Volkswagen ID.4 electric prototype review
|Car type||Electric range||Wallbox charge time||Rapid charge time|
The Volkswagen ID.4 is an important car for the German brand – its first crack at a pure-electric family SUV. This market is ready for an explosion in popularity: numerous mainstream manufacturers are preparing their own larger electric offerings as buyers continue to warm to the idea of an electric car as their main form of family transport.
So far, the larger end of the electric-car spectrum has been occupied almost exclusively by premium offerings, but the ID.4 and its smaller ID.3 sibling are intended as far more attainable options, all the while offering internal-combustion-rivalling ranges and maximum showroom appeal.
The ID.4 isn't set for a full reveal until 24 September 2020, but we had a chance to get behind the wheel of a prototype to get an early feel for what the production car should feel like. Our prototype test car finished in top-spec First Edition Max trim uses an 82kWh battery and produces 201bhp from an electric motor driving the rear wheels. The specification is subject to change and not confirmed for the UK market, but our example featured dynamic chassis control, a panoramic sunroof and an augmented reality head-up display among other features.
Volkswagen says this top-spec model should come in at around 59,000 Euro – but we'll have to wait and see what post-grant UK pricing looks like. The entry price for the smaller-battery 52kWh version is 37,000 Euro, Volkswagen says; pricing is likely to run slightly higher than its Skoda Enyaq iV counterpart, which starts at £33,450 before the plug-in car grant in the UK.
The good news is that the Volkswagen ID.4 is great to drive – there's some lean in corners, but the steering feels precise and there's little sense from the driver's perspective of the car's considerable 2.2-tonne weight, thanks mainly to the low centre of gravity afforded by the under-floor batteries. Performance is brisk, with a 0-62mph time of 8.5 seconds and 310Nm of torque on tap at any speed. A tight turning circle of 10.2 metres is welcome in a large car such as this, too.
Our time with the ID.4 was long enough to get an idea of the car's interior and its new infotainment system, which itself operates on a large central touchscreen. We found the system to be less than intuitive, feeling a little clunky and complex – although this could well be refined for launch. A smaller readout in front of the driver features, while the augmented-reality head-up display on our test car was functional, offering overlayed stopping-distance and sat-nav information.
It's practical inside, with lots of space for passengers, a flat floor for great rear legroom and a large boot. Another practicality consideration for most buyers will be the claimed range – depending on spec, the ID.4 boasts can go between 217 and 323 miles on a charge, with 125kW rapid-charging capability allowing you to top back up again quickly.
We've yet to drive a production version of the ID.4 and we'll have to wait even longer to do so on UK roads – but the early signs look promising that this car can shake up the conventional SUV market when it eventually arrives on these shores.