Volkswagen ID.4 electric review
Volkswagen's new electric family SUV is practical, spacious and great to drive
- Great to drive
- Well equipped as tested
- Quite heavy
- Confusing infotainment
- Skoda Enyaq similar yet likely cheaper
|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 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 petrol or diesel-rivalling ranges with maximum showroom appeal.
The ID.4 is set to go on sale early next year, sitting between the Tiguan and Tiguan Allspace in size, but presumably more expensive than both of those cars before the government's electric-car grant is taken into account.
In Europe at least, the ID.4 will be available in 10 different pre-configured trim levels, with First Edition cars such as our test model getting sat nav, 20-inch wheels, LED headlights, heated seats and a reversing camera amongst its standard kit.
Volkswagen says top-spec models should come in at around 59,000 Euros – 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 around 37,000 Euros, Volkswagen says; pricing is likely to run slightly higher than its Skoda Enyaq iV counterpart, which starts at £33,450 before the grant in the UK.
On the outside, first impressions of the Volkswagen SUV are good, with a modern look that shares much with the smaller ID.3. Look hard enough and you can see similarities between the ID.4 and the closely related Enyaq – although the Volkswagen does without that car's sloping rear window.
Inside, the car's interior is dominated by a new infotainment system, which operates via a large central touchscreen. We found the system to be less than intuitive, feeling a little clunky and complex – you may need to take some time to get to know it.
A smaller readout in front of the driver features, while the augmented-reality head-up display on our test car was functional, offering overlaid stopping-distance and sat-nav information. There are some signs of cost-cutting when it comes to materials used in some places, but generally the feel is of a well-built and nicely designed cabin.
It's practical too – the lack of a centre tunnel in the back means there's lots of space for feet, while the rear bench sits higher up to offer a cinematic view forwards with lots of head and legroom. The boot measures in at 543 litres, or 1,655 with the seats folded down, and there's the all-important storage for charging cables under the flat floor.
Our test car uses a 201bhp electric motor and a 77kWh battery; the ID.4 will also be available with a smaller 52kWh battery in due course, with a choice of either 146bhp or 168bhp power outputs. Volkswagen claims a WLTP range of 324 miles from the biggest battery and you can top up quickly thanks to 125kW charging capacity. Find a fast enough charger in the wild and you can top up to the tune of 198 miles in just 30 minutes.
Our test revealed a more realistic range of around 250 miles, which is still more than enough to be considered practical for most people – not to mention competitive with some more luxurious and pricey rivals.
The good news is that the Volkswagen ID.4 is great to drive. A favourable centre of gravity comes courtesy of its low-slung batteries, while the rear-wheel drive layout and near-perfect weight distribution help what is a pretty heavy car feel dynamically strong and comfortable at the same time; body control is particularly impressive. At lower speeds and around town, the ID.4 also benefits from a turning circle that belies its size, at just 10.2 metres.
We've yet to drive the ID.4 in the UK and exact specifications for our market are still to be confirmed, but our early drive of a European-spec car bodes very well indeed. If you are on the lookout for your next family car – electric or otherwise – it may well be worth holding off until early next year to take Volkswagen's very accomplished, pure-electric SUV for a test drive.