Volkswagen is cranking up its electric game as it introduces the ID.4. The German brand is fully committed to a battery-powered future, and the ID.4 represents its next chapter. This five-seat SUV has many of the right ingredients to appeal to families.
It will be a key player in what is about to become a very competitive segment of electric SUVs, facing stiff competition from rivals like the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Tesla Model Y, and from within the Volkswagen Group with the Skoda Enyaq iV.
The Volkswagen ID.4 doesn't look much like the other SUVs in the brand's range. It's got more curves than the Tiguan and isn't as bold as the larger Touareg. Size-wise it slots between a Volkswagen Tiguan and Tiguan Allspace and has more ground clearance, although it is lower in overall height by 42mm.
Continuing the look set out by the smaller ID.3, the Volkswagen ID.4 has a few more upmarket touches like LED headlights that integrate into what would typically be a grille and door handles that sit more flush with the bodywork. The contrasting roofline includes a bright silver element that emphasises the large glasshouse area. It's a more curvaceous design with a shoulderline the rises up over the rear, with a hint of Peugeot 3008 about it.
Those driving behind won't be mistaken about you're driving, as the VW logo and ID.4 front and centre are finished in an eye-catching white, while the LED lightbar extends across the entire width of the car, conjoining the rear light clusters.
In addition to more length between the wheels, both front and rear doors provide a generous aperture making ingress and egress very easy. This aspect should also be a boon to parents putting smaller kids into the rear. As soon as you get in, you notice the real sense of space that the ID.4 provides inside. It feels very roomy inside. The view outwards through the raked windscreen is excellent, and you can still make out the tops of the front wings from the driver's seat, so it remains an easy car to place on the road and park.
It's a relatively clean look to the cabin, but it's not the stark minimalism that you'll experience in a Tesla Model 3. This ID.4 1st Edition features a small digital instrument that shows the essentials when driving. Next to that is a 10-inch Discover Navigation Pro touchscreen display that controls almost all of the car's other functions, including the infotainment system. There are very few physical buttons on the interior, with Volkswagen preferring to use more capacitive panels, and these extend to the multifunction controls for the steering wheel.
Space remains equally impressive for the rear passengers, with generous legroom levels and a middle seat large enough to accommodate a third adult — something that isn't always the case in this segment. Headroom is reasonable, too, making it one of the best in the SUV class. Both of the outer rear seats feature ISOFIX anchor points, as does the front passenger seat.
Even with all that room for passengers, boot space doesn't take much of a hit. A capacity of 543 litres is far from inadequate, though it is less than the 615 litres a Volkswagen Tiguan offers. For most, it will remain sufficient and there is still the option to fold the rear seats down to increase that cargo capacity to 1,575 litres.
The Volkswagen ID.4 will initially come in one specification called the 1st Edition, which features a good level of standard equipment. On the driver assistance front, there is adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality making it great to use in heavier traffic. There is also a speed limiter function to ensure you don't creep over the limit and risk getting a speeding fine. Lane assist, parking sensors on either end, a reversing camera and high beam assist are all useful features.
From a connectivity perspective, you get Bluetooth and a host of USB-C ports in the front and rear of the car, leaving plenty of scope for ensuring those many devices remain charged up. The 10-inch touchscreen display includes wireless smartphone mirroring with Apple and Android systems.
The ID.4 1st Edition comes with a 77kWh battery that Volkswagen says can provide a driving range of up to 310 miles on a WLTP combined cycle. If you're sticking to city driving, that figure can go as high as 414 miles between charges. Like all electric vehicles, this range figure will vary depending on driving style and ambient temperature conditions. Still, providing you can charge at home, it should be more than adequate for most average users. If you do need to top up the battery quickly, the ID.4 has a peak charging rate of 125kW.
The rear-mounted 201bhp electric motor easily moves the ID.4 along at a brisk pace when needed, and the performance levels suit the nature of how this capacious SUV drives. With a 0-62mph acceleration time taking 8.5 seconds, it isn't what you'd call Tesla-quick, but these figures aren't likely to be as relevant to most ID.4 buyers.
Even fully loaded, performance isn't an issue thanks to its 310Nm. It piles on speed nicely, enabling the ID.4 to pleasingly surge forward whenever you prod the pedal the Play symbol on it. The taut body control adds to the precise nature of how the ID.4 drives.
What's equally impressive is how refined the electric Volkswagen is on the move. It has a suspension setup that feels remarkably well-judged, and while it is slightly on the firm side, it copes well with more severe bumps and has the right amount of damping to remain consistently smooth across a variety of speeds.
At motorway cruising speed, some wind noise picks up but not to the level that it becomes intrusive, thanks in part to the sound insulating glass used in the windscreen. It's worth mentioning that the visibility is excellent, thanks to the slender A-pillars and raked windscreen mean you get quite an unobstructed view when looking through bends or pulling out of an angled junction.
The steering has a natural and direct feel making it all the more enjoyable to drive. As it deploys its power to the rear wheels, the Volkswagen exits corners in a far more engaging manner than its rivals.
There is a lot to like about the Volkswagen ID.4, from its looks and drives to that interior space. As family-sized SUVs go, this is one of the roomiest and most refined on the move. At £37,800, it is almost the same price as highly-specced Tiguan Allspace R Line Tech, but you are getting a car that's much nicer to drive even if it only has five seats.
If you've been eyeing up a switch to an electric SUV, the Volkswagen ID.4 now makes for a great jumping-in point. Its mix of space, style and refinement, along with a good-sized battery and ample driving range, makes this one of the stronger contenders in the segment.
Model: Volkswagen ID.4 1st Edition
Engine: rear-mounted electric motor with 77kWh battery
Transmission: single-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
0-62mph: 8.5 seconds
Top speed: 100 mph
WLTP combined range: 310 miles
CO2 emissions: 0g/km