The Volkswagen ID.4 is an all-electric SUV with an official driving range of 310 miles, lots of space for five plus a big boot, and it’s very refined and comfortable.
There haven’t been many spacious all-electric SUVs around the £40,000 price point so far, but the Volkswagen ID.4 is now here, and unlike the ID.3 which is just for European markets, the ID.4 is an important global vehicle for the company.
The Volkswagen ID.4 1ST Edition Pro Performance has a 77kWh lithium-ion battery, a 204 PS electric motor, a single-speed gearbox and rear-wheel drive.
Although it’s officially described as a ‘compact SUV’, it feels bigger, with lots of space for five occupants, including good rear legroom (with a flat floor rather than any form of central transmission tunnel), a large boot (543 litres or 1,575 litres with the rear seats folded), and there’s even space under the rear of the boot floor for the charging cables, which is much better than having the cables lying around inside the car.
There’s also lots of space between the two front seats for storage, including two cup holders at the front, and another three compartments for drinks or phones.
We’re not sure how practical the white steering wheel will be over a number of years, and the ID.4 is likely to look better in colours other than the Manganese Grey metallic of our test car.
For an SUV the ID.4 is relatively aerodynamic, with a drag coefficient of 0.28 Cd, even with the large 20-inch alloy wheels. In the interests of aerodynamics the door handles don’t stick out, but as a result they’re quite hard to get hold of.
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When you first get into the ID.4, in case you wonder how to start it, there’s a small start/stop button on the right-hand side of the steering column. But you don’t actually need to press this, you just need to put it into gear – but that might be a challenge because the gear selector is positioned on the right-hand side of the instrument display (similar to a BMW i3) and it’s hidden behind the steering wheel so you can’t see it. You can select D, or B if you want more brake regeneration. If you want to choose a drive mode, the choice is Eco, Comfort, Sport or Individual.
The ID.4, unlike most non-electric Volkswagens, is rear-wheel drive. This is better than front-wheel drive, because rear-wheel drive can handle the torque without wheelspin from the front wheels, and rear-wheel drive results in the handling being more rewarding (helped by the 50:50 weight distribution and low centre of gravity due to the battery sitting in the floor between the axles). However the ID.4 weighs 2,124kg so very few electric cars with this sort of mass can be described as agile.
The ID.4 GTX is coming soon, which will be all-wheel drive. But in the meantime the rear-wheel drive ID.4 driving experience is excellent; the traction control system is very well judged – there’s virtually no slippage of the rear wheels through wet corners, yet the system also isn’t too enthusiastic to intervene early, in the dry or in the wet. In other words the rear-wheel drive chassis just gets on with the job with no dramas.
It’s a similar story with the ride quality, which is very comfortable – despite the large 20-inch wheels (which are the only source of noise at motorway speeds). The suspension soaks up bumps and poor road surfaces as capably as you would expect an SUV to do. In fact the entire car feels like an SUV should, in terms of a cushioning ride, steering weight and an overall sense of solidity.
And of course the ID.4 is all-electric, and so it’s extremely refined at all times compared to petrol and diesel cars. It offers decent performance, but you couldn’t describe it as rapid (the forthcoming GTX is more sporty).
In terms of the infotainment system, one of our main memories of driving the Volkswagen ID.3 was constantly reaching over to press the blue button on the far left-hand side of the touchscreen to access virtually all car controls. The set-up in the ID.4 is similar, but it seems better, and the blue ‘home’ button is on the right, not the left, so there’s less reaching. However in our humble opinion there are still a few areas for improvement with the infotainment system…
We’re still confused by the choice of the four shortcut buttons under the touchscreen (which are hard to see in some low light conditions), which are P Menu, Clima, Assist and Mode. We’d prefer to see navigation and radio/media on here. And one of our main issues with Volkswagens remains: to switch off the lane departure warning system, there’s so much button-pressing that you’re more likely to crash taking your eyes off the road trying to switch the system off – which is needed every time you start the car.
When you select a drive mode it stays in the same drive mode next time you start the car, which is good, but there’s no display in the instrument panel to show you what drive mode you’re in.
The ID.4 has a heated steering wheel, but you have to go into the ‘Clima’ screen to see the small icon for this. We couldn’t see a button for the rear window demister anywhere…
When you select satnav, you’re normally greeted by a diagram of recently visited places, which is normally useless, and you have to press the map icon to view a map.
And another strange thing shared with the ID.3 are the buttons for the electric windows – the driver only has two buttons, with another button to press to swap the buttons to control the rear windows.
The ID.3 has no electric driver’s seat, and no automatic tailgate opening. And although there are four USB sockets (two in the front, two in the rear), these are USB-C – so you’ll need an adapter if you want to plug in an ‘old’ USB cable.
The Volkswagen ID.4 1ST Edition Pro Performance has a WLTP combined electric driving range of 310 miles. In real-world driving the car was promising a range of 241 miles.
The ID.4 1ST Edition can charge at up to 125 kW DC and 11 kW AC. Charging time at a (DC) 125 kW rapid chargepoint is 38 minutes to 80%, and around 11 hours at a 7.2 kW chargepoint (to 100%).
The Volkswagen ID.4 1ST Edition Pro Performance costs £40,800 (cars over £35,000 are not eligible for the £2,500 UK Government Plug-in Car Grant).
The ID.4 Pro Performance models follow on from the limited-production ID.4 1ST Edition, and are available in Life, Family and Max specifications. The Volkswagen ID.4 Life Pro Performance has a 323 mile range (WLTP combined) and costs £41,570; the ID.4 Family Pro Performance has a 318 mile range and costs £45,520; and the ID.4 Max Pro Performance has a 314 mile range and costs £49,990.
Pure models with a 52 kWh net battery capacity allow the ID.4 entry price to fall to less than £32,000 with the new UK government grant.
The ID.4 Pro Performance has a towing capacity of up to 1,000 kg and a heat pump (standard equipment on the ID.4 Max) is available optionally (for £1,250) on the Life and Family specifications. Four alloy wheel options are available in sizes ranging from 18 inches to 21 inches, depending on specification.
The ID.4 is available in colours including Mangan Grey Metallic, Honey Yellow Metallic, Moonstone Grey, Scale Silver Metallic and Blue Dusk metallic, as well as Glacier White.
The Volkswagen ID.4 GTX, as opposed to the rear-wheel drive of other ID.4 models, has one electric drive motor on both the front and rear axle. Together, they deliver a maximum electrical output of 220 kW (299 hp) and can work together as electric all-wheel drive. The ID.4 GTX can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 6.2 seconds. The ID.4 GTX is being launched in Europe in summer 2021. Customers will be able to either opt for the 77 kWh ‘Pro’ battery (with 334-mile WLTP range), or the 52 kWh ‘Pure’ battery (with 216-mile WLTP range).
Benefit in Kind (BIK) company car tax liability (2021/22) for the Volkswagen ID.4 is just 1%.
There’s a battery warranty of 8 years or 100,000 miles.
The Volkswagen ID.4 is a very capable all-round package. It’s practical, spacious, excellent to drive, with a comfortable ride, and it has a 310-mile official combined range. It’s also good value for money. We think that there’s some room for improvement with the infotainment system, but despite this, overall we can’t see why you would choose a petrol or diesel SUV over this excellent all-electric model, and it’s awarded a Green Car Guide rating of 10 out of 10.