Volkswagen ID.4 – Should You Buy This Family EV in 2021?
With this id4 compact mid sized crossover, the marks first global market electric vehicle. It aims to deliver more of a premium choice than volume. Brands can currently offer in this rapidly growing segment ready for the ev switch and need a reasonably compact suv with a bit more of an upmarket feel. We think you might be tempted by this one theres a lot to adapt to. If this is your first experience of ev motoring, theres no gear, stick theres, no handbrake theres, no ignition key and theres just the sound of silence as the fixed ratio, transmission blends, an almost endless wave of torque into meaningful and, surprisingly rapid forward progress. The forward thrust away from rest, isnt, quite as abrupt as it is, with volkswagens smaller id3 uh thats, mostly because the id4 is nearly 200 kilos, heavier and thats a factor which affects most areas of this cars drive demeanor, sometimes helpfully sometimes not. That, of course, is a legacy of the substantial battery packs that this car has to carry about base models which respectively, feature electric motors developing either 148 or 170 ps use a 52 kilowatt hour lithium ion battery offering a claimed driving distance of up to 213 miles. This longer range variant using a motor putting out 204 ps, has a rather more substantial 77 kilowatt hour battery pack and that ups the range to as much as 310 miles, although weve never seen anything like that throughout this test, like volkswagens original post war beetle, this Car is rear driven and when you drive it in town, youll realize uh really quickly the advantages of placing that powertrain, the electric motor and the associated single speed, auto gearbox on the back axle that frees up the front wheels to steering duties and the result is A london taxi like 10.
2 meter turning circle uh beyond the city limits that drive format allows for a near 50, 50, almost perfect weight distribution which, together with the low center of gravity thats, provided by that central battery pack, helps to disguise the portly weight that this Suv has to carry around traction through. The turns is excellent and body roll is checked by firm damping thats been cleverly engineered for suppleness over poor surfaces, all of which ought to provide the recipe for a decently sporting ev and in some ways it does. Although the steering, while it is accurate, offers uh disappointingly little real feedback, if you do prioritize performance in your choice of id4, then volkswagen wants you to consider the top flagship, gtx variant, which sees the top 77 kilowatt hour battery mated to electric motors on both axles And that delivers four wheel drive capability and a more potent 299 ps total output. That variant gets an extra attraction mode to add to the other drive settings that are common across the model: lineup uh, theres, comfort, theres, sport and individual plus, you get an eco setting too, which to maximize range youll have to frequently use in combination with the available B, regenerative braking function. Now this slows the car significantly. When you come off the throttle, whatever id4 model you select, your charging regime should be quite straightforward: uh theres, a wii charge app, which helps you to find and use over 150 000 public charge points.
An ac single phase, 7.2 kilowatt garage war box would replenish the 52 kilowatt hour model from zero in about nine and a half hours. I think a little over 12 hours for the 77 kilowatt hour variant. What about, if you find a public rapid charger along your route? Well, the smaller 52 kilowatt hour battery supports 100 kilowatt dc charging the 77 kilowatt hour battery ups at 225. Kilowatts, which means that even on this longer range model at a dc, 3 100 kilowatt charge. Point itll take no more than around 30 minutes to recharge your id4 enough to cover the next 137 miles. This id4 says: volkswagen styling chief claus secura represents the evolution of electric vehicle design; well, its certainly an evolution from the friendly, but slightly anonymous. Look of its showroom, stablemate the id3 family hatch and its a more substantial thing, its 287 mils longer and 60 mils higher with short bonnet proportions, unlike any existing volkswagen suv. The profile is certainly distinctive. Thanks to a variety of careful touches, an a pill that starts a long way forward, a strong wave like shoulder line, arched flanks and a low dynamic roof arch thats here, trimmed in silver, which is intended to make the silhouette look long and stretched all the key Drive stuff sits over the rear axle uh, principally the single speed gearbox and the permanent magnet synchronous electric motor, which has been mated to it. Uh both are very efficiently packaged.
