The Volkswagen ID.4 brings electrification to the masses.
Put down 2021 as the year when the electric vehicle pivot hastened. This year, mainstream manufacturers such as Ford and GMC are bringing to the market their first-ever dedicated electric vehicle lines. Not to be left out is Volkswagen, which recently introduced the ID.4, the first in what promises to become a long line of new EV models from this German brand.
The Volkswagen ID.4, though, is the most affordable of this new breed of EVs. With a starting price of about $40,000 and a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 available for many buyers, the ID.4 matches the price of some gas-powered models. With standard rear-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive, no model will cost you more than $50,000. That is not bad for this all-electric, five-passenger vehicle.
VW ID.4 Exterior Highlights
The VW ID.4 is nearly the same size as the Volkswagen Tiguan, a gas-powered model. That is also the only thing they have in common as the new model is based on VW’s new electric-dedicated architecture. We have driven both vehicles and can tell you that the ID.4 is the style-maker of the two.
Upfront, the VW does something that no Tesla model does: it gives a semblance of a grille or at least a slice of connecting trim between the headlamps. The lower portion is detailed as well.
You are forgiven if you think there is an engine under the hood. There is not, although some components are present, including a radiator and the washer fluid reservoir. Thus, you won’t find a traditional frunk (front trunk) as you do in most electric vehicles.
The ID.4’s profile is handsome with flowing lines, a curving beltline, and fashionable chrome wheels. Our test model came in white with a contrasting black roof and trim. Everything seems to flow to the rear with its sloping roof. The rear lighting element design matches the front. It is almost hard to believe that this is an affordably priced EV as the style is certainly a cut above.
VW ID.4 Interior Highlights
Inside, the cabin is bright and futuristic. Typical of today’s electric vehicles, the dashboard is spartan, with a small instrument panel behind the steering wheel and a larger display in the center console. As simple as the design is, Volkswagen offers nice touches too, including a sculpted dashboard, brightwork trim, and fabric-wrapped seating surfaces.
Big door pockets are ideal for squirreling away small things, including drinks, snacks, and keys. The accordion cover for the center storage compartment is a nice touch, although the storage area itself is quite small.
The front seats are comfortable and supportive for the average-sized adult. They are not plush, but they are not cardboard thin either. We were pleasantly surprised by the 60/40 split-bench rear seat as you can truly seat three individuals back there.
The cargo area is another plus with 30.3 cubic feet of standard storage space and 64.2 cubic feet with the rear seat folded. The battery pack is tucked underneath, therefore there is no intruding hump to get in the way. Manufacturers are truly finding ways to maximize space with EVs.
Safety & Tech
Volkswagen imbues the ID.4 with a long list of advanced driver-assist technologies. These include lane-keep assist, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control. Automatic headlights, blind-spot monitoring, and front and rear parking sensors are also standard.
The only extra is the adaptive headlights that pivot slightly to help you see better around corners. Or that deer about to leap directly in front of you.
Just as VW is generous with its safety features, they do likewise with technology. All trims come with a 10-inch touchscreen display, navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and navigation. Smartphone compatibility, Bluetooth, four USB ports, a 7-speaker audio system, and HD Radio also come standard.
VW ID.4 Electric Performance
Powering every ID.4 is an electric motor that turns the rear wheels. This one delivers a modest 201 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque, but the power comes immediately. A single-speed transmission gets this SUV moving. Arriving later is an all-wheel-drive version. That one will utilize a second electric motor to turn the front wheels. Further, it will deliver more power too.
We did not time the ID.4’s 0-60 mph jump, but it is fast. It is fun to surprise people in gas-powered performance cars with the bursts of power delivered when needed. But keep in mind that constantly flooring it will impact vehicle range. Indeed, with approximately 250 miles between connections, the ID.4 should prove useful to most.
Notably, with DC fast-charging, this SUV can reach 80 percent capacity in about 30 minutes. If you are taking a long trip, that represents enough time to walk off your tired legs, grab a bite to eat, and tidy up in the restroom before resuming your journey.
It is not all roses with the ID.4, however. The transmission lever, located on the top right behind the steering wheel is a frustrating experience, at least initially. It is not particularly intuitive – you must grab the top part and move into gear. Just keep an eye on the panel to make sure you are moving in the direction you want to go. We think Volkswagen missed an opportunity here – to convince people to switch to EVs (already a challenging prospect). Instead, dispensing with anything that is too futuristic is the better approach. Anyway, it took a week for us to get used to the arrangement. By then, the ID.4 was on its way back to the distributor.
We give Volkswagen high marks as it delivers its first-ever, fully dedicated EV model to the North American market (The VW ID.3 debut in Europe last year, but it is not U.S. bound). The design is one of its strengths and the available power should please most people.
But it is the $40,000 price point that makes the ID.4 an attractive buy, which may help attract a new breed of buyers. Lastly, the previously mentioned $7,500 federal tax credit can lower your costs further, by reducing your tax burden accordingly.
Photos copyright Stumpwater Media Group, LLC. All rights reserved.