Independent, Expert EV Reviews & Advice Since 2006
Volkswagen ID.7

Volkswagen ID.7: 435-mile range and a new infotainment system

The Volkswagen ID.7 has been revealed, without camouflage, at its world premiere, which took place concurrently in different locations around the world, including Berlin, Shanghai and Birmingham in the UK. Green Car Guide was there, and we interviewed Volkswagen about the changes that have been made to the ID.7’s infotainment system.

Firstly, let’s look at the headlines around the ID.7. It’s an ‘upper mid-size’ saloon (with a hatchback), and it will be available with three battery sizes, including the largest battery yet to appear in an electric Volkswagen, at 91 kWh (86 kWh usable capacity), which is expected to give a range of up to 435 miles. The ID.7 has a maximum charging rate of 200 kW, which should allow a 10% to 80% charge in 25 minutes. It also has a new electric motor, which, combined with the car’s aerodynamic shape (featuring a low drag coefficient of 0.23), contributes to the increased efficiency of the ID.7.

We’ve reviewed all of Volkswagen’s electric ID. family (ID.3, ID.4, ID.5 and ID. Buzz) and they’re excellent EVs but are let down by their infotainment system. The issue is that the main shortcut buttons that most people want – navigation, radio/media and phone – aren’t permanent shortcut buttons, and you even have to press a ‘Clima’ button to bring up the heating and ventilation controls. All this means that you have to press too many buttons in menus and sub-menus on the touchscreen for basic car controls, resulting in the driver taking their eyes off the road for too long, which is a safety issue.

And then there’s the ‘slider’ controls under the touchscreen for temperature and volume, which aren’t illuminated at night (how did that ever get design sign-off?!).

Green Car Guide has raised these issues in all of our reviews, and Volkswagen has also admitted that it has made changes to the infotainment system due to customer feedback.

At the ID.7 world premiere in Birmingham we interviewed Marie, from Volkswagen’s German HQ, who has worked on the new infotainment system. Marie isn’t an engineer or a designer, but a psychologist.

Volkswagen ID.7 interior

The key changes that have been introduced on the ID.7’s touchscreen (which is now larger, at 15 inches) include that the heating and ventilation controls are now always visible at the bottom of the touchscreen, rather than having to press a button to display them on the screen, which has been the case previously in the ID. range.

Other new features include ‘smart vents’, which give the ability to adjust where the ventilation comes from by dragging your finger on the graphic of the air vents on the screen.

The ID.7 can also start the car heating or cooling process when you approach it by sensing your key, and it can even work out how the sun is shining on the car and adjust the heating and ventilation accordingly.

The home screen of the centre display includes a map, which you can press to select navigation. At the top of the screen you have the option to select up to five of your own ‘favourite’ car controls as shortcut buttons. In fact the entire touchscreen is highly configurable by the driver, and there’s also an augmented reality head-up display as standard.

And the best thing? The sliders for temperature and volume are now illuminated!

You can also give voice commands to the new in-car assistant, now called ‘IDA’. We tried this, asking the car to switch off the lane departure warning system, and it successfully brought up the relevant screen on the central display.

Another interesting feature is a new panoramic sunroof with smart glass which can be switched between opaque and transparent settings by touch control.

Designing an infotainment system to keep drivers in different countries happy is mission impossible. In China, one of the most important features is to have navigation on the screen at all times, because of the amount of traffic congestion. Chinese drivers also like all car controls to be on the touchscreen, whereas drivers in America prefer to retain some traditional buttons and dials.

The ID.7 is described by Volkswagen as offering premium quality in a volume segment. Production of the ID.7 is due to start in quarter three of 2023, with deliveries starting before the end of the year. A ‘shooting brake’ (estate) version of the ID.7 will follow in 2024.

Volkswagen is due to launch ten new EVs by 2026 and to achieve an electric car share of 80 per cent in Europe by 2030.

Paul Clarke Green Car Guide

Paul Clarke