The Car Connection Volkswagen ID.4 Overview
The Volkswagen ID.4 is a fully electric crossover SUV that doesn’t share sheet metal, design cues, or even an interface with other VW vehicles.
It’s the first U.S.-bound model to be built on Volkswagen’s modular platform, called MEB, intended for a wide range of affordable EVs.
MORE: Read our 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 review
Volkswagen says that it seeks to compete directly against the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Subaru Forester with the ID.4—although those who’ve already decided they want an electric vehicle will also likely hold it up against the Tesla Model Y, Chevrolet Bolt EUV, Ford Mustang Mach-E, and upcoming Nissan Ariya.
The new Volkswagen ID.4
From the nearly flush door handles to the smoothly contoured crossover shape, the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 has a fresh look, and outside of the big round VW logos throughout, there are few if any common cues with the VW Jetta sedan or Tiguan SUV. Inside, the ID.4 marks the debut of an interface that relies heavily on capacitive touch surfaces, some haptic buttons, voice commands, and a touch screen that isn’t as quick-responding as it needs to be.
The design doesn’t make any accommodation for engines, fuel tanks, or tailpipes. That pays dividends inside, where the cabin feels larger inside than you might expect it to be. The dash is low and forward, sightlines are excellent, and the seat height is just right for ease of getting in and out. There’s space for five, with enough space for four six-footers to fit comfortably at the same time, and the 30.3 cubic feet or cargo room in back expands to 64.2 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.
The heaviest part of the ID.4, the 1,067-pound, 77-kwh (net) battery pack, is packaged right under the passenger floor, and it’s powered by a single permanent magnet motor that supplies twist to the rear wheels, making 201 horsepower and 229 pound-feet. A dual-motor all-wheel-drive version is on the way in summer 2021, potentially for the 2022 model year. Acceleration is just adequate at about 7.5 seconds to 60 mph—surprisingly quiet, of course, but by no means as jarringly quick as in other EVs. But handling and steering are excellent and ride quality is ideal—firm enough for athletic handling, soft enough to soak up potholes.
Charging the ID.4 is about as convenient as EVs get today, with home 240-volt charging taking as little as 7.5 hours and a 5% to 80% charge taking just 38 minutes on the 150-kw CCS-format DC fast chargers that have become quite common along major highways. One of the greatest value points, initially, is that the ID.4 includes three years of unlimited Electrify America fast-charging—essentially amounting to free road-trip fuel.
The 1st Edition version of the ID.4 arriving at dealerships first includes a white steering wheel and clever play/pause motif for the pedals, along with panoramic glass roof, power tailgate, adaptive headlamps, and large 12.0-inch touchscreen that are among the features you get in the Pro S model. An ID.4 Pro model includes a 10.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus heated seats, heated mirrors, and a heated steering wheel. Prices start in the low $40,000s, and all ID.4s come with driver-assist features such as automatic emergency braking, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, parking sensors, and automatic high beams.
Initial ID.4 models are imported from Germany, but starting later in 2022 the ID.4 will be made in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with a base model that’s expected to cost about $36,000 joining the lineup. Many ID.4 buyers will also be able to claim the federal EV tax credit of $7,500.