Now volkswagen says that both elements together with the associated control electronics – they collectively weigh uh, just 90 kilos and they could fit into the typical gym bag. All of this is powered by a high voltage battery, which has been efficiently arranged in the under body to save space, which leaves nothing to sit here at the front end. But a few auxiliary units like the air conditioning compressor and, of course, the steering rack. So, just as with the original rear engine beetle, theres no need for a grill to embellish this flat front end, which sees air flow through this hexagonal trimmed wide inlet, lower down, which has a silver, trimmed lower frame. The brand badge sits simply on this narrow light strip which above bass, trim rather neatly illuminates when these large headlamps are on full beam at the rear. If you can stretch beyond a bass trim the led tail lamp clusters get 3d animation with light emitting diodes featuring fiber optic, cable elements, lighting in an unusually rich red. More importantly, under all of this, its the cars sophisticated meb platform, uh development of which has taken the lions share of the 54 billion pounds that the volkswagen group has spent in developing its new era. Ev technology enough with the outside lets, take a look in the cabin theres, no need for a gear lever, an ignition slot or a hand, brake and thats. Just the beginning of the things that youll have to adjust to in a cabin thats designed around what vw calls an open space concept, you sit quite high on top of all those batteries and the interior design has an airy but minimalist and rather clinical feel which Volkswagen has tried, unsuccessfully, to lift by imprinting playing pause symbols on the two footwell pedals, its all very similar to the id3, but with an extra dose of maturity.
Thats emphasized by this silver central fascia strip, theres not much in the way of switch gear and, of course you do without the conventional instruments. All of that is replaced by a couple of tft displays a little 5.3 inch, one behind the steering wheel here and a main tablet of 10 inches in size in the center of the dash. It all feels a generation on from the cabin design that youd find in most more established. Eb crossover rivals, build quality, thats generally good, but cheaper plastics do betray the cost, cutting that was necessary to undergird all that sophisticated ev technology. The gear selector is housed in a right hand, protrusion from the instrument binnacle here, although here theres the additional novelty in the fact that the whole binnacle moves up and down as you adjust the wheel. Other adjustments well theyre done using either touch sensitive buttons like the fiddly sliders here for the climate system or with voice control prefaced by the command hello id right time. To take a look out back now. Volkswagen claims that theres as much legroom back here as you get in a mercedes e class executive saloon or in their large seven seat, tiguan or space suv, certainly feels like it. Its also a wider cabin than youd expect to compact a mid sized suv to be able to provide and with no central transmission tunnel to obstruct things. Three adults could certainly fit reasonably easily into the back of this car lets finish with a look at the boot once that wide hatch rises, the space provided is 543 liters.
The rear bench doesnt split flexibly. 40 20 40, like it does in say that bmw ix3. We mentioned earlier on, but volkswagen does at least provide a ski hatch, so longer items can be poked through into the cabin uh flattening the 60 40 split, rear bench freeze up 1575 liters of capacity if you load to roof height voted world car of the year. At its introduction, the id4 is certainly a world class suv. Mind you. It ought to be given the investment thats gone into it, this isnt, yet a mainstream volkswagen model, but the day isnt very far off when it will be. When that happens, we can only hope that evs will have become rather more affordable than they are now. But if this id4 sells globally in the kind of numbers that the brands hoping for thats unlikely to happen, like all manufacturers, the wolfsburg maker will charge what customers show theyre prepared to pay. So is this id4 worth the sticker price? Well, many customers will think so. It has the quality, look and feel of a premium brand product enough just to justify the extra cost over its almost identically engineered skoda, anyak iv, vw group cousin. We certainly admire the id4s, brilliant packaging, the ride and refinement and the way its so easy to adapt to for those converting from fossil fuel. Its not perfect, of course, it could certainly be more engaging to drive. Yes, the build quality isnt. All it could be in every area and for sure the value in the range certainly lies with the more affordable models.
For all that, though, theres a lot to like here and its delivered with a much higher end feel than you get in the id3. Ultimately, if all you care about in a crossover ev of this kind is value and driving range, then this probably wont be your first choice.