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First Drive

First Drive: Volkswagen ID.4

The story: Volkswagen’s second ID-branded electric car follows quickly after the first, with the ID.4 becoming VW’s first electric SUV.
Key rival:Ford Mustang Mach-e
Efficiency:Range 310 miles
On sale:Now

The second of a new breed of Volkswagen electric vehicles has now arrived, with the ID.4 SUV joining the ID.3 hatchback.

The new car is available initially in 1st Edition form, although Life, Family and Max models are already available to order.

All come with a 77kWh battery offering an official  range of 310-323 miles depending on model, and all with an electric motor of 204hp. The range will eventually expand with both cheaper and sportier models (see panel).

The ID.4 is one of the best electric cars so far in terms of combining price with the practical family usage qualities, and the SUV body is a good size. It offers impressive rear head- and legroom as well as a huge 543-litre boot that compares well with the 402 litres of the Ford Mustang Mach-e, one of the ID.4’s core rivals. In fact, it’s bigger than any of the other EVs’ at anywhere near the VW’s price point.

The interior is the same as the ID.3’s which means a there’s small screen ahead of the driver that only offers the basic information, plus a more detailed central 10-inch infotainment screen. Switchgear is kept to an absolute minimum, which creates a cabin that feels a little sparse.

The 204hp powertrain gives the ID a good turn of pace without trying to morph a higher-riding and heavy SUV into a performance car.

First Drive - May 2021 - Volkswagen ID.4 - Image 1The drive selection lever just to the right of the steering wheel allows the driver to flick between Normal and Brake modes, the latter of which increases the energy regeneration under deceleration. It’s a shame that there isn’t any more control over levels than normal, which has very little deceleration, and ‘B’ mode, which is rather pronounced.

The 1st Edition ID.4 model is a bargain entry to the range, costing less than the forthcoming Life, Family and Max models, but with a different set of standard equipment from the regular range. For instance, the 1st Edition gets 20-inch alloys – an inch larger than the Life that’s next up in the price list – and rear-view camera, but doesn’t get a heated steering wheel, rear cupholders or the clever strip in the dashboard that lights up to indicate turn direction when the navigation is programmed.

First Drive - May 2021 - Volkswagen ID.4 - Image 4The spec is equally non-linear as you move up the trims, with VW opting for a more confusing set-up that is supposed to align spec and price to buyer demands.

The ID.4 looks smart, if a little understated next to a Mach-e, and offers bags of practicality and decent range, giving fleet drivers another handy option.

paul barker

The verdict

The ID.4 has smart looks, a minimalist interior that takes a bit of getting used to and bags of space for four adults plus luggage, as well as impressive range and a pleasant driving experience.