The ID.3 and 4 are the first offerings of Volkswagen’s push towards electrification. Not only is the ID.4 a brand new nameplate for the brand, it’s also the first in a series of all-electric models that will combine to create the ID sub-brand. There will also be a coupe version of the ID.4 named the ID.5 and a GTX model is expected to join the lineup soon. Future vehicles will include road going versions of concept vehicles like the ID Roomzz, ID Buggy and the ID Buzz. All of these are being built on the MEB modular electric vehicle platform. Volkswagen is calling the ID.4 the “most important vehicle … since the launch of the Beetle” and it’s apparent that the company put a lot of effort into making that true.
Volkswagen have the ID.4 in currently two configurations: the Pro (the one we tested), and the Pro S, both the Pro and Pro S have rear-wheel and all-wheel drive options. You can choose from five exterior colors: glacier white, mythos black, moonstone grey(our test vehicle), scale silver and blue dusk. It is marketed as an SUV, smaller than the Tiguan SUV by 4.6″ and 1.9″ lower but the wheelbase is only about an inch shorter than the Tiguan’s. With the wheels pushed farther apart, the ID.4 has more space for passengers. In the end it has nearly identical passenger accommodations as the Tiguan.
The cheapest model, the Pro retails for $39,995, while the most expensive trim, the Pro S sells for $48,175. But when you factor in the $7,500 federal tax credit, plus any state and local incentives, the base model ID.4 lands in that low- to mid-$30,000 range that’s generally considered the sweet spot for most car buyers. However that is still expensive especially when you consider a similar gas-powered variant like the Rav4 often go for around $25,000.
There are four driving modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport, and a custom setting that allows drivers to pick and choose from the other modes. The ID.4 has 201 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque and can sprint from 0 to 60 in a little over 7 seconds. It is not quite ludicrous speed but for day to day driving it is more than adequate. The ID.4 has a range of around 250 miles between charges, this comes from an 82 kilowatt-hour battery pack, 77 kWh of which are usable. It’s located in the floor of the vehicle, helping create a low center of gravity. The electric motor is located in the rear of the vehicle, just like another Volkswagen favorite the VW Beetle. One thing that is unusual when you first sit inside is the shifter which is mounted high on the gauge cluster. However as soon as you spot it, it is very intuitive, just tilt it in the direction you want to go and click the P button when you are all done. Braking does benefit from regenerative braking and with a turn of the shift knob to B, the vehicle’s regenerative braking system is placed in its high setting.
A favorite of mine was the ID.4 lighting. There is something appealing about the light bar stretching across the full width of the vehicle. As the sun goes down a hexagonal light emanates from both the driver and passenger doors and projects on the ground. Inside the vehicle, a light bar runs along the base of the windshield that serves as a communication device. If you are using the navigation, and you’re about to turn right, a blue light will move left to right across the width of the windshield to signal that you’re about to make a turn. It also serves as a status bar for braking and when you are charging the vehicle among other things. The interior lights are all adjustable with 30 different colors, so if you’re feeling kind of pink, go pink. Having more of a blue day? Go for it. Are the adjustable colors necessary at all? No. Are they really fun to play around with? 100%.
There are two screens, a 5.3-inch instrument cluster behind the steering wheel and a 10″ one in the center console and don’t forget the voice recognition capability. The screens look great, bright, vibrant and easy to reach and again the colors really popped. More importantly the UX works great, but for those who prefer their smartphone’s interface, the ID.4 supports both wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The ID.4 will get over-the-air software updates, so expect small changes from Volkswagen as you own the vehicle. You don’t have many physical buttons, but the ones they have had nice haptic feedback to them that felt satisfying to the touch. The voice assistant, which is activated by saying “Hello, ID,” was effective at controlling things inside the cabin. However the lag time between using the wake words and issuing a command is also still too long, but I can see Volkswagen improving that in future iterations via the aforementioned over the air updates.
The driver’s seat did the job and the headroom was more than ample, you also get a smooth and refined ride quality and quiet cabin. Front and rear legroom measure 41.1 and 37.6 inches, respectively. Rear passengers will find their seats slightly elevated, giving a clear view. A pair of USB-C connectors back there will keep everyone charged, while there’s a wireless charging cubby with more USB ports for phones up front. Cargo volume in the ID.4 is rated at 30.3 cubic feet behind the rear bench and 64.2 cubes with the seats folded down. Those numbers compare to 64.4 cubic feet of maximum cargo volume in the Mach-E and 68.0 cubic feet in the Model Y. The ID.4 driver-assist system is similar to other vehicles in the Volkswagen lineup with adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot detection, and pedestrian monitoring. One thing we did like is the car varies the following distance depending on your chosen driving mode. For example staying a little farther back in Eco mode to ensure it won’t need to speed up and slow down so frequently.
When it comes to charging the ID.4 comes with an 11 kW onboard charger that allows the ID.4 to charge to full in seven and a half hours at a home or public Level 2 charger. At a DC fast-charging station, with 125 kW charging, the ID.4 can go from 5 to 80 percent charged in about 38 minutes. One of the big selling points for the ID.4 is three years of free charging with VW’s Electrify America charging network.
How does the ID.4 compare with other EVs on the market, take the Tesla Model Y, which starts at $52,190 including a $1,200 destination fee. For that you get more range, 326 miles per the EPA, and quicker performance, however if you take into account the $7,500 federal rebate, applicable to the VW but not the Tesla, the ID.4 could come in more than $10,000 cheaper. The Volkswagen ID.4, an absolutely delightful compact electric SUV with a decent amount of range, quirky design, and a whole lot of potential. It’s also a milestone for the automaker as its first long-range electric vehicle available in North America, the first electric SUV, and the second EV powered by its MEB modular electric architecture. However and most importantly the ID.4 is a relatively affordable EV with a lot of the SUV DNA that car buyers in the US really crave.
The ID.4 is simply a great car, it just won World Car of the Year honors, and it shows just how good a pure EV can be. It has plenty of range for daily driving and short trips, the technology inside feels intuitive without being in your face, and the really surprising thing is the fun you have inside the cabin of the ID.4.