Volkswagen crosses over the ICE bridge with all-electric ID.4

The Volkswagen ID.4 EV was designed with several technologies meant to optimize heating efficiency while minimizing the impact cold temps will have on the vehicle. Volkswagen photo

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The Volkswagen ID.4 EV was designed with several technologies meant to optimize heating efficiency while minimizing the impact cold temps will have on the vehicle. Volkswagen photo

ID.4 is VW’s first all-electric crossover

You know electric vehicles are starting to enter the mainstream when you see ads for them in regular rotation and also when auto journalists are delivered them for weekly use and review. This week I was behind the wheel of the all-electric Volkswagen ID.4. This is my second EV of the year, having also tested the Mustang Mach-E.

To kick off all the questions regarding range anxiety, just consider that this ID.4 was delivered to me from the Detroit area and driven down to my home in Cincinnati. That’s a 250-mile trip and was made easily with only quick stop for recharging. So if driving an EV makes your nervous because you’re afraid you’ll run out of charge, that should set your mind at ease.

As for range it’s no different than fuel. You have to stop to refuel so you’d have to stop to recharge. The recharging currently does take a bit longer than a simple refueling, but with advances in that technology those times will come down.

I’m not here to espouse the merits of EVs, but it’s also important to know that EVs are coming and the ID.4 is a great example of the options and choices out there.

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On looks the ID.4 doesn’t stand out so obviously as an EV and that’s a good thing. The trend has been to make EVs look quirky and different. I’m glad Volkswagen kept the styling refined for the ID.4. The closed grille showcases that it is an EV. The profile is stylized to more look like a small crossover with its short stature and bubbly roofline. I still appreciate that the VW ID.4 doesn’t look too futuristic or cutesy as some other EVs do.

The ID.4 has less range than some of its EV competitors, but still has a range in the ballpark of 250 miles (or one trip to Detroit). A rear-mounted single electric motor makes 201 horsepower. That is less power than most of the EV competitors out there, especially the Mustang Mach-E. But 201 horsepower in an EV is much more powerful and quicker than a 200-horsepower internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle. So if you see that low number just know it performs much quicker than that.

When compared to other EVs, the ID.4 is a lot more refined. It almost performs more like a hybrid than a true EV as it lacks the instant torque and just feels more contained. But the ID.4 is surprisingly peppy and still is fun to drive. I do wish it had one-pedal driving like the Mustang Mach-E or Tesla. I feel Volkswagen missed an opportunity in this regard. But for people not used to one-pedal driving of EVs, this might be a slow and good transition vehicle.

And that’s really what the ID.4 is. A crossover crossover. A transition crossover from ICE to EV. And in that regard it does that successfully.

The turning radius is the most impressive I’ve seen from any crossover ever. It can turn on a dime which makes it great for parking and city driving too.

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My tester was the First Edition version which had a distinctive interior including a white steering wheel and white accents. It looked clean and fresh, but you’d have to worry about the long-term hold up for this color. The interior has really modern vibe. Clean and simple. The minimalist approach is on full display and you grow to really appreciate it.

So many of today’s vehicles make you feel bombarded and overwhelmed with touchpoints and technology. The ID.4 has all you need, but it’ so simple and clean it becomes one of the car’s best talking points. The futuristic joystick shifter is quirky but intuitive.

The boxy styling of this crossover makes the rear seat comfortable with headroom being ample as well as legroom.

You can’t talk about EVs today without using the made-up word: frunk. Frunk, or front trunk has become synonymous with many EVs. But the ID.4 does not have a frunk and for me this is a major disappointment. The architecture of the ID.4 creeps into the front area, which takes away from any useful frunk space. The competition has useful and resourceful frunks and the ID.4 not having one is for sure a detriment.

As in intro to EV type of vehicle, Volkswagen has priced the ID.4 right. It’s less expensive than the Mach-E or most Teslas with a starting price just of $43,000.

The EV revolution has begun, whether we are ready for it or not. It’s happening. Having choices, especially affordable ones with a lot of hybrid/ICE tendencies might help the VW ID.4 become more widely accepted than some of the other EVs out there.

Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist. Email him at jimmydinsmore73@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @driversside

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 First Edition

  • Price/As tested price................................................ $43,995/$43,995
  • Range.......................................... 250 miles
  • Motor............................................. Single electric motor, 82 kWh battery
  • Horsepower................................. 201hp/229 lbs./ft.
  • Transmission................................. Single speed automatic
  • Drive wheels................ Rear-wheel drive
  • Final assembly point................ Zwickhau, Germany

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