The count of compact electric SUVs continues to rise with almost every automaker already possessing at least one in their lineup or one planned to debut soon. Now that the category finally has some strong competition to Tesla, there are some truly impressive ones and some that still fall slightly short. The Volkswagen ID.4 lands somewhere in the middle, as it’s fashionable and comfortable, but its driving range falls behind some of its rivals.
The ID.4 is the primary electric ID model to reach the U.S., but VW has already revealed the chic ID. Buzz electric microbus and the ID.7 sedan, which will arrive at some point in 2024. At present, VW only offers one electric model, aimed at competitors like the Tesla Model Y, Toyota bZ4X, and Nissan Ariya.
The ID.4 is smaller than the VW Tiguan, but due to its smart packaging, the interior space is almost similar, with just slightly less legroom in the rear. There’s 41.1 inches of legroom in the front and 37.6 inches in the rear seat. Cargo volume is 30.3 cubic feet behind the second row, and 64.2 cubic feet with the seats folded.
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VW provides two powertrain options for the ID.4. The standard version is powered by a single motor at the rear with 201 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque. For buyers looking for either all-wheel drive or more power, there’s the ID.4 AWD Pro, which adds an additional electric motor at the front. The ID.4 AWD Pro has 295 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque and can accelerate from 0-60 mph in under six seconds. During regular driving, the ID.4 Pro AWD primarily utilizes its rear electric motor and only activates the front motor when extra traction is required.
The ID.4 standard has a driving range of only 209 miles, while the ID.4 Pro and Pro S have a 275 mile range. The ID.4 AWD Pro and AWD Pro S models have a 255 mile range. These specifications mean that the ID.4 has a shorter driving range than the Tesla Model Y, but it’s close to what you’ll get with the Toyota bZ4X, which has a driving range between 222 and 252 miles depending on if you choose front- or all-wheel drive. The Hyundai Ioniq 5, which is another strong competitor, has a driving range up to 303 miles.
On the road, the ID.4 has sufficient power, but if you desire a bit more excitement, the all-wheel drive version is preferable. However, neither version provides the same speedy acceleration from a standstill that you get with more powerful EVs. While some other EVs aim for a sportier driving experience, the ID.4 is geared towards the general public that desires a comfortable EV with driving qualities similar to VW’s ICE models.
One thing we would like to see VW add is a superior regenerative braking system with multiple settings, including a one pedal setting that would bring it to a stop without the need to use the brake. This seems like a significant omission, since even some hybrids offer different regenerative braking settings to help recharge the battery. There are only two drive modes, D or B, with the B setting amplifying the amount of regeneration.
Charging with a Level 2 charger, the 11 kW onboard charger enables the ID.4 to reach a full charge in approximately six hours and fifteen minutes for the ID.4s equipped with the 62 kWh battery and seven and a half hours for ID.4s equipped with the 82 kWh battery.
The ID.4 Standard and S offer a 140-kW DC fast-charging rate, while Pro models equipped with the larger 82 kWh battery provide a 170-kW DC fast-charging speed. This allows all ID.4 Pro trims to DC fast charge from 10-80% in about 30 minutes. The 2023 ID.4 also comes with three years of unlimited 30-minute charging sessions at Electrify America DC fast chargers.
Inside the ID.4’s cabin, there is a minimalist design with a small digital screen in front of the driver and a 12-inch touchscreen at the center of the dashboard. The infotainment system looks sleek, but once you begin to use it, be prepared for plenty of frustration. The system is not entirely user-friendly and feels clumsy compared to the ID.4’s rivals. The touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel and climate control system are a notable letdown. You even have to use a touch-sensitive button to adjust the audio system volume. The controls may look more streamlined, but physical buttons and knobs would be preferable.
Another peculiar decision is the absence of switches for the windows in the second row. Instead, the driver has to press a button to activate the controls for the rear windows, then press the button to either close or open them. It’s a two-step process, which doesn’t make much sense.
On the safety front, the ID.4 comes standard with the anticipated drive assistance tech features, like automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane assist, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.
The pricing for the 2023 VW ID.4 starts at $40,290 for the ID.4 Standard version, while the ID.4 AWD Pro starts at $49,090. The good news is that the ID.4 is eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit.
Ultimately, the 2023 VW ID.4 targets the core of the segment by appealing to buyers who want a comfortable and roomy EV, without breaking the bank. The ID.4 could benefit from a bit more range if VW aims to truly compete with Hyundai and Tesla, but for most drivers, a 275-mile range is more than adequate.
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