► Full range tested
► Rear or four-wheel drive
► 52 or 77kWh battery
Since we first got our hands on one back in 2021, the Volkswagen ID.4 range has expanded somewhat. These days you can pick between a 52 or 77kWh battery pack, six power outputs and single-motor rear- or twin-motor four-wheel drive.
However, there are more contenders for best electric car on sale than ever, and a lot of them undercut the ID.4 by a sizeable sum. Make no mistake, the ID.4 is Tesla Model Y money if not performance. Until a 2024 update lands 295bhp is the most you’ll get, and even then only in top ID.4 GTX guise.
How big is it?
Size-wise, the ID.4 slots neatly into the VW SUV range between the T-Roc and Tiguan at 4.6m long, but is closer to the latter in terms of exterior dimensions – and the interior is even roomier thanks to the packaging efficiency of the electrical gubbins.
The rear passenger compartment is spacious, if not Skoda Enyaq good, with that flat floor bereft of any propshaft intrusion for the rear seat passengers. You get 543-litres of boot capacity, more than a BMW iX3 but less than the slightly bigger Tiguan.
What’s it like to drive?
Thanks to the low centre of gravity and the balanced weight distribution, the ID.4 doesn’t disgrace itself in the bends. Even when fitted with the optional 21-inch tyres, the ride remains compliant on most surfaces, and it doesn’t fall apart when you switch modes from Comfort to Sport on cars fitted with DCC.
This 201bhp/229lb ft version is brisk off the line but certainly not fast, the performance hampered by that lardy 2.1-tonne kerbweight. Even so, you shouldn’t discount the 165bhp version of the 52kWh battery-equipped ID.4. Its lesser weight means performance is still adequate.
The 261bhp 4Motion is usefully quicker, but we’d only bother with this if four-wheel drive is a necessity. Like the ID.4 GTX (that gets its own review), this isn’t an SUV that you’ll relish driving quickly. Yes, the steering is precise, roll well contained and grip levels reasonable, but you’re aware of the weight and it’s not want you’d call fun. In fact, the lightest 52kWh ID.4 is the most agile and enjoyable version to hustle.
A toggle switch on the steering column lets you select the level of regenerative braking. Opt for Low and you get early coasting, while High supports one-pedal driving; they’re not extreme settings, and there’s no manual fine-tuning.
What’s the electric range like? How far will the VW ID.4 go on one charge?
The official range figures are 223 miles for the smaller battery, 328 miles for the larger when in basic Life Edition trim. Our 77kWh test car showed 217 miles when full on a cool March spring morning, disappointingly some way off the claimed 310-mile range – at least the range meter appears accurate, so long as you drive gingerly, avoid stamping on the accelerator and go easy on the heating controls. Conversely, in warmer weather we saw a predicted range of just over 200 miles for the 52kWh.
Opt for 125kW rapid-charging capability, find the right charge point, and you’ll be able to regain 199 miles of range in half an hour, says Volkswagen. As standard you get 50kW charging.
Our test car was well kitted out, with excellent seats and if you do order the full-length glass roof, it makes for a bright and airy interior. If this car is anything to go by, the cabin surface materials are classier than the ID.3’s – a welcome development – and there are direct-access buttons for temperature, assistance and driving modes, rather than hunting for everything via touchscreen sub-menus.
What didn’t we like? The weird haptics on the steering wheel buttons are downright strange; car makers have already designed perfectly normal thumbwheels and switches and it feels like VW’s gadgetry team came along and ordered that haptic feedback was required for this PlayStation-generation EV. Jog the volume up or down and the smooth plastic buttons vibrate weirdly. It’s not at all intuitive.
So, it’s not perfect, but it is a polished product that drives far better than some of the young upstarts we’re seeing in the UK EV market. It’s also spacious enough for family life while interior quality is fine if not outstanding.
However, the same touch-sensitive control related issues that annoy us in the ID.3 are present here, as are the daft non-illuminated sliders. Until these items are fixed, hopefully in 2024, we’d suggest you look at the more sensible Skoda Enyaq or keener-driving Kia EV6.