2021 Volkswagen ID.4 First Look Review: A New Beginning

First Look / Comments

The firm's first-ever all-electric SUV has arrived.

The all-new 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 is arguably the automaker's most important new vehicle in decades. Its corporate cousin, the ID.3 hatchback, is an overseas-only model, though both share a platform and software. But it's the SUV market that's booming and VW has no intention of being left behind. Set to face off against the likes of the Tesla Model Y and Nissan Ariya, the ID.4, in the words of VW CEO of North America Scott Keogh, "Drives like a GTI, has the packaging of a Tiguan and the purpose of the Beetle."

Bear in mind the ID.4 is not just some limited production model but rather, like the Beetle, for the masses. It's also worth noting that overall electrical vehicle sales in the US are nowhere near those of their combustion-engined counterparts. The transition to electrification will undoubtedly take time, but the ID.4 appears to have everything necessary to convince consumers to make the big switch.

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Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen

Slick But Inoffensive Exterior

VW knew the ID.4 needed futuristic styling but couldn't go too far. Finding the ideal balance was a must. Take note of the new brand logo that's now more prominently situated up front thanks to a lack of a radiator. Buyers can also opt for an illuminated logo and light line. A pair of large LED headlights nicely flow towards the front fenders while the sculpted front bumper boasts large intake-like scoops and honeycomb accents.

From the sides, the SUV's lines are soft without many angles and a low greenhouse flows into a typical VW-styled C-pillar then makes its way into a long spoiler. Aerodynamics played a key role for designers and they were able to achieve an impressive drag coefficient of 0.28.

Compared to the VW Tiguan, the ID.4 is 4.6-inches shorter and 1.9-inches lower (RWD versions only), and its wheelbase is 0.9-inches shorter. It is, however, half-an-inch wider. A total of six exterior paint colors will be available, and a body-color roof, black roof rails, and 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels are standard. The optional Statement package tacks on a panoramic fixed-glass roof, 20-inch wheels, silver roof rails, a black roof, and premium LED projector headlights.

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Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen
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Spacious And Modern Interior

Americans want spacious interiors and VW has delivered. The ID.4's passenger volume is quite similar to that of the Tiguan with a total of 99.9 cubic feet. Front passengers benefit from 41.1-inches of legroom and there's 37.6 inches for rear-seat passengers. The ID.4 is a two-row-only SUV. Behind the second-row seats is 30.3 cubic feet of cargo space and this expands to 64.2 cubic feet with those seats folded flat.

The ID.4's dashboard design is quite similar to that of the ID.3, and that's no bad thing. There's a standard 5.3-inch digital driver's display, a leather-wrapped multifunction heated steering wheel, and a 10-inch infotainment screen display. This configurable display manages everything from navigation and entertainment to driver-assist systems. A 12-inch screen is optional. Instead of a regular gear shifter, there's a rocker switch located on the right side of the driver's screen.

One cool new standard feature is the "Hello ID" voice control, a system capable of understanding basic commands, such as turning on the heat, in a number of languages. Other standard items include black cloth seats, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, and keyless access. Leather seating, 12-way power seats, and 30-color ambient lighting are optional.

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Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen

Electrified Power And Safety

The ID.4's battery pack is located in the underbody in order to maximize interior space and for a low center of gravity which, in turn, aids driving dynamics. When it first goes on sale, the ID.4 will come with an 82-kWh battery and a rear-mounted AC electric motor producing a total of 201 horsepower and 228 lb-ft of torque. First Edition models have a claimed 250 miles on a single charge as per the EPA cycle.

To compare, the Model Y has an EPA-rated 316 miles, 449 hp, and all-wheel drive. A 302-hp ID.4 with AWD will arrive later next year. Owners will also enjoy three years of free fast charging with Electrify America. However, it's also possible to charge the ID.4 at home or with any Level 2 charger; 33 miles of range can be added in just one hour and full charge requires seven and a half hours. DC fast-charging stations with 125 kW charging enable up to an 80 percent charge in about 38 minutes.

Standard safety tech includes forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring, blind-spot monitor, rear traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and emergency assist.

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Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen

Pricing And Competition

Volkswagen says pricing for the 2021 ID.4 (with RWD) will begin at $39,995, though that's before a $7,500 federal tax incentive is applied. The ID.4 AWD Pro, which will hit the market sometime in 2021, will carry a $43,695 base price. The ID.4 First Edition will start at $43,995 and include packages with numerous upgraded features. VW is also offering customers the opportunity to lease an ID.4 for $379 a month for 36 months with $3,579 due at signing and a 10,000-mile per year cap. However, this offer is only valid for qualified Volkswagen Credit customers.

The VW ID.4 will face off against the also all-new Nissan Ariya and the already on sale Tesla Model Y. Another rival will be the Ford Mustang Mach-E, though it's aimed more at performance drivers looking for a muscle car-like experience.

The ID.4, however, is a direct alternative to the VW Tiguan, though it's not a competitor; it's simply different because it's all-electric. VW has begun a new path that will see several new EVs arrive in just a few short years. The ID.4 is only the beginning.

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