2021 Volkswagen ID.4 SUV finally revealed

Volkswagen ID.4 is brand’s first all-electric SUV and has a 323-mile range

  • First cars will be 1st and 1st Max editions
  • 77kWh battery and 201bhp electric motor
  • Interior space matches larger SUVs

After many teasers, spy shots and hints, the Volkswagen ID.4 SUV has now been unveiled. It’s the brand’s second electric ID model after the Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback and should go on sale in the first half of 2021. UK prices and specifications have yet to be revealed but German buyers initially get two high-spec launch editions and we’d expect similar versions to be offered here.

When it goes on sale, the ID.4 will be based on the same underpinnings as the Skoda Enyaq and Audi Q4 e-tron. A SEAT-badged version is almost certainly on the way too. Other rivals will include the Tesla Model Y and Nissan Ariya. Read on for full details and our drive of a prototype.

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Volkswagen ID.4 1st and 1st Max

Like the ID.3, first ID.4 models will be well-equipped 1st and 1st Max versions. It’s not known whether UK specifications will mirror German-market cars, but they should be quite similar. The ID.4 1st model gets 20-inch alloy wheels, a 10-inch touchscreen with sat nav and a reversing camera, plus multi-zone climate control, heated seats and adaptive cruise control. The 1st Max spec leaves nothing to be desired, with matrix LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, an augmented-reality head-up display and an electric tailgate, among other features.

Interior

The ID.4 will feature a small digital instrument cluster and an infotainment screen mounted on the dashboard, like the ID.3. There are capacitive controls for the climate control and 30-colour ambient lighting for the fascia and door trims. An LED strip along the bottom of the dashboard can change colour and blink to alert the driver to notifications, and work with the sat nav and safety systems to suggest direction changes.

Piano Black and silver trim adds to its design, while the seats are upholstered in an eco-friendly mix of artificial leather and ArtVelours made from 20% recycled plastic bottles. The front seats will also offer a massaging function and pneumatic lumbar support.

Practicality

The ID.4 is a little longer than the Volkswagen Tiguan but there’ll be as much space as a larger SUV because there’s no engine. This is in keeping with the Golf-sized ID.3, which has a similar amount of space to the bigger Volkswagen Passat.

It’s also been confirmed that the ID.4 boasts 543 litres of boot space behind the rear seats; not far behind the 615 litres offered by the Tiguan when its sliding rear seats are pushed forwards. Flipping the rear seats down frees up 1,575 litres of space. Fitted with the optional towing bracket (standard on 1st editions), the ID.4 can tow up to 1,000kg.

Range and performance

The German manufacturer has confirmed that the first ID.4 to be revealed will be rear-wheel drive. An all-wheel drive model, which is likely to feature dual electric motors, will follow afterwards. A range of up to 323 miles is promised from the 77kWh rear-drive model.

Like the Volkswagen Golf-sized ID.3, the ID.4 will be based on VW’s modular MEB platform, which was developed specifically for electric cars. The platform can accommodate a variety of different electric powertrains, allowing VW to offer less expensive variants that have a single rear-mounted electric motor, two-wheel drive and a smaller battery, as well as range-topping models that have bigger batteries and a second motor on the front axle to give four-wheel-drive.

Battery packs used in MEB-based cars currently range from 45kWh to 77kWh, and the 1st models only offer the bigger of those. With a 201bhp electric motor, 0-62mph takes a brisk 8.5 seconds and the top speed is limited to 99mph. Fast-charging is available, so you’ll be able to top up the battery to 80% capacity in half an hour or so.

The ID.4 was previewed by the ID.Crozz concept, and a Crozz badge features on the Chinese website’s photos. The Crozz concept had more of a coupe SUV shape like the Mercedes GLC Coupe and Audi Q3 Sportback. It’s possible that a sleeker version of the ID.4 may join the range in the future.

Volkswagen says the ID.4 will be a carbon-neutral car when it is launched, just like the ID.3. The brand plans to be entirely carbon-neutral by 2050, as it looks to reduce its overall emissions by a third in the next five years. Worldwide, the company plans to introduce 75 new electric cars by the end of the decade.

Volkswagen ID.4 prototype drive - Andreas May

We drove a prototype First Edition model fitted with a 77kWh battery pack and a 201bhp electric motor powering the rear wheels. Expected to cost around £52,000, it's a high-spec model showcasing all the ID.4's features. It has a 323-mile range and 125kW charging will be available, allowing a 199-mile top-up in just half an hour - 50kW charging is standard.

Volkswagen engineer Dimitri Asmus sat in the car with us, whose last project before the ID.4 was the Mk7 Golf R hot hatch. This was clear when we drove the new VW on a test track because it's rather fun to drive. There's some body lean, as you'd expect for an SUV, but the ID.4 feels lighter and more agile than you may expect. This is largely thanks to the low centre of gravity owing to the position of the car’s battery. The ID.4's rear-wheel drive setup means the front wheels are free to steer with precision.

In keeping with its SUV billing, the ID.4 can handle similar light off-roading to other crossovers, namely dirt tracks, campsites and the occasional dry slope.

We're also told Volkswagen has responded to criticism of the ID.3 hatchback's interior materials, and that the ID.4 will feature more soft-touch surfaces and higher quality plastics, despite sharing the ID.3's minimal layout. We still found the optional 12-inch infotainment setup in the prototype tricky to operate, however.

Read our picks for the best electric SUVs and the best electric cars you can buy this year.

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