New Volkswagen ID.7 2024 review: a big step in the right direction for VW EVs
The new ID.7 rights many of VW’s previous EV wrongs
People will quite rightly cross-shop this new ID.7 with the all-conquering Tesla Model 3, though in reality the Volkswagen is a much larger car. The maker has worked hard to right its early-EV wrongs, and the cabin, technology and general driving experience easily justify this model’s £50k-plus price tag. The ID.7 has every right to be considered in the same sentence as industry leaders like Tesla – as well as bigger, more practical rivals costing considerably more.
Even if the reaction to Volkswagen’s early EV efforts was a little lukewarm, you could hardly accuse the car maker of resting on its laurels. Following limp launches for the ID.3, ID.4 and ID.5, the bold-looking ID. Buzz won hearts for its charming personality and practical interior.
But now it’s the turn of VW’s range flagship. The new ID.7 may look sleeker than its bus-bodied sibling, but this new saloon-cum-hatchback is a full 249mm longer than the Buzz. That means, despite the 7’s circa-£50k price, it’s more closely aligned with the Tesla Model S, than a Model 3.
Let’s first address the elephant(s) in the room. Volkswagen’s ID cars came under heavy criticism for their lacklustre interior quality, plus fundamental technology and infotainment failings. With the ID.7, the maker is looking to right those wrongs.
Indeed, from the driver’s seat, all appears well. The general cabin ambience has been lifted to a level that easily competes with cars in this class; there are soft-touch materials on the doors and dash, and the seats offer plenty of support. The main controls are a little confusing at first – the wipers are embedded on a stalk to the left of the steering wheel, rather than the right, for example – but at least they’re not buried within the touchscreen like on the Tesla.
Speaking of which, the ID.7’s big, bright, 15-inch central display instantly feels more responsive than in the maker’s previous electric offerings. The menu layouts aren’t the most intuitive, but playing around for a few minutes proves all is not lost; a BMW i4’s clickwheel is easier to use, but the functionality is all there.
Best of all, Volkswagen has finally deemed it appropriate to fit backlit climate controls, which means you can now accurately adjust the temperature at night. They’re still touch-sensitive, but they feel infinitely more responsive than before.
The ID.7 is definitely the most grown up of Volkswagen’s all-encompassing electric-car range – a feeling that continues as soon as you set off. Double-glazed side windows make this an almost-eerily quiet car at low speeds, but even on the motorway this 4.96-metre-long five-door remains impressively refined – despite our test model being fitted with the largest 20-inch wheels.
Yet that sense of being isolated from the outside world doesn’t come at the expense of body control. The ID.7’s wide track and excellent damping mean it’s comfortable but resolutely tied down at all times – even in the pouring rain. And this despite the fact that (for now) VW’s executive range-topper is only available in single-motor guise; a dual-motor GTX is due before the end of the year.
Performance is sufficient, if some way off the class best. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, with a linear power delivery that still manages to pin you in your seat if you request all 282bhp in a single hit. That said, it’s probably the 545Nm of torque that better tells the story here; put your foot down at almost any speed and the ID.7 picks up with urgency, never struggling to transfer its grunt to the ground.
In short, the ID.7 does a good job of hiding its size, feeling just as agile as a Model 3 point to point. But whereas it merely matches the Tesla from a handling perspective, it punts it into next week when it comes to practicality. Length alone means the Volkswagen is a much more spacious car for rear-seat passengers; six feet-tall adults will have no trouble getting comfortable. Both knee and headroom are generous enough.
Then there’s the fact that despite the ID.7’s saloon shape, VW has fitted a roof-hinged hatch, which works wonders for accessibility. Open it up and you’ll not only find a much bigger boot (532 litres plays the Model 3’s 425-litre maximum) but you’re not restricted by a narrow, letterbox-like opening. The VW’s seats fold almost flat in a 60:40 formation, and there’s even an ID.7 Tourer estate on the way.
But while the Volkswagen wins points for practicality, it sits in second spot (just) with regards to range and charging. VW says the ID.7 Pro Match can do up to 383 miles on a charge, equating to a pretty punchy 4.9mi/kWh. We didn’t come anywhere close to that during our test, though the weather was poor and the stop-start nature of nailing down pictures and driving impressions meant it wasn’t remotely representative of a real-world result. Still, you’d need to average almost 3.9mi/kWh to crack 300 miles in normal driving – an ambitious number, if you ask us.
Rapid charging is possible at up to 170kW – matching the base Tesla, but falling short of the similarly priced (£49,990) Model 3 Long Range, which is capable of 250kW top-ups. Either way, VW’s charging curve is sufficiently flat that the maker claims a 5-80 per cent refill is possible in 28 minutes, give or take the same as the range-topping Tesla.
To all intents and purposes, there’s just one ID.7 available to buy right now; VW tells us the limited-run Pro Launch Edition will be removed from sale imminently. That means that if you approach your local dealer today, you’ll be pointed towards the similarly well-equipped Pro Match version with the same 77kWh battery, which actually undercuts early cars by a little over £5,000.
Every Pro Match model gets matrix-LED lights, 19-inch wheels, and two-tone paint, plus three-zone climate control, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus the 15-inch Discover Pro infotainment system and augmented-reality head-up display. Frustratingly, a range-preserving ‘energy efficient’ heat pump is a £1,050 option, as were our car’s 20-inch wheels (£480).
|Volkswagen ID.7 Pro Match 77kWh 286PS
|Price as tested:
|Single-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
|383 miles/170kW, 5-80% in 28 mins