- Excellent tax savings for business drivers
- Impressive driving range between charges
- Practical, stylish SUV that drives beautifully
- It feels well planted but quite heavy on the open road
- Top models with the most powerful battery are expensive
- Some cheap-looking interior trim lowers the standard
Just like the recently-launched ID.3, Volkswagen’s first fully electrified SUV – the ID.4 is available in pre-configured trim levels. There is a limited-run 1st Edition and then versions called Life, Style, Family and Max.
There are two battery size options – the Pro Performance with 77kWh delivering 204PS and 310Nm of torque. The second option is the Pure with 52kWh. The Pure will also have two different outputs for the electric motor with the standard option delivering 148PS and 220Nm of torque and the Pure Performance increasing to 170PS with 310NM of torque.
With a range of price-tags to suit all budgets and varying driving ranges between charges, it would be fair to say customers have lots of decisions to make before signing on the dotted line.
And there are also all-wheel drive ID.4 GTX and GTX Max versions if you need something other than standard rear-wheel drive.
On The Road
With a choice of trims and battery sizes to choose from we opted for the ID.4 1st Edition Pro Performance model with the 77kWh battery delivering 204PS and 310Nm of torque. These figures translate into impressive performance statistics with the car completing the 0-62mph sprint in 8.5 seconds and topping out at 99mph.
Obviously, a major hurdle for EV developers is the driving range between charges as many would-be buyers are concerned about range anxiety. Our car, with its larger battery, could deliver up to 310 miles on a single charge. Impressive stuff.
VW is clear to point out that the ID.4 has been designed to be a pleasure to drive and it is just that. It boasts a low centre of gravity and 50:50 weight distribution as a result of the low battery placement between the two axles.
The acceleration out the starting blocks is instant with no need to wait for the revs to build up like a normal combustion engine. Instead, it flies at the slightest accelerator pressure and there is always ample power on tap for hill climbs or short, rapid bursts of pace.
It cruises at 70mph and is easy to manoeuvre in busier settings with nicely weighted steering.
The ID.4 1st Edition is not the most dynamic EV around, but VW has introduced more aggressive ID.4 GTX and GTX Max versions that will tick all the boxes for anyone looking for more of a ‘performance’ car.
However our test model was no slouch and the rear-wheel drive car felt nicely planted through tight bends with no sign of body sway either.
The driver can recoup energy via regenerative braking by switching the drive selector from D to B and generally the car is a delight to drive. It’s not over-flashy or aggressive, but just gets on with the task in hand in an efficient manner.
Bumps and dips are ironed out along the way thanks to the MacPherson strut front axle suspension and five-link rear suspension set-up. For the first time at VW, the steering system is located ahead of the front axle and that guarantees improved stability during fast cornering.
Another clever feature is the Vehicle Dynamics Manager – a system first seen on the Golf GTI that is standard on the ID.4. This maximises the electronic stability control, all the control units for the electric motor, along with any power electronics such as the electronic differential lock to achieve optimum driving and steering responses. While rear-wheel drive cars can naturally have a tendency towards oversteer, this system ensures the rear wheels on the ID.4 find grip in every situation, such as fast cornering, full acceleration and decelerating. It makes any adjustments as necessary, every millisecond.
The ID.4 is definitely a distinctive looking five-door SUV with LED light clusters at the front and rear, plus LED daytime running lights which also feature the indicators. There are body-coloured bumpers, door handles and mirrors with integrated indicators. The rear windows are tinted, there is a black roof with silver roof rails, 1st edition badging and 20-inch wheels.
The ID.4 boasts an athletic stance with muscular, arched flanks and the low, dynamic roofline that makes the car appear long and stretched in its styling.
The interior is modern and clutter-free with ‘Style’ comfort seats that can be heated and are finished in grey and brown upholstery. The ambient lighting has 30 colours to choose from and there is 1st Edition badging on the steering wheel.
There is a clever new feature called the ID Light system which is a first in the automotive sector and is decorative while being functional too. A narrow light strip stretches the length of the lower windscreen. When you first get into the car it signals that the ID.4 is ready to drive. It also assists the driver such as moving to the left when the navigation instructions are saying ‘turn left, flashing green if a phone call is received or glowing red when emergency braking is necessary. Finally, when the car is being charged the light flows green building from left to right indicating the level of charge. This can be seen from outside the car.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
The interior of the ID.4 is minimalist in its layout to say the least with very few physical buttons, switches or controls. The lights are accessed via a panel on the dashboard and the drive selector is more of a rocker switch located behind the steering wheel.
There is one main focal point 10-inch touchscreen, which is the absolute nerve centre for accessing any infotainment systems. It is fiddly to operate on the move and the piano black controls on the steering wheel, that can be used as the alternative, are not ideal either. It’s all a little bit clumsy and absolute proof that less is not necessarily more!
