Last updated on April 19th, 2021 at 12:58 pm
- Great range
- Loads of space for passengers and cargo
- Some great standard kit
- Not particularly quick
- Fully laden trims add a lot to the price
- Still some software issues
Range (WLTP): 310-323 miles Top Speed: 99 mph 0 to 62: 8.5 sec Cost/Mile (@14p/kWh): 3.4-3.5p
Where Europe got the Volkswagen ID. 3 last year, and the USA hasn’t yet, things were the other way round with the ID. 4, which went on sale in America in 2020. However, the ID. 3 may never be sold in the US, but the ID. 4 has already made it to Europe. This is no surprise. Where around 18% of the European market is compact cars like the ID. 3, over 40% is SUVs. This means the ID. 4 could be an even more significant release and bigger seller than the ID. 3. It could even be the most important electric car launch in 2021.
Price and Options
As it did with the ID.3 when that initially arrived, VW kicked off ID.4 sales with a 1st Edition rather than going straight into the series run with multiple models. However, the wait between the two phases hasn’t been so long, because the 1st Edition has only just been arriving with customers (and reviewers), and now VW has already opened orders for three of the members of the series. We shot our video with the 1st Edition, only to find the following day that the series was now priced up and available. But, at least for now, you can still buy the 1st Edition, and it demonstrates the main features of the ID.4 very well.
The 1st Edition we were sent is now the cheapest trim at £40,800, but you can also order a Life version for £41,570, the Family version for £45,520, and the current top Max model for £49,990. None of these now qualify for the new UK government plug-in grant, however, so those will be the prices you pay. Like the ID.3 1st Edition, the ID.4 1st Edition combines some premium features to reward early adopters but does have other economies. You cannot get the panoramic sunroof with the 1st Edition, for example, even as an option.
The most obvious bonus with the 1st Edition from the outside is the attractive set of 20in diamond cut alloys, although these do reduce range a bit compared to other models. All the other trims come with 19in rims as standard. There are also a few “1st Edition” badges in strategic places, so you can show off your early adoption. The 20in wheels do look the part on the ID.4, too. You also get the rear parking camera, which is not included on the basic Life trim.
However, there are also some great features that appear to be standard across the full range. These include heated front seats and steering wheel, and adaptive cruise control. The ID.3 also offered these and considering how much some luxury brands charge you for adaptive cruise control (Mercedes-Benz, are you listening?) it is great to see this on all cars. Air conditioning is at least dual zoned on all cars too, and you always get rain-sensing windscreen wipers.
As we said, the 1st Edition ID.4 doesn’t include a panoramic sunroof – you will need the Family or Max for that. The Life comes with steel wheels but has the best range of 323 miles. Apart from this, in some ways you get a bit less for a bit more compared to the 1st Edition. Moving up to the Family edition, aside from the panoramic sunroof, you get VW’s excellent Matrix LED headlights instead of just LED ones, as well as fully keyless entry and starting, plus the rear-view camera that is standard on the 1st Edition as well. The wheels are also diamond cut allows instead of steel.
The much more expensive Max has all the above, but adds a larger 12in central LCD, head-up display, and something called “Area View”, which we assume is a 360-degree top-down perspective when parking. It also has the heat pump as standard. In all other models it’s a £1,250 extra. The tow bar option is £850 on all models, and even a charging cable will cost you £180. There is also an extensive list of accessories like roof boxes and floor mats.
All four current versions of the ID.4 come with the same motor as the initial ID.3, which drives the rear wheels and delivers 204PS (201hp). Volkswagen is also planning two further engine power levels and the smaller 58kWh battery from the basic ID.3 as further options. However, all the initial ID.4 releases use the 77kWh battery that is only currently available on the ID.3 Tour. Volkswagen is also intending to release a “hot” dual-motor version of the ID.4, which could be very interesting indeed.
