by Michael Butler
Volkswagen is now fully focused on expanding its range of electric vehicles. The accomplished Volkswagen ID.4 is the German brand's first EV SUV offering, and now in its second year of production, receives a healthy boost to its maximum range and charging capacity. VW offers this sleek-looking EV with a 201-horsepower rear-wheel-drive powertrain or a 295-hp all-wheel-drive powertrain that adds some much-needed zip. The VW ID.4 battles it out in a segment of the EV market that is set to blow up in the coming months, and faces stiff competition from cars such as the Tesla Model Y, Ford Mustang Mach-E, and Hyundai Ioniq 5. The Tesla is quicker, the Ford is a sportier drive, and the Hyundai looks more futuristic, but the ID.4 doesn't have any fatal flaws. Can its premium interior keep it close to the top? Let's find out.
The ID.4 has been around for two years, and for 2022 gets a few small updates to keep it fresh and crispy. VW has upped the DC fast-charging speed from 125 kW to 135 kW and auto-hold braking is now standard across the range. Driving range has also been improved: RWD variants can now travel for up to 275 miles on a single charge, a 15-mile increase compared to last year's equivalent model. For AWD versions, the improvement in maximum range is a lot smaller, up from 249 miles to 251.
Another change is that Front Assist can now detect pedestrians or cyclists traveling parallel to the vehicle, and warn the driver if they turn into the car's path. A new Plug and Charge feature has been introduced to simplify the charging experience at Electrify America charging points.
VW is now offering Car-Net services in three areas: Remote Access EV, Safe & Secure EV, and Hotspot. The service allows owners to interact with their ID.4 from miles away via an app. Remote vehicle status and roadside call assist and new features for 2022.
The VW ID.4 isn't a cheap runaround; this German EV looks and feels premium, and comes with a premium price tag. The entry-level Volkswagen ID.4 Pro's price will set you back $41,230 excluding tax, registration, and a destination fee of $1,295. The ID.4 Pro S has an MSRP of $45,730, and the Pro S with Gradient costs $47,230. With the dual-motor, AWD setup, the ID.4 costs $44,910 in base form, $49,410 in Pro S guise, and $50,910 in Gradient trim.
The VW ID.4's price undercuts the Tesla Model Y by a mile, with the Tesla starting at $65,990. Fully loaded, the cost of the VW ID.4 still won't reach the Tesla at $53,765 including destination. Anyone shopping in this category and wondering how much the VW ID.4 is should remember that the EV qualifies for a federal tax credit, too.
See trim levels and configurations:
Combine the words fun and Volkswagen and you usually end up with 'GTI', but the ID.4 proves that crossover SUVs can also be enjoyable to drive, even if they're electric. The VW ID.4 comes standard in RWD configuration, which already lends itself to a more sporty driving experience, and with a low center of gravity thanks to its center-mounted battery pack, the ID.4 likes to sling around corners with impressive pace and accuracy. The steering is very light in town, but Sport Mode makes it feel perfectly weighted and further adds to the overall enjoyment of driving this machine. The Volkswagen ID.4's dimensions are slight enough to keep the turning circle reasonable.
Major competition such as the Tesla Model Y can't match the ID.4 in the handling department, and it's more comfortable to drive on city roads. The AWD version is just as capable, and loves to shoot out of corner exits with impressive pace. Drive the 2022 VW ID.4 in B (Brake) Mode, and you'll barely have to touch the brake pedal thanks to its regenerative technology.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
After the great Dieselgate scandal hit Volkswagen, the company made a 180-degree turn and headed straight for renewables and clean tech, and the ID.4 stems from that desire to change the VW image from dirty to desirably green. The ID.4 enters a market that is quickly filling with strong competition, and has to face the likes of the Tesla Model Y, Mustang Mach-E, and Hyundai Ioniq 5. That's tough company to keep, and we're not entirely sure the VW manages to beat all of them. It's affordable and drives well, but the Ioniq 5 is quickly becoming a favorite at CarBuzz, and the Mustang drives well. But VW has become an early adopter and has fired a strong shot with its first US-based EV.
For 2022, VW has upped the maximum range across the ID.4 lineup and increased charging rates, making this German EV more practical than before. We appreciate all the safety tech, but some might still find the touchless infotainment system a chore to operate. Overall, this is a very strong effort from VW and worth checking out.
The difference between the range-topping ID.4 and its base sibling isn't that massive unless you need the extra power and/or AWD, so new buyers can go for the Pro S and still undercut competitors such as the Tesla Model Y by a significant margin. This choice will also boil down to what you're looking for: economy or performance. The RWD ID.4 has the furthest range, but the 295-hp version feels so much more exciting to drive. If we were buying, we'd go for the AWD Pro S in Blue.
The Tesla Model Y is one of the best-selling EVs and leads the pack in many categories. Priced at $65,990 for the entry-level Long Range model, the Model Y is significantly more expensive than the VW ID.4, but features a fantastic maximum range of 330 miles. The Performance model is even pricier at $69,990 but will dart to 60 mph in only 3.5 seconds. The interior is spacious and filled with tech, and the Model Y's crash safety record is excellent. The VW ID.4 is the better car to drive on a daily basis, but both offer a premium driving experience. If you're after the best range or best performance, then the Tesla Model Y is the car for you. But with a better reputation for build quality and a far lower base price, the ID.4 is a more sensible purchase.
The Ioniq 5 is the first of several EVs planned under Hyundai's new Ioniq sub-brand, and it's a beauty. Producing up to 320 hp and with a range of up to 303 miles, the Ioniq 5 is both faster than the ID.4 and has a longer range. When we drove it, we also appreciated how unique the styling is, both inside and out, and this is another aspect that sets apart the Ioniq 5 from the more conservative ID.4. Even with VW's latest improvements, the Ioniq 5 boasts superior charging speeds. Both vehicles prioritize comfort over agility but are relaxing to drive with refined interiors. The lounge-like Ioniq 5's cabin does feel more special, however, and it has more rear legroom than the VW. The VW ID.4's trunk space is better, though. At $39,950, the Ioniq 5 is cheaper as well, and the VW ID.4's warranty can't match the Hyundai's, either. In case you haven't noticed yet, the Hyundai is the EV we prefer between these two rivals.
The most popular competitors of 2022 Volkswagen ID.4: