Stretching over 4.6 m, the Volkswagen ID.4 is slightly shorter than a Volkswagen Tiguan, confirming the positioning at the heart of its very popular segment. Carved by the wind to offer the least resistance, it has a rather organic posture with curved lines predominating. The top of the beltline, which lowers in relation to the front fender and then rises towards the rear, reflects this. Like modern electric vehicles, its face has little opening, an advantage of the simpler thermal management of these electric motors. In the evening, the manufacturer’s logo lights up higher, surmounted by a line of diodes that links the two headlights, a visual element that sets this ID.4 apart. The rear takes up this idea of continuity with a block of lights that runs the width of the vehicle. There is nothing revolutionary overall, but we perceive a desire for well-balanced modernity and refinement.
The passenger compartment is entered by means of fixed door handles which are operated from below. It’s a bit confusing, but you get used to it. The futuristic theme is well anchored, but without excess. The idea here is to have the most refined configuration possible by hunting down physical keys, which requires integrating many controls into the infotainment system. We will come back to this last point, but it is impossible not to have a critical look at this decision. The complexity of tasks that could be considered usual is increased tenfold, if only to adjust the temperature in the cabin, and the responsiveness of the touch keys is not constant. That said, when you look at the physical space offered by this cabin, it’s rather exceptional. Front legroom, enhanced by the absence of a large center console, is unequaled among gas-powered competitors. Ditto in the rear, due to the fact that the battery is placed under the floor.
Under the hood
Volkswagen offers here two mechanical arrangements according to a formula now established in the world of modern electric vehicles. The standard livery has 201 hp produced by a single electric motor. The optional, all-wheel drive, gains 94 hp, for 295 hp, a gain provided by an additional engine placed on the front axle. This last variant confirms a good speed in the test, but cannot really match the Hyundai Ioniq 5 with all-wheel drive of 320 hp. A little over half a second separates the two in the 0-100 km/h stopwatch, according to the figures given by the manufacturers (5.8 s compared to 5.1 s). An 82 kWh battery acts as an energy reserve, providing 394 km of theoretical autonomy for this twin-engine livery. It’s 355 km which was displayed at full load in spring conditions, and the energy consumption was around 23.6 kWh/100 km, which is acceptable for the size, but a little less well than the Korean competitor. .
Behind the wheel
No need to press a button to turn on the ID.4. Just have the key in your pocket and rotate a sort of horizontal lever placed to the right of the instrumentation block. The vehicle then activates, emitting a slight flicker halfway between a starting jet engine and a subway. Based on a modular electric chassis (MEB), it receives a traditional combination with regard to its suspension: struts at the front and a multi-link configuration at the rear. Its low center of gravity ensures good cornering, but the safety stands intervene very quickly to pinch the discs and constantly straighten the vehicle. The behavior is therefore very neutral and devoid of flavor, which is consistent with its family mission. The steering, a little heavy, does not present any obvious gaps and guides this ID.4 well. The braking, for its part, lacks a bit of progressiveness and the adjustment of the regenerative system is not possible, a weak point.
Result of a reform also introduced in the new Golf GTI and R, the infotainment system impresses in the foreword with its large 12-inch screen (10-inch standard) of very good definition and well placed. However, we become disillusioned quite quickly. It very often goes numb when an icon is pressed. When you try to change the menu by making a horizontal line with your finger, its limited means greatly slow down navigation. Add to that a non-illuminated touch bar to adjust the temperature and sound volume. Unlike the Golfs, this ID.4 has a very basic instrumentation block, which also limits the information that can be obtained outside of this system. Another source of frustration: all active safety elements are reactivated on each restart and there are no buttons for quick access to the traction control/stability control system. Finally, the sound of the audio system is fundamentally unpleasant as it lacks texture.
We must obviously welcome the arrival of Volkswagen in the integral electric. The German giant remains a striking force of exceptional eloquence when it makes use of its numerous engineers and its manufacturing power. The fact remains that this ID.4 gives the impression of a product that is not entirely up to date. Its soundproofing could probably be better, as could the assembly, which leaked creaks from the glass roof during the test. There is also, and above all, the infotainment system, which demands far too much attention when driving. However, the basics are solid. The interior gratifies us with a modern and refined presentation. It is also very spacious, taking advantage of the technical advantages of an electric platform. Its ride is balanced and comfort makes the highway its natural habitat. In short, there is good and bad here, which puts it in the middle of an increasingly crowded pack.
The ID.4 is offered at a starting price of $44,995 for the two-wheel-drive version and $49,995 for the all-wheel-drive one. These awards ensure access to provincial ($7,000) and federal ($5,000) incentives and make it highly competitive.
The virtues of patience
All 2022 model year examples of the ID.4 have been sold. For those interested, it will be necessary to be patient to get their hands on a 2023 model, which will be produced in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The weight of electric
At 2217 kg, including 493 kg for the battery alone, the ID.4 weighs 468 kg more than a Volkswagen Tiguan. It’s heavy, but all that weight is concentrated very low, which lessens its effect on the handling of the SUV.
Properly fast charging
The SUV is compatible with charging stations up to 135 kW. This is significantly less than the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 (350 kW), but it ensures to go from 10% to 80% in 36 min on compatible terminals.
The SUV can tow a load of up to 1224 kg. Of course, a much faster decline in autonomy during exercise is to be expected.
- Model tested: Volkswagen ID.4 Pro AWD Distinction Package
- Motors: front asynchronic electric motor + rear synchronic electric motor with permanent magnets
- Power: 295 hp (two engines together)
- Torque: 119.5 lb-ft (front motor) and 228.6 lb-ft (rear motor)
- Transmission: direct drive
- Motor architecture: two electric motors, one for each axle
- Range (EnerGuide): 394 km
- Price (with options, transport and preparation): $60,440
- Competitors: Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Nissan Ariya, Subaru Solterra, Tesla Model Y and Toyota bZ4X
- New in 2022? No major changes. All 2022 copies sold.