Paint choices for the 1st Edition appear to be included, with options for blue, white, yellow, and grey metallic. However, for the Life, Family and Max, if you go beyond the basic Moonstone Grey (reminiscent of a battleship) or this colour with black, these paint choices are all £635. Whichever trim you go for other than 1st Edition, you can also upgrade to 20in wheels (£1,190 on the Life, £490 on other trims) or 21in wheels (£1,675 on the Life, £975 on other trims).
So there are some good reasons to jump in now and grab a 1st Edition while they’re still available. This version has sold out in the USA, and it is likely to do the same in the UK as well. It is worth pointing out that both the Kia e-Niro 2 Long Range and Hyundai Kona Electric give you almost as long range while still being cheap enough to get the plug-in grant. However, they are both much smaller cars, and the affordable versions are less well equipped. We think the ID.4 pricing, particularly for the 1st Edition, is not extortionate.
That said, the Skoda Enyaq iV is on the near horizon, using the same MEB platform and considerably lower prices. The Tesla Model Y is also an obvious competitor, but that isn’t due until at least 2022, so is less of a consideration just yet. It is also likely to be more expensive, looking at how Model Y prices in the USA compare to Model 3 prices, and how US prices compare to British ones for Teslas. The Model Y Long Range could be well over £50,000.
We think Volkswagen has got things just about right with the ID.4’s external design. This is a big SUV, and there are clear family resemblances to the ID.3. But the bonnet is a bit longer. The stubby bonnet on the ID.3 was its most unusual feature, so the ID.4 looks more “normal” in comparison. Overall, the ID.4 is 30cm longer, 5cm wider, and 8cm taller than the ID.3. But that still makes it smaller than the Tesla Model X, and consequently easier to drive around narrow UK roads and park in tight UK streets.
As we will see when we turn to the interior, Volkswagen has mostly made good use of that external size to provide plenty of interior room. The motor is in the rear between the wheels and the battery under the floor. But VW has managed to avoid that “platform shoe” look of many EVs. The ID.4 just looks like a stylish, futuristic SUV. In fact, particularly in white, we think it looks fantastic – and the big 20in wheels of the 1st Edition accentuate this further. The anodised rails on the roof also give it a practical look, and unlike the MG5 EV, they are load bearing and can be used with a roof box.
The 1st Edition, Life and Family all get the same “Microfleece” synthetic interior trim, blending dark grey “Soul Black” and “Florence Brown” patches. Only the Max gets an entirely “Soul Black” interior. You can’t choose interiors at all beyond this. The seats have a soft surface and are comfortable, which is good news for the long journeys this car is capable of. There is also lots of head and leg room in the front.
While both front seats are heated, as well as the leather-clad steering wheel, they are mechanically adjusted on the 1st Edition. Looking at the specifications, this appears to be the case all the way up the range. When you are paying close to £50,000 for the ID.4 Max, it is a bit cheap not to have electric seat adjustment. It is also annoying for a family car, that could well be driven regularly by two people who may be of quite different heights.
The general front interior feel is spacious and uncluttered, but you do get plenty of central console storage. Towards the front can be found two cupholders, nested inside a tray that you can remove to make a larger area if you don’t have any cups. Under a sliding door further backwards is a reasonably sized cubby, with shaped dividers that can also be rearranged to make another cupholder. There are two USB-C ports here as well.
Annoyingly, in the 1st Edition, the nicely designed, slanted space for you to put your phone may look like it offers wireless charging, but it doesn’t. This is one feature you will need to get one of the series run cars for – it is standard issue from Life upwards. It’s a very curious omission from any modern car, considering how cheap a wireless charging circuit is. A basic one is less than £15. Surprisingly, for such a big car, the glove compartment is quite small too.
You really feel the benefit of the ID.4’s large size and efficient electric-only design when you climb in the back. The rear seats have loads of head and knee room. Six-footers will be perfectly comfortable as rear seat passengers, even if the person in the seat in front is tall too. The middle seat will be a bit less comfortable on long journeys, unless you’re a small child. Speaking of kids, both the rear outer seats have ISOfix points, as does the front passenger seat.
