2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Review

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 - Check ID when buying electric.


ID4’s exterior from the plethora of five-door crossovers supporting IC engines and oil pans under hood unless one knows where to look.  The lack of an IC engine eliminates the need for tail pipes, creating a smooth lower back end. A smooth side high belt line extends end-to-end with a hint of small waves in certain zones. High wheel well arches create a hood lower in the middle than the sides.  The narrow grille includes the familiar V over W logo front and center.  The logo appears again on the power hatch door.

Here’s something new; while an electronic start/stop button locates on the steering column’s right side, it’s largely superfluous as the vehicle summons to action when unlocking with drivers sitting in-vehicle with the key fob on person.  Same holds true when exiting, no need to push the electronic button as ID4 knows to go silent when butts leave the bucket seat, belts unbuckle and power doors lock.  

While power side window controls come standard, the ID4 is the first tested in recent memory with two tabs controlling four windows.  A third button differentiates front and back; when illuminated front windows roll up and down, push to de-illuminate and back windows follow commands.

Instrument panel sizes are growing among competitors. ID4 goes in the opposite direction.  Not only smaller, the IP all-digital 5.3-inch screen relocates atop the steering column boasting a hexagon shape, manually raising and lowering along with the steering column to the driver’s preference. The miles per hour reading remains digital, as does the PRND and ‘B’ display.

Select D (drive) for every-day driving providing the experience of an IC vehicle.  The ‘B’ transmission selector offers a regenerative braking option, providing a bit more forward resistance while returning kinetic energy back to the electrical system for reuse. In effect, two forward propulsion options exist for this single-speed transmission. Choosing the D mode helps ID4 coast greater lengths, which some in the emerging EV community insist provides superior fuel range than regen braking; choose a side and discuss.

The physical electronic gear shifter locates at the right end of the IP screen.  A twisting action forward or back activates reverse/drive.  Park gets summoned by pushing the end point inward.  It’s not the most convenient local for a gear shifter plus the steering wheel and turn signal stalk sometimes stand in the way. However, this positioning allows the area between front buckets to welcome four inline beverage holders and a wireless charging hub for qualifying Smartphones.

The sizeable, 12-inch multi-function flat screen with on-board navigation gently skewed to the driver jets up from the central dash a-la a flat screen TV welcoming a modern, minimalistic dashboard ambiance. Touch and slide sensitivity activates climate and audio controls within the screen with no twist dials in sight.  Expect a lengthy learning curve when uncovering favorite stations and suitable temperature levels; for the adventuresome, voice activated commands and gesture controls are available. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility comes standard.

With no vertical floor hump invading row two’s floor thanks to the electric design, enough room exists for three riders to co-exist, an observation not all compact-sized crossovers may claim. Headroom in both rows measure with enough clearance for six-foot four-inchers.  Back rests fold in a 60/40 manner revealing 64.2 cubic feet of usable space, on par with conventional crossovers of this size.

The final sweeteners helping ease the transition to electric are an eight year/100,000-mile electric battery warranty, four-year/50,000 bumper-to-bumper warranty and two-year/20,000 scheduled maintenance program.

2021 Volkswagen ID4

Price as tested: $45,190

Battery: rechargeable Lithium-ion

Horsepower:  201

Electric Range: 260 miles

Wheelbase:   108.9 inches

Overall Length: 180.5 inches

Overall Width: 72.9 inches

Overall Height:   64.4 inches

Curb Weight:  4,665 pounds

Battery warranty: Eight years/100,000

Assembly: Germany

Dave Boe

Dave Boe, a lifetime Chicago area resident, worked at the Daily Herald, Illinois' third-largest daily newspaper, for 24 years. In 1989, the Daily Herald began a weekly Saturday Auto Section and he was shortly appointed editor. The product quickly grew into one of the largest weekend sections in the paper thanks to his locally-written auto reviews, the introduction of a local automotive question-and-answer column, a new colorful format and news happenings from Chicago area new-car dealerships.

Five years later, a second weekly auto section debuted on Mondays with Boe adding an industry insight column and introducing a "Love Affair with Your Car" column where readers sent in their own automotive memories for publication. During the next 10 years, the number of weekly auto sections Boe edited and coordinated grew to five and featured expanded NASCAR racing coverage, a dealer spotlight/profile feature and a Car Club Calendar where grass-roots automobile clubs could publish upcoming events for free. Boe also introduced more local automotive columnists into the pages of the sections, all of whom were seasoned members of the well respected Midwest Automotive Media Association. In 1997, Boe earned the Employee of the Year award from the Daily Herald.

Boe is a founding member and current president of the Midwest Automotive Media Association. He has degrees in Journalism and Business Administration from Northern Illinois University.