However, the on-board tech is impressive with an efficient sat nav system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink, a DAB digital radio, six speaker sound system, two-zone air conditioning, a heated steering wheel and plenty more besides.
VW’s clever virtual assistant can be summoned with the magic words “Hello ID” and then you simply make your request. It can be used to increase the temperature, alter radio stations and open or close the sunroof blind if fitted.
The seats look really upmarket and offer good levels of support, and getting a comfortable driving position is a simple process with lots of seat and steering wheel adjustment.
The all-round driver visibility is good, but not great with wide A and B pillars proving a tad annoying to look around.
Space & Practicality
The ID.4 measures 4,584mm in length, 2,108 in width (including mirrors) and is 1,612mm high which makes the vehicle a very practical proposition for active families who enjoy lots of space within the cabin plus room to store plenty of luggage. It is based on an Open Space concept so getting in and out is easy and there is space for the driver and four passengers to sit comfortably high up.
The high-voltage battery lies as a flat block beneath the passenger compartment while the electric drive motor, power and control electronics and gearbox are situated on the rear axle to save space.
The boot can swallow 543 litres of kit and this limit increases to 1,575 litres with split-folding rear seats dropped flat. A variable boot floor is also a nice touch. Roof rails are fitted as standard and the roof load can be up to 75kg. An optional tow bar can be added too with a one-tonne towing limit.
Throughout the car, there are plenty of handy storage compartments, including a deep central cubby box with sliding cover, a mobile phone holder, a glovebox, front cup holders, door pockets and a small net at the front of the centre console. There are two additional cup holders in the fold-down rear armrest, along with seat back pockets and door bins. There are also plenty of C-USB charge ports to stay connected on the move.
Incentives to owning a plug-in electric vehicle tend to change on a regular basis and the latest Government plug-in car grant stands at £2,500 for any EV with a starting price of up to £35k. That means at £34,995, the entry-level ID.4 Life would qualify but that’s the only model. The range topping ID.4 GTX Max comes in at a whopping £55,555.
Our 1st Edition test car with the Pro Performance 77kWh battery was priced at £40,110 although a swivelling tow bar added £850 to the final cost.
With zero carbon emissions, the Benefit in Kind taxation would be just one per cent and the car would be exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty – otherwise known as road tax - and Congestion Charges.
It takes about 38 minutes to add an 80 per cent charge to the ID.4 1st Edition model via a 125kW DC rapid charger. It is also fine for home charging on a 7.2kWh wallbox which can be programmed for when the electricity tariff is at its lowest to keep costs down. This takes about 11 hours to fully charge.
The VW ID.4 1st Edition Pro Performance model, as tested, sits in insurance group 26.
Quality & Reliability
It is a little too early to predict how reliable the ID.4 will prove to be as it is all so new. However, the car is built on the VW Group’s MEB platform architecture which is used extensively throughout the group and that is positive news when it comes to reliability.
In addition, the German car maker has a fairly decent reputation for developing durable, robust cars that survive the test of time. That said; it has dropped down the charts when it comes to customer satisfaction surveys in recent years.
However, all the switchgear looks and feels sturdy so should last the test if time. The upholstery is both upmarket and durable so that should still look smart enough after the car has notched up several thousand miles.
On the downside, there are a number of hard plastic surfaces inside the cabin that may be prone to scratching over time, but again it is too early to say for certain.
Although the touchscreen is like the main nerve centre and, as a result, gets covered in fingerprints it is easily wiped clean.
The VW ID.4 comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty which isn’t a patch on Kia’s seven-year, 100,000-mile policy. But for added peace of mind, the battery is covered by an 8-year, 100,000-mile warranty.
In addition, the temperature of the battery cell modules is regulated by a floor plate with integrated water channels connected to a coolant circuit with air conditioning compressor and electric heater. This is to ensure the battery maintains an ideal temperature which is beneficial to power output, fast DC charging and the battery service life.
Safety & Security
When tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating, the VW ID.4 was awarded the maximum five stars with a 93 per cent score for adult safety and 89 per cent mark for child occupants. Safety Assist systems also scored well with 85 per cent.
The car features a wealth of safety kit and driver aids to help protect occupants and other road users alike as well as helping to prevent accidents happening in the first place.
Safety kit on our ID.4 test car included adaptive cruise control, with front assist, radar sensor-controlled distance monitoring system, city emergency braking system, lane assist, speed-sensitive power-assisted steering, forward collision warning, dynamic road sign display, high beam assist plus Car2X intelligent vehicle networking.
There are Isofix child seat fittings, a driver fatigue monitor, electronic stability control with traction control, a full suite of airbags, tyre pressure monitoring, along with remote central locking, a high-end alarm system and immobiliser to keep any uninvited attention at bay.
The VW ID.4 is a practical family car that is fully electric and boasts an impressive driving range between charges. It’s easy on the eye and simple to drive, but some interior features, such as the overcomplicated and a tad sluggish infotainment system and hard plastic surfaces, rather let the side down.