Volkswagen ID.4 SUV review
"The Volkswagen ID.4 is a fun and practical zero-emissions SUV"
- Good to drive
- Competitive range
- Great practicality
- Frustrating infotainment
- Expensive top versions
- Some cheap materials
The Volkswagen ID.4 is a vital model for the German brand, marking its first entry into the rapidly growing electric SUV class. Not only that but, unlike the smaller Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback, VW is hoping the ID.4 will conquer America, and take on the Tesla Model Y, Ford Mustang Mach-E and Toyota bZ4X globally.
The first high-riding model for the ID brand is based on the same technology as the ID.3, but we think its SUV styling is more desirable and should appeal to a greater number of buyers.
The electric SUV sector is blossoming and already includes models like the Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge, Kia e-Niro and Jaguar I-Pace. However, most early entrants have been premium models with prices to match. The ID.4 is one of the first mainstream electric SUVs that’s designed to be closely matched to diesel and plug-in hybrid models on price. Even in the well-equipped Max trim, the ID.4 is one of the most affordable all-electric SUVs to arrive in showrooms so far. The entry-level Life Pure version costs from around £38,000, which is a similar price to a well-specced diesel Volkswagen Tiguan. The ID.4 can get pricey, however, with the GTX model starting from over £51,000.
Sitting between the Volkswagen Tiguan and seven-seat Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace in size, the ID.4 shares its design theme with the ID.3. It gets a much bolder and more modern look when compared to the conservative Tiguan, with smooth lines, large alloy wheels and coast-to-coast front and rear lights. The ID.4 also boasts trendy SUV-style plastic wheel arches and side skirts for a tougher look, while a silver graphic above the side windows helps it stand out from the masses.
The interior has a simple design, dominated by a new infotainment setup with a large central touchscreen above the dashboard with a smaller driver's display behind the steering wheel. It should be as easy to use as a smartphone, so it's a shame the system isn't particularly intuitive, with too many steps required to operate rudimentary functions. Hopefully this can be improved with wireless updates in future. It mostly feels sturdy inside but the presence of some cheaper plastics hints at cost cutting in places.
Early buyers got the larger 77kWh Pro Performance battery and 201bhp electric motor, which sends power to the rear wheels. A charge from a 7.2kW wallbox takes around 12 hours and the ID.4 has an official range of up to 324 miles, depending on which version you buy. Acceleration from 0-62mph isn't as brisk as in some electric vehicles, taking 8.5 seconds, but the ID.4 has assured handling. Acceleration can be transformed by picking one of the GTX models with an additional motor for the front wheels, increasing power to 295bhp and cutting the 0-62mph dash to 6.2 seconds. Thanks to upgraded suspension, it offers more sporting prowess and sharper handling than the standard version.
At launch, the ID.4 was only available in flagship 1st Edition spec with 20-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, heated seats and a rear-view camera. Trim levels now include Life, Style, Family, and Max, with the GTX and GTX Max models sitting at the top of the lineup. All are well-equipped, with even the Life Pure trim getting a 52kWh battery, 18-inch alloy wheels, a 10-inch infotainment display, ambient lighting, keyless entry and a heated windscreen. Pro versions get a larger battery for extra range, along with more power. The ID.4 also scored five stars in Euro NCAP safety tests, which is a reassuring result for buyers.
As one of the first mass-market electric SUVs to hit the market, the Volkswagen ID.4 should make sense for a large proportion of buyers. It's easy to live with, practical and offers a decent range with the option of rapid charging on longer trips. Perhaps even more than the ID.3, this could be the model to really get VW's transformation away from fossil fuels moving. It’s not perfect, however, and rivals from Hyundai and Toyota have shown it’s possible to offer better interior quality for less money.