Hello, love bug.
Before you get into the VW ID.4 you can tell it’s happy to see you. It lights up. The mirrors unfold. The running lights flash. The door unlocks. Get in, and the screens flicker to life. It’s ready to go, so simply click the gear selector and drive. It knows you’re there, what you need, and it’s ready.
Sort of like Herbie. Which is what it reminded me of on a brief test drive around Charlotte recently. I got to snag time with an ID.4 Pro S model as it made its way from VW’s HQ in Virginia to the assembly plant where it’ll be built in Chattanooga. And while a few hours certainly wasn’t enough time, I did get to discover some of the charming, fun and fanciful features in the VW ID.4.
VW Enters the World of Electric Driving with the ID line
Get to know the ID name; it indicates the VW electrified line of cars. There is an ID.3 hatchback available in Europe, and coming soon, the ID Bus, the much awaited electric version of the iconic VW microbus — and that can’t be soon enough.
And ID.4? It’s an SUV, ideally sized, priced at about $40,000 to start, has a driving range of about 250 miles on a full charge and is outfitted for the US market. It’s large enough for 5 passengers, has plenty of cargo space and ground clearance that lets you sit high enough from the road for good visibility. And, that ground clearance means it has a natural hip height— when the height of the seats are about the same height as the average human’s hip; this makes it easy to get in and out of the car. For us never-ending errand runners, this is the key to comfort and not wrenching our backs, something small sedan and hatchback fans will never understand.
This isn’t VW’s first foray into EVs; the company adapted the popular Golf hatchback as the eGolf, and even built a second generation. But that was a warmup act for the ID, which is where the brand’s innovation and engineering shine.
The ID.4 is front-loaded with tons of tech that makes time in the car seamless, which is great for me. I’m a get-in-and-go girl. I don’t like to spend time setting up my navigation, checking all the systems or going through process. I have places to be.
The ID.4 eliminates a number of things to let me get going faster. It doesn’t have a start button. Once you enter the car with your key, it’s on and ready to go.
Apple CarPlay (or Android Auto) wirelessly connects (once you’ve initially connected your phone in the car) so you can simply click your map and select your destination. If you’ve sent it to your phone or looked it up on your device before getting into the car, it’ll be there waiting to be selected. Your Spotify or iTunes will connect, too, so you can keep your soundtrack going. And if you need to charge your phone, there is a wireless phone charge pad and 4 USB-C fast charge ports. One for every passenger.
A Minimalist Interior Keeps Your Focus on the Road
This is especially great for drivers who feel overwhelmed by too many dials, gauges and controls, though it does take some time to learn where everything is.
First, the gear selector is a grip-like dial attached to the side of the driver information screen. It turns to select drive, B drive, neutral or reverse; to put it in park, tap the button on the end of the dial.
Then, the driver information screen, a simple rectangle displaying only key information, is front and center. It’s easy to use and has all the standard details plus charging information.
And, the center console is recessed between the seats, keeping the cabin clutter free. Arm rests on the sides of the front seats pull down when you need them, or tuck away next to the seat back when you don’t. Under the console’s retractable top are two USB-C fast charge ports and the wireless charge pad. Under the dashboard are two cup holders. All together it’s neat, organized and simple.
The cabin feels open and roomy. The rear seats fold down for more cargo space, the cargo floor is adjustable so you can add more space if you like and the panoramic sun roof adds to the airy feeling with lots of natural sunlight.
It’s Minimalist on the Exterior, Too
I also really love the door handles on this car. What??? Yes. They are simple and elegant. The handles are flush with the doors; simply tuck your fingers inside, tap the rubber pad and ‘pop,’ the door opens. The flush handles help to make the car more aerodynamic, but they look good too.
Like the door handles, the look of the VW ID.4 is clean and fresh. The front ‘face’ is anchored by the new VW logo, a slimmer, more modern version of the classic. The logo is framed by slim headlights that give its face a wide-eyed look; they are connected by a chrome bar that spans the front of the car and if you look close, you can see they are covered in a modern open mesh. This streamlined look on the front is carried over to the rear, with a light bar that spans the lift gate connecting the slim tail lights with the VW logo in the center.
I Hope They Bring Back the First Edition’s Chic Look
Anyone who hesitated ordering this car lost out on the super stylish ID.4 First Edition. Not only does it have white seats, but it has a white flat-bottomed steering wheel, and the steering column and driver information screen are white. The whole look is chic and fresh. I hope it returns. That it sold out so quickly—only 2,000 First Editions were available— should be an indication: more style, please!
Driving the ID.4
Again, it’s simple. Put the car in gear and go with the confidence you expect from any car. The 201 horsepower and 228 lb-ft of torque provide more than enough power for merging into traffic, cruising on the highway or tooling around town. Despite being an SUV, the ID.4 is agile and easy to drive and park; it’s not the huge vehicle that some SUVs are.
And, it has one-pedal driving. Simply click the drive selector to “B” and the car’s power will be redirected back into the battery when you’re not actively accelerating. So, take your foot off the accelerator pedal and, boom, the car slows significantly. And, the battery is recharged a bit. You can drive in B mode and not only use less of the battery charge, but you can almost completely avoid using your brakes. So you don’t have to replace them as often. Smart, huh?
Here’s What Else You Need to Know About the VW ID.4
- The Pro S model starts at $39,995 and qualifies for federal and state tax incentives, which can shave $10,000 from the price for qualified buyers.
- VW is offering buyers 3 free years of DC fast-charging, which gives you up to an 80% charge in about 40 minutes; this is great for buyers who need public charging options.
- There is no start button; with your key fob in your pocket or purse, the car awakens and is ready to go when you are.
- There is no frunk, or front trunk, as many EVs have. VW made the most of the space, locating a motor, wiper fluid and more under the front hood.
- It has a wireless phone charger, 4 USB-C fast charge ports (two in console and two in rear) and heated front seats.
- The driver info screen is attached to steering wheel column so it moves when you reposition the wheel – a nice detail!
- Rather than regeneration paddles, common on many EVs, the ID.4 has B mode for one-pedal driving.
- It comes with a charge cord for home or on-the-go charging.
- Apple CarPlay and Android auto operate wirelessly—a really nice feature.
- All wheel drive is on the way but not available yet.
- Tax incentives, as well as other incentives, can lower the price of the car significantly.
- The ID.4 is available to order; dealerships each have a dedicated specialist who can walk you though the process, and in the coming months, many dealers will have ID.4s in stock. But get the one you want by ordering it.
And, expect software upgrades that will further enhance the ID.4 ownership experience. Because this is essentially a computer on wheels, VW can easily upgrade the ID.4’s software, offering things like semi-autonomous driving features, voice activated assistant and more.
Herbie was always able to read his driver’s mind and give her a lot to love.