If you only have four passengers, the rear seat back can be folded forward to reveal an armrest and two more cupholders, plus what looks like another smaller cupholder – perhaps for an expresso. Rear seat passengers have their own air conditioning vents and two more USB-C ports. From the Family edition upwards, rear passengers also get their own climate zone controls. There are the requisite magazine holders for rear passengers too.
Storage and Load Carrying
Although there are plenty of electric SUVs to choose from already, the affordable ones are all “C sector” crossovers, while the larger ones are premium models like the Audi e-tron or Tesla Model X. The ID.4 changes that, although it won’t remain alone for long, with the Skoda Enyaq iV just a few months away. Alongside delivering plenty of rear seat space, the size also results in a healthy amount of boot capacity.
This starts with a healthy 543 litres behind the back seats, with a small extra compartment under the boot floor to keep your charging cables in. To put this in perspective, that is more than a Range Rover Sport. This will be plenty for a few suitcases when you take your family on holiday. If you drop the rear seats down – which has the typical 60/40 configuration – the rear space expands to a very healthy 1,575 litres. That is 100 litres less than a Range Rover Sport, but more than any crossover electric SUV, including the Kia e-Niro.
This is a very practical amount of boot space, whether you need luggage for a family trip or to pick up a load of DIY kit from Wickes. However, we have a couple of minor gripes. One is that the catches to drop the rear seats forward are a little fiddly to operate from inside the boot, and the other is that the boot isn’t entirely flat. There is a step up to the area of the rear seats, presumably because of the under-floor batteries.
As we hinted earlier, the ID.4 can tow. In fact, it’s rated for a 750kg trailer unbraked and 1,000kg braked. But, as we already mentioned, the towbar is a £850 extra. The tailgate is manual on all trims, except the Max, which adds electric opening and closing.
Starting up the ID.4 is exactly like the ID.3, and a Tesla. So long as you have the key nearby inside, you can simply press the brake pedal. There is no stop-start button. Drive controls are the same, too, with a rotating knob to the right of the steering wheel. This is remarkably similar to a BMW i3. You rotate up once for drive, and once again to engage or disengage extra B-mode regenerative braking. You rotate down for neutral or reverse. A button on the end engages Park, with no need for a separate electronic parking brake button.
The steering wheel is conventional, with buttons to operate the adaptive cruise control on the left and more general volume and media buttons on the right. There are stalks for windscreen wipers and lights plus indicators. Behind the steering wheel is a simple 5.3in display showing speed, remaining range, some status lights, and on the left the adaptive cruise control status. One thing we should really mention, however, is that towards the end of our review this display stopped working for a brief period until we’d stopped the car and left it locked for a few hours. We had hoped VW would have left its earlier ID.3 software problems behind with the ID.4, but clearly not. At least it fixed itself, and the ID.4 should now also get over the air updates, as does the ID.4.
There’s a small bank of discrete touch buttons for important functions like brake auto hold, window demisting and fog lights. This is down to the right, whereas on the ID.3 the same buttons are up to the left of the steering wheel. There are also touch buttons for key climate control functions below the LCD screen, such as temperature. This is dual zoned as standard, so both sides can set their own temperature. A few further buttons engage menu options.
One button in particular calls up engine power modes – which are then chosen via the touch LCD screen. This is a little more involved than some cars that have a simple button to choose power modes. The ID.4 has the usual three modes – eco, comfort and sport. The screen is 10in on the 1st Edition, Life, and Family, but the Max comes with a larger 12in infotainment display, and Augmented Reality Head-up Display plus “Area View” with rear camera, which as we already mentioned sounds like a 360-degree reversing schematic.
Although there are quite a few menus and screen modes available via the LCD, we think VW has got the balance about right between discrete controls and LCD-only functionality. Its layout also reasonably well thought out, once you realise the square on the right gets you back to the home screen. As standard, you get a decent satnav with connected services including live traffic and online points of interest such as charge point locations. A three-year subscription to this service is included.
