Friday, July 30, 2021
Reviews 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Review: The People’s Electric SUV

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Review: The People’s Electric SUV

The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 combines character, features, and value, making it the more interesting electric SUV now for sale


  • 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 pricing starts at $44,995 in Canada, $39,995 in the US.

  • The ID.4 will make or break VW’s initial EV efforts in North America.

  • Among the handful of “affordable” electric SUVs available, the ID.4 is the most affable.


Not all will be perfect, this is a very important warning. The Volkswagen ID.4, like all fast-forwarded new vehicles created to meet a growing need or trend, will suffer a number of growing pains. The good news, however, is that you’ll really enjoy the ID.4.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Also important is that various bugs, from problems as serious as fires such as experienced by Hyundai and Tesla, to various malfunctioning accessories like infotainment systems and charging ports, will be par for the course with any new EV.


Bugs galore

This review starts off rough but the point I’m trying to make is that early adopters because it’s still relatively early in the EV game, will invariably come face to face with “troubles”. Case in point: My ID.4 signaled various driving aid malfunctions the moment I dropped aboard. Although they disappeared the next day, for the duration of the loan, the haptic pad for the side-view mirror settings only obeyed my commands for a total of two taps – I had to manually adjust them. As well, on at least two occasions, the infotainment system froze.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Although I faced no charging issues with the ID.4, some are foreseeable. My time with the ID.4 was limited to exactly three days in which time I plugged it in at home only once. In the past, I’ve experienced a number of communication bugs, between network and vehicle, and they’re bound to occur.


Character

But if, as an EV shopper and potential owner, you are prepared to see past these hang-ups, you’ll enjoy EV life. And, assuming that you’re in the market for an SUV, the all-new Volkswagen ID.4 might be the best option.

Styling appreciation is obviously subjective but Volkswagen’s managed to make the ID.4 look like one of its own without attempting to make the SUV stand out. It’s got far more character than the Model Y and does without controversy like the Mustang Mach-E.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

The only option for the ID.4 is the $8,000 Statement package. It throws in 20-inch wheels to replace the standard 19s, silver roof- and C-pilar trim, an illuminated front VW logo, a black roof with a panoramic glass roof panel, among other features. For the most part, the package adds little visually to the SUV.


Imitation was the wrong decision

The Statement package’s impact is greatest in accessories. The 8-way power, 4-way-power lumbar, massaging, leatherette-covered front seats, and power tailgate are the only items of true value in my opinion.

Onboard, Volkswagen’s gone a tad too far out of its way when it comes to the 2021 ID.4’s dashboard. The included 5.3-inch digital instrument panel displays the most important driving data. As for the standard 10-inch touchscreen, or optional 12-inch unit, VW allowed itself to be far too influenced by Tesla. There are no hard buttons other than haptic and slider-style controls below the screen. The latter’s functions, for HVAC, drive modes, driver-assist function, and volume, are signified only by a tiny line or symbol.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

In fact, the whole of the infotainment’s interface necessitates patience to learn and a period of adaptation. User-friendliness, or a positive HMI experience, was set aside by Volkswagen in order to deliver a system that should please only the 19-to-30-year-olds. This points to a clear lack of foresight on VW’s behalf. The exact same thing can be said about the power window controls, for example. In a bid to cut costs, I can only assume, VW provides only two switches on the driver’s side to activate the windows. The word “rear” on the same aforementioned haptic pad must be tapped to lower or raise the back windows.


More spacious than expected

These efforts by VW’s interior design team were assuredly done to declutter the cabin but nothing is gained. The leatherette-covered seats are comfortable however the lower seat cushion is too short to provide adequate lower-thigh support. The rear bench can effortlessly accommodate two adults or a pair of baby seats. The trunk is reasonably generous at 858 litres of usable volume.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Now’s a good time to size up the ID.4. Length-wise, the ID.4 is almost 12cm longer than the new Taos and about 12cm shorter than the Tiguan. The ID.4’s wheelbase is only 3.5cm shorter than the Tiguan, which explains the second row’s generous legroom.


A perfectly capable mainstream EV

Unlike the Tesla Model Y, because of the brand’s reputation, and the Ford Mustang Mach-E, because of the name, the Volkswagen ID.4’s does not suggest itself to be a high-performing EV. The standard RWD single-motor version offers 201 horsepower which is sufficient to get the ID.4 to 100km/h in 7.8 seconds. The dual-motor version, the one to get, is endowed with no less than 300 horsepower which cuts a full two seconds from the sprint time.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Not quite slow, the RWD version is burdened by nearly 4,700 lbs, but still manages to get out of its way quickly enough. The AWD version will be punchier. Either way, both are delivered with an 82-kWh battery pack that, when fully charged, will provide about 400 km of range. As we know, the range is heavily influenced by driving habits so when I say that, in ECO mode, I had 448 km of indicated range at my disposal, I have no reason to believe that the estimated amount cannot be achieved.

The battery pack itself, provided by LG Chem, is capable of 125-kW speeds meaning that it can go from a 5%-80% state-of-charge in 38 minutes. At home, on a Level 2 charger and thanks to the 11 kW onboard charger, the ID.4 needs 7.5 hours to go from 0% to a full charge.

The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 is assembled on the brand’s MEB platform which is quite well sorted. The chassis gives the driver and occupants equal parts comfort and driving enjoyment. The ID.4’s ride is a little more relaxed than the Mach-E and quite a ways more cosseting than the Model Y’s. The 20-inch likely transmit more road surface into the cabin than the 19s but even so, it’s a good driver.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

Steering is quick and delivers the tightest turning radius I’ve experienced since the smart fortwo. The brake pedal provides only an inkling of response but performance is good. The permanent magnet synchronous rear motor will not enable complete one-foot driving however when set in “B” and Eco drove mode, it comes close. Overall, like most EVs, the 2021 ID.4 is pleasantly habit-forming and easy to live with.


Priced wisely

Priced from $44,995 or $49,995 with the all-important dual-motor setup, the ID.4 is $4,000 less expensive than the base 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Select with AWD. Although the latter may offer larger displays, I was not enamored with the drive. I will admit that I need more wheel time with the Mustang but I’ll also admit that the ID.4 has no gimmicks, isn’t riding something else’s coattails – it’s just a reasonably affordable EV.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Quick Review: The Long Road To Saving The Mustang

As far as I’m concerned, taking into account all of the above-mentioned, it’s the current people’s EV.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai

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