Volkswagen vies with Toyota each year to be the world’s best-selling brand and with its first all-electric subcompact SUV, the ID.4 enters the burgeoning world-wide electric vehicle (EV) market by adding – This is Volkswagen’s first global electric vehicle. In fact, VW join the Paris Agreement, pledging at least one new electric passenger car every year.
It hits the starting line ahead of Toyota, which plans to introduce its first all-electric vehicle in 2022 as the 2023 Toyota bZ4X, putting the two automotive giants head-to-head for top-seller world-wide.
Automotive website CarBuzz has given the ID.4 its 2021 “Save the Planet” award for fuel-saving technology combined with style, performance and capability. Ward’s Automotive named it one of its 10 Best UX (experience) awards for functional and easy-to-use technology.
Our test-drive was the top trim ID.4 Pro S rear-wheel drive using one electric motor, the first ID.4 on the market with all-wheel drive will come out later in the year with two electric motors for more muscle. Both are built with VW’s modular electric drive matrix that will be used on future electric vehicles.
Our only option was $1,500 for a gradient package dressing our vehicle with 20-inch silver-colored alloys wheels wearing all season tires, black roof with silver rails, and silver accents on the exterior, including large silver swipes behind the C pillar.
Its moves quickly from a stop with linear acceleration but no extra strong speed spurts. Handling is excellent with a thick steering wheel and a brake mode for regenerative braking.
Range is 250 miles with fast-chargers reaching 80% capacity in roughly 40 minutes. Home-installed Level 2 charging units take 7.5 hours to fully charge.
The ride is composed with anti-roll bars, front struts and rear multilink suspension. A plethora of industry cutting edge safety features come standard with IQ.Drive and Travel Assist.
The spacious cabin – front and back – has a 12-inch infotainment screen tilted toward the driver and loaded with features and enriched telematics that will be a delight a tech nerd. It takes time to master. Unfortunately, harvesting info requires eyes off the road to use the haptic touchscreen which has no knobs or buttons.
A sunroof, leatherette-covered seats and massage front seats, wireless charging, phone apps and colored lighting features creates a minimalist futuristic ambiance, a current automotive design trend.
At a Glance
LIKES: Looks, ride, upscale cabin design, handling, tech features, warranties
DISLIKES: Mastering controls, short visors, no heads-up- display
BOTTOM LINE: Solid entry to EV market, destined to be top performer
Fact File: 2021 VW !D.4 Pro S RWD
Permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor
229 lb-ft of torque
104 city/89 hwy mpg equivalent
0-60 in 7.4 seconds
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Tom Crosby has written more than 1,000 automotive reviews and is a retired Vice President of Communications for AAA Carolinas. He has seen dramatic changes in the automotive industry over the past 25 years and ponders the advent of self-driving vehicles, electric-only vehicles, sophisticated in-car telematics, and the financial challenges facing automotive manufacturers in an increasingly congested worldwide market.