There is a DAB radio plus Bluetooth phone connectivity and support for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink so you can see your phone screen on the central LCD. There is a voice control system, too, although we found that a bit too keen to engage.
Performance and Driving
The ID.3 Pro Performance drivetrain makes the ID.3 relatively quick, but with the weight of the SUV body and 77kWh battery, which push the ID.4 to 2.1 tons, it is a bit more sedate, taking 8.5 seconds to reach 62mph. That is reasonably fast for a big SUV, but not up with the luxury options like an Audi e-tron or Tesla Model X. The Model Y, when it arrives in the UK, will be much faster too. But the ID.4 is rear-wheel-drive and has 310Nm of torque, available as soon as you hit the accelerator at any speed. So it feels quite quick on city streets at below 30mph.
Volkswagen also boasts a fifty-fifty weight distribution for the ID.4, with most of that weight in the batteries near the bottom of the chassis. So handling is surprisingly good for a big heavy car. Body roll is not excessive in fast corners and the steering is precise. The ID.4 is quite enjoyable to drive, even if you won’t be winning any drag races against petrol GTIs.
The top speed is only 99mph, but that’s fine for UK motorways and the ID.4 sits very comfortably at 70mph or so. Considering the range on offer (see below), the ID.4 needs to feel competent on motorways, and it will definitely be great for long journeys at 70mph. It’s also surprisingly nimble for weaving through narrow streets, because without power going through the front wheels, the steering is light and predictable at low speeds. The ride also soaks up UK city potholes well.
Range and Charging
The ID.4’s biggest party trick is its range. That 77kWh battery really pays off in this area. With its larger 20in wheels as standard, the 1st Edition has the least WLTP range to offer of the four trims, but that’s still 310 miles, meaning you will get well in excess of 200 miles on motorways, making this a very viable car for taking your family on holiday down to Cornwall. The Life has the biggest WLTP range of 323 miles, with the Family offering 318 miles and the Max 314 miles. These are all quite competitive with the Tesla Model Y, while being ahead of any non-Tesla SUV currently on the market.
A CCS port is available, offering DC charging up to 125kW and rumours of an upgrade already circulating. With a 125kW supply, you can replenish to 80% battery capacity in a very reasonable 38 minutes. On a 7kW home supply you will need around 11 hours for a full charge, and there's support for 11kW charging too, which is great if you have three-phase AC charging at work. Volkswagen’s bundle also includes its We Charge service, which provides preferential rates on a range of public charging networks.
The ID.4 is also quite cheap to run for a large, heavy SUV. Assuming the WLTP range and a 14p per kWh supply, it will cost just 3.5p a mile. The insurance group is 31P, which is higher than most crossover EVs, but quite reasonable for a reasonably expensive SUV. The basic warranty is quite generous, too. The car gets six years or 100,000 miles, while the battery has the usual eight-year, 100,000-mile guarantee for 70% capacity.
There is a decent amount of safety tech included with the ID.4 as standard, with our favourite being the adaptive cruise control. All cars get front and rear parking sensors, and all but the Life trim get a rear parking camera as well. There is a driver alert system with fatigue detection, and lane assist with camera-controlled warnings. There's forward collision warning with proactive pedestrian protection, as well as dynamic road sign display and an automated high beam system. One thing that appears to be missing on all trims, even the Max, is blind spot detection, although all round visibility in this car is good. Overall, though, it’s great to see most of the safety toys available on all cars, because safety shouldn’t really be an optional extra, particularly in a family car.
|Price:||1st Edition – £40,800; Life – £41,570; Family – £45,520; Max – £49,990|
|Range (WLTP):||1st Edition – 310 miles; Life – 323 miles; Family – 318 miles; Max – 314 miles|
|Charge time (7.4kW):||11 hours|
|Charge time (11kW):||8 hours 15 minutes|
|Charge time (125kW, 80%):||38 minutes|
|On Board Charger:||11kW|
|Cost per mile*:||3.4-3.5p|
|Cargo:||543 litres; 1,575 litres with rear seats down|
*based on electricity costs of 14p per kWh