVs with the environmental benefits of renewable energy. I’ve been looking at upgrading my current car and an electric car is right up there, but I’ve been hesitant in treating it as a viable option due to the restricted travel distance. So when Škoda reached out and asked if I would be interested in having its new luxurious Enyaq Sportline Max 80 to test drive for the weekend, I jumped at the chance.

I was told that as Škoda’s inaugural fully electric SUV—and first electric vehicle in the NZ market—the Enyaq Sportline Max 80 offers an exceptional driving experience for city commutes and long journeys, perfect for my driving needs.

My first reaction to seeing the car was, “Wow”, this is a very stylish and sporty-looking vehicle. The bold Sportline design was modern and sleek in a vibrant Sapphire blue metallic finish, while the ‘Crystal Face’ illuminated grille is a feature in itself. 20” Vega Anthracite metallic alloy wheels complete the look and come as standard.

Keyless entry and start/stop functionality made opening the Enyaq a breeze. The interior felt roomy and prestigious, making it equally impressive inside and out. Elegant black leather accents harmoniously paired with carbon fibre decór detailing the dashboard. The leather-wrapped sports steering wheel, with mounted recuperation paddles and adaptive cruise control buttons, was a nice touch.

The centrepiece of the dash is a generous 13-inch infotainment screen which is basically the control hub of the car. I easily connected to Apple CarPlay (I’m told it also works with Android Auto). Speaking of phones, wireless charging made it easy to stay powered up. But that’s not all. The Enyaq also boasts electric front seats with memory function, providing personalized comfort and the driver’s seat includes a massage feature. Both front and back seats have heated functionality, too. The 360-degree camera system and front and rear parking sensors were helpful for reversing and parking in crowded car parks, giving you an almost birds-eye view of your surroundings. The boot is roomy and has convenient nets to stop whatever you’re transporting from rolling around. There’s even a built-in umbrella hidden in the driver door panel. Škoda really has thought of everything.

The Škoda Enyaq Sportline Max 80 is a perfect blend of style, comfort and practicality.

It looked great and felt very comfortable to sit in, but how did it drive? Thanks to the state-of-the-art driver-assistance systems, it was an almost flawless experience. It has a really clever auto-drive feature that detects when you’re not quite following the lines of the road and the car would take over. The same was with the adaptive cruise control—the car would stay a set distance behind the car in front. You can’t be too careful on our crazy New Zealand roads and, fortunately, the Enyaq has a five-star safety review and nine airbags.

Time to get the nitty gritty: How long did the charge last? Let’s just say that my skepticism was unwarranted—at least in the Enyaq. With an impressive range of 532km, we easily made it to Tauranga to visit family on a charge. While we needed to recharge to make it back to Auckland, it was straightforward to find a charging station and, to be honest, taking a forced 30-minute break to recharge was a welcome break and an excellent opportunity for a leg stretch. The Enyaq also has a clever feature called regenerative braking, which allows it to recover energy from braking or coasting and convert it into electric charge. This energy is then fed back into the battery, maximizing the vehicle’s range. The Enyaq comes equipped with a Mode 2 charger and Mode 3 cable as standard. These charging options are suitable for home wall box charging and public AC charging, providing the vehicle with convenient and versatile charging capabilities.

Sadly, my time with the Škoda Enyaq came to an end all too soon. I was genuinely reluctant to hand the keys back to Haley from Giltrap. This car is a perfect blend of style, comfort and practicality.

Škoda recently announced that the Enyaq Sportline will become the “Launch Edition” model, with prices now starting from $79,990 driveaway. An added bonus: it’s eligible for the New Zealand Government Clean Car Rebate of $7,015.

Learn more about the Škoda Enyaq Sportline 80 here.

This article was produced in partnership with Giltrap Motors.

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Melissa Reid

Melissa Reid

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