Volkswagen ID.4 review

Our first drive in the new electric Volkswagen ID.4.

What's this?

The second member of Volkswagen’s ‘ID’ family is the new ID.4, a five-door, five-seat SUV that’s powered by electricity. In terms of size, it’s flanked by the two different versions of the Tiguan and it offers a range between charges of up to 500km. The ID.4 shares its modern design language and a whole lot more with the existing VW ID.3, though it’s usefully larger inside and in the boot. This is a viable family SUV for those with a couple of kids.

Up front, the ID.4 gets a high-tech cabin, with digital instruments and a large touchscreen in the middle. This controls most functions in the car and, while it responds quickly to touch and looks good, we did find ourselves wishing that some systems retained physical buttons. Likewise, the extra switches on the driver’s door panel to choose which window to open and switch between sides for mirror adjustment just didn’t work very well. Hopefully, future software updates will at least cure the latter issue.

Nonetheless, it’s easy to be impressed by the interior, as it looks bright and inviting, more so with the massive panoramic glass roof fitted as standard to the top-of-the range 1st Max model. This allows light spill into the rear seats, enhancing the spacious feel back there. Rear passengers get an elevated seating position and a wide seat base, so it’s really quite comfortable. When needed, the seat backs can fold down to extend the boot further. Roof rails are standard on the 1st editions and the ID.4 can be fitted with a tow bar.

How is it to drive?

A quick ride or drive in the ID.4 is all it takes to realise that this is an exceptionally quiet car. The test vehicle featured an acoustic windscreen and double-glazed side glass, which seem to cancel out any extra wind roar that the glass roof might create, as it’s fabulously quiet, even at motorway speeds. You can just about hear the electric motor when you’re accelerating, but otherwise, this car makes for a serene driving experience.

Despite that, it can also be fun to drive. The electric motor produces up to 204hp and its power delivery is smoothly calibrated, so it feels effortlessly quick all the time. The fact it’s rear-wheel drive won’t escape the notice of petrolheads, but most won’t realise that the power is going to the back, even in slippery conditions, as traction is good, the traction control is very quick-acting and the ID.4 has great balance. Complementing that is direct steering, a well-modulated brake pedal and excellent control of unwanted body and wheel movement over bumps.

When is it coming to Ireland?

You can order an ID.4 right now, though first deliveries are set for April, we believe. The limited production 1st editions are nearly sold out, and they seem to represent great value-for-money with loads of equipment and a unique specification, starting at €43,326. When that production run is over, the regular ID.4 is set to start in the region of €36,000, and should still be well-equipped. The entry-level model will get a smaller capacity battery and a less powerful motor than were tested here.

Any juicy technology?

All versions of the ID.4 get Discover Pro navigation, which works well, but to see it at its most advanced, you need to add the augmented reality head-up display option. This works quite unlike most other head-up display systems of its kind, as it seems to project the navigation prompts and direction arrows well ahead of the car, and they appear to get closer as a turn approaches. It’s remarkably intuitive to use and well worth investing in if you extensively use navigation anyway. rating: 4.5/5

We’re used to testing new electric cars and concluding how great they are, but then lamenting the high cost. Not here. The ID.4 is a really good electric car, but it’s also well-priced. Sure, there are others with a longer range and others that are much faster, but in terms of a family-sized SUV, the only direct rival the ID.4 has so far is its first cousin, the Skoda Enyaq. We reckon a lot of people will move to the ID.4 from a Tiguan, and they’ll like what they find.

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