Electric Vehicle Review of Volkswagen ID4
Volkswagen ID.4 Test Drive Review
Miss GoElectric here at the Somerset Mall in Troy, Michigan. We’re actually about to take a test drive in the Volkswagen ID.4. This is their last stop on a tour that started in February. So I’m really anxious to get in the car and test it out for the first time.
Well, all right. I have an 11:15 AM time slot to drive the new ID.4, and all we have to do is check in. So let’s go.
I found this online, where they were signing up people for test drives and I thought, man really have to get in there and give it a shot because I tried to ask Volkswagen for a car, but they told me I needed 200,000 subscribers. So we have a long way to go to get there [laughs]. But with your help, I can do it. Before we take off, let’s talk about the specifications of the ID.4. There are three trims with one package option. The base pro model starts at $39,995 before the $7,500 federal tax incentive. This standard model includes a lot of features you would expect to pay extra for when shopping for this type of vehicle. IQ drive includes all the advanced driver assist features standard. The Pro S version adds a panoramic roof, upgraded headlamps, hands-free lift gate, upgraded seating, and a larger center screen, among other add-ons.
The loan package option for the ID.4 is called the gradient package, and includes 20-inch wheels, roof reels and accents in silver rather than black, and a black roof line instead of matching the body color. The one I’ll be driving today is the rear-wheel drive 1st Edition, which is sold out. Its extras include unique design cues and a towing capacity of 2,200 pounds. All rear-wheel drive models output 150 kW or 210 horsepower and 229 pound feet of torque. They are EPA-rated at 260 or 250 miles. They’re capable of receiving up to 125 kW DC fast charging speeds, 11 kW for AC onboard charging at home. Available later this year, the all-wheel drive models step it up a notch and provide 295 horsepower. The EPA range drops slightly to 249 miles on the all-wheel drive pro model and 240 miles on all-wheel drive Pro S models.
Important to note, the towing capacity is 20% higher than the ID.4 rear-wheel drive 1st Edition at 2,700 pounds. Let’s talk batteries. The lithium ion battery consists of 288 pouch cells in 12 modules. Total capacity is 82 kWh, but 77 kWh is what VW made usable. Pouch cells tend to be more energy-dense and lighter, which is part of the reason why you see some automakers opt for this style. VW claims the ID.4 can reach 80% charge in about 38 minutes on a DC fast charger at the maximum 125 kW. As an added perk, the vehicle includes three years of unlimited charging on the Electrify America network. Now, why don’t we hop in and take it first spin.
First impressions, this feels very comfortable, especially the seats. I know this is a first edition, so it has the leatherette, but it will come standard with cloth. But I believe that the padding situation is the same regardless. It feels really nice and comfortable, like this would be great on a road trip. For this being a Volkswagen and in that economy-type segment, I think that the materials are pretty good in here. I would have to say this is a first edition, so it is an upgrade, they’re all sold out. I do like on the first edition, how they have this contrast with the white accents all over the place, but to my understanding, all the pro and pro last vehicles will have the black piano finish, and it’s a little bit more subdued. Which might not be bad, because a white steering wheel is probably going to get dirty pretty quick.
The interior of this vehicle is that actually pretty quiet. It kind of rivals some of the luxury brands that I’ve been in, which is kind of surprising for this just being a Volkswagen. Apparently the ID.4 has some sophisticated arrow acoustics. An acoustic windshield and the low-drag exterior mirror housings do their part. Insulation within the body significantly reduces wind and tire noise. The route VWs marketing team authorized didn’t include highways. I still have more testing to do when it comes to noise levels at higher speeds. Nonetheless, I’m impressed so far. I like the fact that right in front of me, the screen is actually attached to the steering wheel. So whenever I move it up and down to get it comfortable, I still have great visibility. Right in front of me, you can see the speed limit.
This actually also has the speed limit sign indicator so you can tell how fast you are allowed to go versus how fast you really are going. So we have this big touch screen in the center stack. And one thing I usually like about certain center council areas, is if they do have a shifter or something, I can put my hand on and touch the screen, that’s very helpful. This one doesn’t have that, but I will say, since the console is kind of sitting down lower, I’m glad that they have these armrests because I actually do have somewhere to put my elbow instead of it floating in space or me keeping it on my lap. So comfort factor wise, I like that a lot. But when I’m going to use the touch screen, it’s not as helpful because I don’t have anything to kind of place my hand on while I’m navigating through there.
