Volkswagen’s ID.4 EV is the base engine you’ve been waiting for


Dieselgate rocked Volkswagen to its foundation, prompting the automaker to take a radical new direction and invest nearly $ 40 billion in electric vehicle R&D as well as the factory technology needed to make it. The initial result of that massive investment has now hit the streets in the form of a compact crossover SUV. Say hello to 2021 ID.4, VW’s first electric vehicle for the people.

The ID.4’s paper stats aren’t particularly striking, especially when compared to some of its more expensive luxury alternatives. With a 77.0 kWh lithium-ion battery developing 201 hp and 229 lb-ft of torque, the ID.4’s specs are very much in line with its gasoline-powered model equivalents like the Honda CRV or EVs. similar like the Hyundai Kona or Kia Niro EV (although each of them only has 64 kWh batteries).

ID.4 tips weigh over 4,600 pounds. Yes, it’s big, even for an electric, and it weighs about 800 pounds more than the bigger 2021 Kona EV. As such, you shouldn’t be surprised that the EV crossover takes its time to hit 60 mph. h in about seven and a half seconds, which is quite complicated for an EV. Even overtaking other vehicles at highway speeds, the ID.4 can seem downright absurd. Combined with a regulated top speed of 100 mph, the ID.4 is truly a powerhouse of people, not a sports car in disguise.

Andrew Tarantula / Engadget

Its range estimated at 250 miles by the EPA is generous and seems very geared towards urban races and highway trips with easy access to charging stations. Even when using Economy Mode to sip electrons to navigate a nearly empty 280 freeway outside of San Francisco, the power gauge shrank a lot faster than I was comfortable with. It was the first electric vehicle that I tested and where I felt a little palpable anxiety. Fortunately, the 400V electrical architecture of the ID.4 supports both Level 2 and DC fast charging protocols that allow it to soak up an 80% charge in, respectively, about 9.5 hours and a bit. less than 40 minutes (according to VW estimates).

Style wise, I find myself infatuated with the ID.4. The exterior of the crossover is less windswept than last year’s Honda HRV, but not as straight as Volvo’s upcoming C40 Recharge. And unlike what we’ve seen on the Mach-E, e-tron GT, or even the XC40 Recharge, the ID.4 appears to use surprisingly muted headlights and taillights – you won’t find Thor’s Hammers. dazzling the hood or distended brake lights climb up. the trunk lid like LED ivy. A bit of a shame, really.

The interior is sparse. But, I guess, no more sparse than any of the other latest EVs I’ve been on recently? Honestly, they all strike me as sterile and minimalist, if only to varying degrees. In this case, the ID.4’s dashboard features two LED displays, a handle of steering column rods, and a few air vents.

The gearshift is also located on the steering column and that’s odd – essentially a wide paddle mounted on the column and capped with a parking brake knob. You turn it back and forth to switch from forward to reverse. I mean, initially I wasn’t a fan of the Mach-E’s iDrive-style cylindrical shifter, but at least it didn’t take me 5 minutes to identify the fucking thing the first time I got into the car. Ditto with the Start button. I haven’t thought of looking for a start button on the steering column itself since the days of physical ignition cylinders. Touch, Volkswagen.

Despite the confusing nature of various sticks, rods, and buttons, the cabin itself is really quite comfortable. It’s roomy enough to accommodate five grown-ups without having to lean into the backseat, and the perceived headroom and vertical space are accented by an all-glass roof. Unlike the Mach-E, the ID.4’s roof is much less opaque and is instead hidden from external prying eyes by a fabric headliner that slides out of the way with the swipe of a touch control above the head. Trunk space is also well laid out with 30 cubic feet of space that more than doubles if you lower the rear seat backs.

The infotainment system, however, is as if 2020 were digital cabin controls. I have yet to come across such a system with a steeper initial learning curve. The menu system feels like it was designed through a challenge. While picking up the vehicle, I was audibly assaulted with contemporary adult music for an unreasonable amount of time as I tried unsuccessfully to locate a power button, pause button – hell, even the volume controls – in what turned out to be VW’s Byzantine infotainment. menu system. And for that, I will never forgive you, Michael Bolton. YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID, MICHAEL.

Thank goodness for a robust voice control system combined with integration for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to allow more seamless control of the cabin environment. But note that these aren’t fully integrated like what you would see on the XC40 Recharge or Polestar 2 with Android Auto – these work directly through the infotainment system’s main unit.

The ID.4 looks like the Tesla Model Y, and I like that, it’s just big enough to provide a clear view of the traffic around me without feeling too heavy – the thousands of pounds of battery under my seat certainly helps. with that. The suspension is tight enough to keep the ID.4 from rolling around corners while still being flexible enough that driving over potholes doesn’t misalign my spine.

Oddly enough, I could seem to find a one-pedal drive option. One-pedal driving is a system found in electric vehicles that uses the accelerator pedal to modulate both the driving and the braking of the vehicle – press the pedal to go faster, release it to automatically engage the brakes to recovery and recover a precious charge. Personally, I’m no fan of the method, but its absence in a vehicle so clearly designed as a practical family commuter is both noticeable and noticeable.

ID.4’s ADAS system, IQ.DRIVE, generally works as expected. It offers the standard combination of forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear traffic alert and adaptive cruise control. In my limited experience, I found that the lane-keeping function required iron willpower to engage as the vehicle continued to delay refocusing in the lane until it was already overlapping the side marker. It’s certainly not hands-free steering like what GM’s SuperCruise offers, but it does come in handy when you’re in traffic and trying to fight through the infotainment menus.

Volkswagen ID.4

Andrew Tarantula / Engadget

The ID.4 starts at around $ 40,000 and comes in three trim packs, the Pro, Pro S, and 1st Edition. All three are currently only available in RWD, although the Pro and Pro S will start offering an AWD version later this year as an optional $ 4,000. Specifically, the 1st Edition, which I drove, starts at $ 43,995, the Pro will net you $ 40-44,000 depending on drive type and the Pro S (the S stands for Statement) will start at $ 44-48K with the option upgrade to 19-inch rims and a 12-inch infotainment screen for an additional $ 1,500.

Overall, the ID.4 is a solid first attempt at VE. Of course, Volkswagen included a few … uh, unusual design decisions, its range and power consumption were strained enough to keep my eyes on the battery gauge during my ride, and the whole vehicle in general smelled like me. a little malnourished. But this is the first of what we expect will be many more EV models from the automaker. Personally, I would wait a year or two for a model year or two for everything to clear up completely and VW to fix all the bugs, but if you’re looking for a sane mass-electric vehicle that can carry your family around town, bring a vehicle back. at home. full of groceries, and doing all those other harmless errands that filled our days before the pandemic hit, the 2021 ID.4 is well worth your consideration.

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