Is the Skoda Enyaq iV 80 the best electric family car? LEE BOYCE puts it to the test… including camping in a roof tent at a festival with his toddler

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  • Skoda Enyaq iV 80 Named Autocar’s Best Family Car of 2022
  • We put it to the test, driving 250 miles round trip.
  • The specially adapted car had a roof awning and a retractable kitchen.

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‘You’re crazy.’ In one form or another, this is what many friends and relatives told me when I told them that I was taking my little one to a music festival not only alone… but also camping on the roof of an electric Skoda.

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I never turned down an opportunity to go on an adventure and create strange memories with my three year old Brooke. Taking the Enyaq iV 80 to the Oxfordshire Wildlife Festival gave me the ultimate chance to overcome range anxiety in the most difficult of circumstances.

That is to say, a toddler who tends to scream in the back seat and, like most children, can become incredibly impatient if we wait for something to happen, such as charging the car to get from point A to point B.

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Electric dreams: Skoda Enyaq had a rooftop tent and a handy pull-out kitchen in the trunk

The round trip of about 250 miles, which included motorways, A roads, rural roads and major service stations, gave us a good chance to experience the electric car.

In theory, we were the perfect guinea pigs for this specially adapted Skoda.

To be honest, our main car is a petrol Skoda Karoq, which we delivered at the beginning of 2019, so we already have some experience with this brand. This SUV was bought for our newly extended family to drop the kit and mess around with and with the goal of keeping it for 10 years is still a rough plan.

But as cars become more and more electric, we are potentially among the customers the Czech manufacturer is looking to switch to.

Although it was the first time I had ever sat behind the wheel of an electric car, after a few seconds it felt natural.

This is because our Karoq is automatic. Like I said before, I would never go back to shifting (you’re reading a car review written by someone who doesn’t cloud their eyes with manuals – sorry).

Enyaq felt like a smoother upgrade to me. Quieter and with a few nifty little features that my Karoq doesn’t have, including a much better dashboard and interactive screen.

First impressions? I would gladly change if I didn’t like our current car.

It handled beautifully and had real appeal when it came to acceleration, which was surprising given its size and heavy battery.

The cab proved to be extremely comfortable and passed all the small family tests, including the most important thing: plenty of space.

Breakfast is served: Brooke was thrilled to get a bacon sandwich out of the trunk this morning, and the collapsible kettle was vital to this coffee hit.

Breakfast is served: Brooke was thrilled to get a bacon sandwich out of the trunk this morning, and the collapsible kettle was vital to this coffee hit.

Can you really camp (or rooftop) a Skoda?

As soon as we arrived in Wilderness, the key question in my mind was how quickly I could set up the tent and get to the party, juggling the excited babe at her festival debut, wearing a dress she chose specifically to clap along with Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

The answer was: within a few minutes. I just unlocked the four clamps and the tent went up. Move the ladder and we’re off. Needless to say, Brooke really enjoyed it.

She is obsessed with camping and camper vans (despite the fact that we rarely do the same) and she was seriously impressed with how quickly we got settled.

To lower it again, it was necessary to pull on a pair of straps, release the air and lock it again. This is my kind of camping.

There was plenty of room for two, and we slept comfortably there—well, as comfortable as you can get in a field in Oxfordshire with a hint of dance music coming from the festival until 4am.

This purpose-built Skoda for the festival was also fitted with a Czech-designed EGOE campsite.

It was an innovative pull-out system providing a gas stove, sink and hose, and cooking space straight from the 585-litre boot.

It also had everything needed to turn the back into another bed, which meant another space that two people could sleep in and plenty of storage space.

If my wife came with us, one of us could sleep there and the daughter and another adult would be on the roof.

The rooftop tent remained dark even when the sun came up, and of course, in the weeks that followed, Brooke told just about anyone who would listen that she camped on the roof of a car, which is really puzzling.

I was incredibly impressed with the setting, as were some of the other festival goers. I had a lot of questions about the car.

I would never buy a van on wheels, but I might be seriously tempted to spend a few thousand pounds to convert the car in such a way that it remains 95 percent a family motor for all these mundane things in life, but with the ability to jump in and experience summer adventures without the need for hotels or bulky tents.

Smoothness: Enyaq was smooth and comfortable and easy to change.

Smoothness: Enyaq was smooth and comfortable and easy to change.

Public charging network – work in progress

With Brook in tow, we needed to make stops on both flights from Essex to Oxfordshire. On the way there, I stopped by the Beaconsfield service. A co-worker informed me that fast charging had to wait at least 30 minutes.

I went to the slower ones and had to wait again as some of the chargers were old and didn’t work with the Enyaq.

The driver helpfully said I could use the one he plugged in since he was almost done. I asked him about owning an electric car and he told me he rented it on a monthly basis.

He also told me that he would return it soon. He lived in an apartment and found it too often to travel regularly to Beaconsfield. This experience already tells me that a home charger is likely to be critical, or at least the infrastructure near your home to be fast and plentiful.

On the way home at Watford it was a similar story. Again, all fast chargers were used, so I used the slower one.

Another annoyance was that I did not know how much I received per unit of energy, instead I just blindly tapped on the debit …

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