New Volkswagen ID.4 2021 review

The stylish Volkswagen ID.4 is the second model from the German company’s all-electric ID sub-brand and it arrives with a 310-mile range

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Verdict

The Volkswagen ID.4 is a very good EV in a more appealing SUV body than the smaller, less practical ID.3, and as refined and composed as you’d hope from a more upmarket EV. We’d like to see better regenerative braking and more real-world range, but the second ID model is anything but a supporting act. It’s
the brand’s most appealing car.

Volkswagen’s all-electric ID sub-brand continues to grow at pace, with this new ID.4 SUV joining the line-up. It’s the second ID model following the ID.3 five-door hatchback, but this full SUV offers fresh appeal and even more style.

Starting from £37,800 in 1st Edition trim (the only specification available so far) after the £3,000 UK plug-in car grant, and given that this ID.4 comes with the larger 77kWh Pro Performance battery and a 201bhp electric motor, plus lots of kit, it’s relatively well priced. Especially when you factor in the lower running costs compared with a petrol or even a hybrid SUV.

Charging at home from a 7.2kW wallbox will cost £11.09 and takes a little over 12 hours. But this ID.4 also features 125kW rapid charging, which will replenish the battery from 10 to 80-per-cent full in around 35 minutes; VW claims you can add 199 miles of range in just 30 minutes.

Total range is a claimed 310 miles (WLTP). We saw closer to 235 on a cool day with a few systems running, but noticed that the ID.4’s predicted range decreased at roughly the same rate as distance travelled.

It’s relaxing on the move, too. Despite the 1st Edition trim’s 20-inch alloys, the car rides and handles fairly sweetly. At a cruise on A and B-roads, only the biggest bumps upset the car’s relaxed gait. There’s a firmness to control the two-tonne-plus kerbweight, but it’s not where you expect. The initial part of the suspension’s travel is softer and more compliant, so small bumps are soaked up relatively well, while big bumps don’t throw the body about too much. There’s a little bit of movement relayed to the cabin, but it’s certainly no more than in a regular family SUV.

The steering is positive too, to capitalise on the ID.4’s nice balance between comfort and composure. Despite the car’s weight, you feel that a good chunk of it is centred low in the chassis, so there’s not as much roll as you might think. The steering is a good weight and accurate, so the ID.4 offers enough precision in direction changes.

However, despite a relatively strong power output and an even healthier 310Nm of torque, the ID.4 never quite feels as quick as its claimed 8.5-second 0-62mph time.

We’ve become used to the almost instant hit of torque in an EV, but it feels like VW has specifically calibrated the motor’s force to come in smoothly. It makes for refined progress, but acceleration that’s maybe not quite as strong as you would expect.

Nor is the regenerative braking in the car’s more aggressive B mode. Unlike rivals such as the Mercedes EQA, the ID.4 has just two settings for drivers to choose from.

The standard mode sees the VW coast along with very little deceleration when you lift off the throttle – great for conserving momentum and range – but if you’re in town, even in B mode the braking force isn’t enough to allow one-pedal driving. We’d like to have another, stronger setting, to make urban driving even easier.

This is still a strong point, though, due to the rear-mounted motor, which gives a tight turning circle. Despite a few drawbacks with the powertrain there’s enough pace, and the ID.4 has a broad range of ability.

This includes the tech, because you get a 10-inch touchscreen with nav, Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay, plus LED lights, dual-zone climate control, a rear camera, AEB, lane assist, adaptive cruise, and a digital dash.

The screen itself is bright and sharp. It’s responsive too, which is good, because some simple tasks take a few too many prods, while touch-sensitive sliders for the climate control aren’t the easiest to operate.

One area that’s worth mentioning is the ID.4’s connectivity. Owners get a three-year subscription to VW’s We Connect Plus service, which gives you access to the We Charge network’s 150,000 charging points across Europe, and exclusive charging rates.

Otherwise, the ID.4 does things you want a regular car to do well. The optimisation of the MEB platform means packaging is good. It’s roomy; with no centre tunnel to speak of, fitting three in the rear isn’t a squeeze.

There’s also good head and legroom; only the relatively small rear windows that help the flowing roofline make it feel a little tighter than some rivals. On dimensions alone this isn’t the case though; the 543-litre boot highlights this nicely.

Model:Volkswagen ID.4 1st Edition Pro Performance
Price:£37,800 (incl. PiCG)
Battery:77kWh (net) lithium-ion
Power/torque:201bhp/310Nm
Transmission:Single-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive 
0-62mph:8.5 seconds
Top speed:99mph
Range:310 miles
Charging:125kW (10-80 per cent 35 mins)
On sale:Now

Sean’s been writing about cars since 2010, having worked for outlets as diverse as PistonHeads, MSN Cars, Which? Cars, Race Tech – a specialist motorsport publication – and most recently Auto Express and sister titles Carbuyer and DrivingElectric

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