MOTORS: No, you’re not seeing things, this is a Skoda
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Beauty, as we know, is in the eye of the beholder.
That’s especially true when it comes to cars where one person’s object of desire can be another’s total turn-off.
There are one or two exceptions to the rule however and the latest I have discovered comes from what some might say is the unlikeliest of all sources.
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For years, as they attempted to break into the UK market, Skoda were the butt of jokes for their questionable reliability and dubious looks.
But my, how things have changed.
The Czech brand – the thinking person’s choice in the huge Volkswagen Group which includes Audi, Seat and Cupra – are now turning out some brilliant cars which not only come top in build quality and engineering excellence, but also look good too.
In my time with the all-electric Enyaq Coupe, the second-generation fastback version of the crossover SUV, I found myself often savouring its lines and admiring its stance before heading for the road.
I wasn’t alone.
Many times, when parking or driving slowly through the streets, I noticed passers-by give a second or third look at the car, and perhaps being surprised when they read the Skoda name across the boot lid.
The Enyaq Coupe comes in three versions and the featured car was in the mid-level SportLine Plus trim with larger 20-inch black alloys and black trim around the sills, front and rear to highlight its dramatic styling.
Inside, it comes with microsuede/leather seats and dash, carbon décor around the cabin and a vast list of standard safety and comfort features including rear-view camera, front and rear parking sensors, panoramic glass roof, adaptive cruise control, heated and electrically-adjustable front seats, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, LED lights all round with Matrix beam headlights and heated electric door mirrors which throw light onto the ground when you’re getting in at night, along with a welcoming logo.
If that’s not enough, you also get an umbrella hidden inside the driver’s door, one of many smart touches around the car.
Once you’ve taken time to enjoy all the features of this car inside and out, the experience continues on the road.
As it is an EV, there is the signature instant power that goes straight from the single motor to the rear wheels.
It is surprising how quickly and silently it is able to shift its more than two-tonne weight.
The 77kWh battery lies low beneath the floor which gives the car great stability on the bends.
The overall weight means the suspension is firm but that’s no bad thing and over several hundred miles, I found it always comfortable yet confident at the same time.
You can use the paddles on the steering wheel to control the regeneration of the battery over three levels which allows for one-pedal operation, avoiding the use of the brake for most of the time while topping up the battery.
If you don’t intervene, it will do the regeneration automatically, making the most of every deceleration or braking.
While I really enjoyed my time with the car, there were just a couple of little niggles which were down more to my impatience or ingrained habits.
Although there’s a start/stop button, you don’t need to use it as the car prepares itself to move as soon as you sit in the driver’s seat, as long as you’ve got the key with you. I’d rather have more control over that, especially if you sit in when charging as like a leaky bucket, you feel you’re losing electricity unnecessarily as you’re pumping it in.
And while I know the car has to have the lane departure mode to meet safety regulations, it was irritating to have to access the 13-inch touchscreen menu to cancel it every time you start up.
A simpler option, which is in some other makes, would be a straightforward cancelling push button.
Skoda Enyaq Coupe iV 80 Sportline Plus
PRICE: £50,405 (£51,065 as tested)
ENGINE: 150kW electric motor 77kWh battery single speed automatic, rear wheel drive
POWER: 204 PS
TORQUE: 310 Nm
TOP SPEED: 99mph
0-62mph: 8.5 secs
RANGE: 337 miles
CHARGING TIME: 40 mins (rapid charger) 13 hours (7.4kW home wallbox)