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Czech entry into the fast-growing electric family car class aims for a familiar feel

This week’s road test subject, the Skoda Enyaq iV, brings to mind a recent development in the product line of world-famous toy maker Lego.

For a few years now, the Danish firm has been offering sets of building blocks that can be made into as many as three different menu-built models, as well as whatever else your imagination might inspire. You can make your blocky supercar and then disassemble it and turn it into a truck or a boat, before departing from your instruction booklet completely.

EVs don’t need a grille, yet most car makers are sticking a fake one on anyway to uphold brand identity. For £1675, the Light and View Plus package will even make it light up.

And it just so happens that today’s automotive engineers may feel, to a greater or lesser degree, like they are 10 years old again, making cars in a similar way: using platform-engineered common component sets and trying to create from them cars that – to the end customer, at least – need to feel like special and distinct products. The approach isn’t new, of course, but it does seem truer than ever right now, as we enter the era of the mass-produced, big-volume, affordable electric car.

Other manufacturers are following suit, but the Volkswagen Group is perhaps the most prominent user of such a widely shared electric car platform. Think the Lego analogy is dismissive of the VW Group’s work? MEB stands for Modularer E-Antriebs-Baukasten – and Baukasten translates from German as ‘child’s building set’. Fortunately they seem to be taking the actual engineering a bit more seriously than do the kids.

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Shared platforms for internal-combustion-engined cars have been around for a while now, but with no brand-exclusive engine and gearbox to make up the difference, it’s now even more of a challenge than before to make a distinctive electric car out of that same playset. We’ve already seen what Audi and Volkswagen have come up with, in the form of the Q4 E-tron and ID 4 respectively, the former of which we tested a few weeks ago. Now it’s the turn of Skoda’s entry, with the Enyaq iV.

Skoda is supposed to be the more value-conscious brand of the three, but recently it has been challenging the age-old VW Group hierarchy. Only 10 years ago it was generally obvious that Skodas were the cheaper, often extra-practical alternatives to Volkswagens; today’s Skodas occasionally eclipse their German cousins with a high-quality but pleasingly no-nonsense approach. This week we’ll find out whether the Enyaq continues that into the pure-electric era.

The Enyaq iV line-up at a glance

Skoda offers a choice of two battery sizes in the UK: the 58kWh 60 model and the 77kWh 80. An even smaller 50 exists but isn’t available over here at the moment. With Sportline models, you can add a front motor for extra power and all-wheel drive. In lieu of trim levels, Skoda offers interior design themes (Loft, Lodge, Lounge, Suite and EcoSuite) and a selection of other option packages. Details of the range-topping vRS with 302bhp and all-wheel drive are to be announced soon.

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What Car? New car buyer marketplace: Skoda Enyaq iV

First drives