At the entry level, a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment display is standard with navigation. The Pro S and 1st Edition bump that up to a 12-inch display. Menus can be moved using gesture control, which is novel and fun. Now, there are some simple controls on the center stack where you actually slide your finger across, or you just tap it to use the buttons. You know, back in 2013, I launched the link in MKZ and they came out with a similar technology where you slide your finger across. We did get a lot of feedback that customers actually didn’t really like that because they just want some kind of feeling to be able to adjust us the knob and turn the volume up and down just as they please, I think they’re probably going to have the same problem with this system here.
So who knows if in the future when they do different iterations of this vehicle, they’ll go back to the knobs, but it doesn’t bother me. I kind of like the little bit more high tech feature. Having the controls right here at your steering wheel for a shortcut is also a nice feature that you can kind of get around from using over there. A 10-color ambient lighting system is standard and a whopping 30-color ambient lighting system is optional on the top trim lines. This small touch makes the vehicle feel rather premium in my opinion. Now, there is an interesting feature that I really like on this ID.4. Right under the windscreen in front of me, there’s a, what they call the ID light. The ID light system uses various colored light pulses to signal statuses like readiness to drive, turning instructions from the navigation system, breaking prompts from driver assist technology, and incoming phone calls.
Also when using voice commands, it signals that it’s listening. On this screen right in front of me you’ll have the safety technology that shows you when it’s picking up the lines on the road to be able to let you know when you’re going out outside of them, and the adaptive cruise control system already in front of you, which is really nice. And you can expand the view. There’s a little slider button on the steering wheel in order to expand the safety technology or go back to a normal view. All of those safety features that you would expect out of a modern-day vehicle, they come with it, which I think is a big deal. One of the really great selling points of this vehicle, is that even on the introductory model, which starts at just under $40,000, you’ll get all those standard safety features.
Now, this ID.4 that I’m in is the 201 horsepower edition. I’m flooring it now, and it wasn’t from a stop. It has decent pickup and go, it’s not the fastest EV, but it’s enough to get you going up on the highway when you need to merge. So I don’t think there’s any concern there. There are four drive modes in the ID.4, eco, comfort, sport, and custom. In custom mode, drivers decide more specifically how the car will drive and feel. For example, I like my steering tight and sporty and my suspension comfortable and soft. I can make those adjustments separately in this mode. When this rocker shifter is in the D or drive position, the regenerative breaking is in a regular or mild setting. This is the default. The B stands for break. In that position, a more aggressive and efficient regenerative breaking kicks in.
Even in the B position, I feel like the ID.4 is less aggressive than other breaking systems I’ve experienced. Wow. The turning radius is really great on this vehicle. I feel like I just turned on a dime when I did that Michigan left, which is basically like a U-turn if you guys don’t know what a Michigan left is. But yeah, it turns pretty quick and solid. I’m just returning this ID.4 now, and I would say my overall impressions are that this is a pretty good EV. People that are looking to get into an EV for the first time, I think this is a pretty solid car. Now, if you are in a winter climate like I am in Michigan, there are a couple of concerns. One being that it doesn’t have a heat pump here in the Northern states. Apparently they are offering it in Canada, but I do think that would help on efficiency.
But otherwise, everything else that I’m seeing in this vehicle is pretty good. As far as size goes, the ID.4 sits squarely in the middle of the compact SUV segment. It’s 4.6 inches shorter, and 1.9 inches lower than Volkswagen’s Tiguan. Passenger volume is similar to the Tiguan, despite the overall smaller footprint. It certainly feels spacious inside. Functionality is key in an SUV, so I like what I see in terms of cargo space. The cargo volume is 30.3 cubic feet behind the second row and 64.2 cubic feet with the seats folded. The false floor offers a little storage underneath, but more importantly provides a flat surface that transitions well when the seats are down, and yes, the seats lay completely flat. Unfortunately, this EV does not have the extra storage compartment in the front.