Is the Volkswagen ID.4 the best affordable electric crossover?
The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 isn’t a “Tesla killer,” but with the federal tax credit, it’s priced in line with a moderately-equipped Tiguan, a far cry from the Model Y now at $51,990.
Note: This article was republished from The Current Review. You can check out their Instagram account, @thecurrentreview.
Almost all Volkswagen dealerships carry this electric SUV, including Volkswagen Concord, the dealership that kindly provided the test model. Volkswagen Concord is located just northeast of Charlotte, NC, and has great inventory, a very accommodating staff, and several entry-level ID.4 Pro models for sale. The exam model was a first edition but since all the IDs. 4 drive in the same way; this review will only be for the ID.4 Pro, which is arguably the best version for the price.
Alas, if you wanted a first edition, you’d face adversity trying to find one, as they’ve all but sold out already. You might be able to find a used latecomer, but the good thing is that dealerships get plenty of Pro and Pro S models. The most obvious downside to these models is that they won’t have the drive pedals cheeky “play” and “pause”; That’s a shame. Less of a shame is the $39,995 price tag, which undercuts its competition by a significant margin. The only competition it doesn’t undermine is the Bolt EUV, but calling this thing a crossover is like calling yourself an “investor” on LinkedIn after you first downloaded Robinhood. The ID.4 is nearly a foot longer and has many other standard features, such as heated front seats and a 125kW fast charge acceptance rate.
For a $39,995 crossover, the ID.4 Pro is surprisingly equipped. Some of the standard features include wireless charging, a heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, and various other safety features. Unlike the Model Y (for now), the $39,995 ID.4 will come with a $7,500 federal tax credit, which can effectively bring the price down to $32,495 next tax season. However, to claim the full credit, you will have to pay more than $7,500 in federal taxes. So if the government charges you $3,000 in federal tax, you can only use 40% of your credit, and it won’t carry over to the next year.
For a crossover, the ID.4 is an attractive and contemporary crossover. Some see the Model Y design as quite polarizing, and the ID.4 returns to normal. In just one day of riding, five people approached me asking about it, which surprised me. I never thought a sub-$40,000 crossover adorning a VW badge would get so much attention, but here it is, in the spotlight. Some of its most distinctive features that I suspect grab the attention of passers-by are the discreet exterior door handles and LED taillight bar, giving the ID.4 a modern look. The ID.4 is a sleek crossover, but another feature that stood out was its 8.2-inch ground clearance. For reference, the Mach-e has 5.7 and the Model Y has 6.6, so this increase is quite significant.
The interior design of the ID.4 is also very interesting. The coolest thing about the interior is that almost every part is custom designed just for the ID series. So the buttons, switches, gauge cluster and steering wheel are all unique and feature a modern tone. The Pro’s 10-inch screen is visually appealing, but the layout and menus can be a bit overwhelming at times. Within a few hours I got used to the controls better and mainly used the steering wheel controls rather than the central display. To help with the confusion, you can tell the ID.4 to do whatever you want, like “I’m cold”, and it will turn on the heater. Voice recognition is actually quite accurate, and there’s an LED light bar that lights up on the front dash when using this mode, which is a nice touch.
Unlike the Mach-e and Model Y, the ID.4 just isn’t as fast. Like the Chevrolet Bolt, the ID.4 makes around 200 horsepower, but it weighs 4,559 pounds, which is equivalent to a Bolt hauling a Bactrian camel. The Bolt and camel duo may be more versatile, especially in hot weather, but what you need to know is that the ID.4’s extra weight hurts its acceleration. The ID.4 comes with RWD as standard, which is great because you won’t get torque steering or aggressive tire chirping that plagues the Niro Electric, Kona EV and Bolt line. However, due to its weight, its zero-to-sixty time is in the mid to upper range of 7 seconds, which is good enough for a crossover, but with the Mach-e and Model Y being 2-3 seconds longer fast, it’s just something to think about. Also, even in “Sport Mode”, the throttle will still be mapped to make acceleration smoother than sudden, which is good for some and bad for others. There will be an AWD model coming out later this year that will cut the acceleration time by around six seconds, and it will feel a lot quicker.
One aspect where the ID.4 excels is its handling, which is very good for an SUV of this price and weight. The ID.4 can corner exceptionally well, and smooth electric acceleration is the added bonus. On the subject of cornering, the ID.4 also has a surprisingly tight turning radius; it’s even better than the BMW i3 Sport, which is an industry leader for turning circles. Its turning radius makes it easy to turn around almost anywhere, and navigating congested parking lots is a breeze.
The ID.4 Pro, powered by an 82kWh pack, has an EPA-rated range of 260 miles, which puts it in Model 3 Standard Plus territory. The base Mach-e can do 230 and the Bolt EUV 247. For daily driving, 260 miles is more than enough, as it is in any new electric vehicle for sale. Once you’ve passed the 200 mile mark in an EV, you just don’t think about range in everyday driving, and even if you’re doing it for a brief trip, the ID.4 gives you three years of free charging on Electrify America’s fast charging network. Another advantage is its maximum charge rate of 125 kW, which allows the car to recharge around 200 miles in less than 40 minutes. Still, at around 40 minutes, that’s longer than Tesla’s charging times, so if you plan to take your EV on regular road trips, a Tesla would be a better option, but an ID.4 is still doable. .
However, what you should know is that you rarely charge on public chargers. If you charge at home via a 220V outlet, the ID.4 will fully charge in just a few hours after a typical day’s driving. So let’s say you’ve done 50 miles and get home at 3:00 p.m., the ID.4 would be fully charged up to that 260 mile mark at 5:00 p.m.
So, should you buy an ID.4? If you’re looking for a fun-to-drive crossover and don’t want to pay Tesla money, the ID.4 may very well fulfill that desire. With plenty of storage space and ample legroom and headroom, the new electric Volkswagen proves to be a capable crossover. All in all, the ID.4 is a very solid option, and with its well-designed and well-built exterior and interior, it’s sure to impress.