2021 VOLKSWAGEN ID.4 TEST DRIVE
2021 VOLKSWAGEN ID.4 TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES
2021 Volkswagen ID.4 1st Edition
Volkswagen has sold an electric car before but you can consider this new ID.4 as their first, fully baked EV. For one, it was designed as a battery-electric from the get-go. Secondly, it has 250 miles of range – double that of the discontinued e-Golf. And lastly, it’s a compact SUV with available all-wheel drive which puts it squarely in the hottest selling segment.
So the ID.4 is ready for primetime and is the genesis of VW’s all-electric intentions.
It’s been nearly 5 years since VW revealed the I.D. electric concept car and this is the first tangible fruit of their labors. The ID sub-brand is VW’s name for a family of electric cars that, at least in here in the U.S., is expected to spawn 2 new models over the next 3 years.
It’s built upon a dedicated electric vehicle platform that VW calls Modular Electric Drive which essentially gives them one basis for every EV going forward. It closely possesses the passenger volume of VW’s Tiguan just in a smaller wrapper benefitting from the highly efficient EV packaging.
It feels wide inside with adult-friendly and nicely sculpted rear seats and a foot-activated hatch that opens to more standard cargo room than VW’s new Taos compact SUV. With an agreeable lift over height, split fold rear seats, an adjustable cargo floor that can be lowered for a little more space or left as is to stow the charge cable, the ID.4 presents itself as a versatile errand companion with which owners will quickly connect.
So here are the vitals. The ID.4 is rear-wheel drive which, at least for the time being, makes it fairly unique. Combined with a lower center of gravity and near 50:50 weight distribution based upon the battery’s placement in the floor, it drives with a pleasing nimbleness.
The driving range is 250 miles and the highly efficient drive motor located above the rear axle produces 201 horsepower and, what makes every EV so sweet, 229 pound-feet of instantaneous torque.
It’s the first thing you notice when driving an electric and it’s what hooks you to never wanting to go back to gas. Fast charging comes free for the first 3 years at VW-funded Electrify America chargers…and if that’s how you choose to juice up that’s a big savings otherwise plugging in here, for example, would’ve cost me about $30.00 for the 50 minutes it took to recharge from 18%-90% at 125 kW.
You can also use the omnipresent free Level II chargers or even have one installed in your garage which recharges a fully depleted battery in as little as 7.5 hours. And lastly, a standard household outlet can also do the job as long as you’re in no hurry…about 2 days. And a thermal management system for the battery should help minimize range loss in extreme temps.
The car I have is the ID.4 1st Edition and it’s priced at $45,190 including destination…but before you run down to your VW dealer you should know that it’s already sold out. However, you can still build and reserve the ID.4 Pro online which is priced at $4,000 less.
And if it’s an all-wheel drive ID.4 you’re after, those are coming later this year with a $3,680 premium attached. You can lease an ID.4 for $379/month and all trims qualify for the $7,500 Federal tax credit.
The white interior accents of this 1st Edition are standout awesome and the cabin is complimented by a minimalist design – there aren’t even a set of switches for the rear windows up here, you just touch this space to toggle back and forth. There’s an enormous glass roof with sunshade that, again just adds to that modern feel though I have noticed that even when it’s closed it tends to get pretty warm in here. The little 5” cockpit attached to the steering wheel really doesn’t display much so it’s over here where the good stuff resides.
Just say Hello ID and you can start speaking naturally to the system for all kinds of things (insert standup.) Even the words used on the screen are less formal like cool feet or warm hands for the climate controls and saying goodbye at the end and reminding you to check for things like your cellphone…which might be on the wireless charge pad in the center console.
The ID.4 also supports wireless phone projection…but be aware that all of the USB ports are the small Type –C kind. The graphics are sharp, the information deep but some of the audio related controls are not as simple as they could be…if you’re a channel surfer the layout is unfriendly. This screen also supports gesture control but I’ve had very little luck with that. I also love the light bar that extends along the cowl, lighting up in accordance with changes and selections as well as the direction you should be turning when using navigation.
The nighttime welcome lighting and multiple ambient lighting patterns also foster the oh-wow impression. It looks great. Now, the lack of buttons can be a little annoying at times but there a couple of things you can press off-screen like the Drive Modes for instance, which range from Eco to Sport even affecting the suspension which is always very compliant. And look at this rarity; not only does this car have a height adjustable passenger seat but there are also memory settings on both sides. Through in some massaging lumbar and you’ve got yourself some very comfortable places to sit. And the floor in the back is flat so this is a true 5-seater when needed.
Speaking of my Kona which has a nearly identical range, with nearly 300 pound-feet of torque on tap I could smoke this ID.4 off the line but still the VW is sufficiently quick and can tow 2,200 pounds – something the Hyundai can’t do at all. I’m also jealous of this roof rack which I can’t get on my Kona EV.
As far as driver assistance, there’s no autonomous driving like the concept car previewed, at least not yet, but there is Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Assist among many other safety features as part of IQ.DRIVE.
The ID.4 is an impressive effort by VW and has proven to be worth the wait.
2021 VOLKSWAGEN ID.4 TEST DRIVE BY CAR CRITIC STEVE HAMMES | TESTDRIVENOW 2021(c)