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Following in the tyre tracks of the ID3 hatchback, the ID4's beefier styling could lure some SUV fans.
30-colour ambient lighting, split-folding rear seats with a load-through hatch and centre armrest, 'play and pause' pedal motifs, 10in Discover Pro touch-screen with navigation, inductive smartphone charging, heated infrared-reflecting windscreen, two front and two rear USB-C ports, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats and steering wheel.
204hp motor with 77kWh battery
Life, Family, Max, 1st Edition
Opinion seems to be evolving on whether electric cars should be stand-alone models or form part of the model line-up of an existing vehicle.
For example, Volkswagen used to have an electric version of the Golf and still has an E-Up, but in 2020 it began the introduction of its ID range. These were models based on a new electric car platform, and gave Volkswagen and its sister brands the flexibility and economies of scale to make electric cars more accessible.
We sampled the ID3 a few months ago, and the ID4, now on sale, has similarities in its powertrain, but has much more space inside and rides higher.
Based on the ID Crozz concept cars, Volkswagen says its first electric SUV is also the brand's first global electric car (the ID3 is built only for Europe). And the bespoke electric vehicle architecture (Volkswagen Group calls the platform MEB) allows a great deal of flexibility when it comes to design and interior space.
Its wheelbase is within a few millimetres of the Passat and with the simpler packaging of electric vehicle components, the ID4 feels like a much larger car inside.
Anyone who has driven a new Volkswagen recently will know that the infotainment system takes some getting used to and it's no more intuitive or quicker in the ID4. Drivers will also have to get used to the drive selector to the right of the digital instrument panel, which you twist one way for drive and the opposite for reverse. I probably didn't get it right the first time during any of my journeys in the car during the space of a week.
Otherwise, the interior is pleasant enough, although with fewer soft-touch plastics than a Tiguan or any other Vokswagen with a similar price tag.
The boot looks substantial and at 543 litres, it should do a good job of accommodating everyday items, such as folded pushchairs, multiple sets of golf clubs or boxes.
Our test car was a 1st Edition grade equipped with the Pro Performance pack, so as well as 204hp, it was capable of more than 300 miles, according to the official WLTP figure.
This level of range is probably a tipping point for many people for whom maximum driving distance without charging might have been a barrier. Of course, in these days of increased video meetings and reduced business mileage, it's likely that a car such as the ID4 might only need charging once a week, most of the time.
Less powerful variants will be introduced later, with a smaller 52kWh battery and a choice of 150 or 170hp. Range will be shorter, but these models are likely to qualify for the plug-in car grant to help reduce costs further. However, Volkswagen believes a Pro Performance version in the Life grade is likely to be the best seller.
All three specifications can regain up to 199 miles of range from a 125kW rapid charger in 30 minutes, while a 7.4kW home charger takes around 11 hours to take the ID4 Pro Performance from 0-100%. Charging to 80% from a DC, CCS charge point takes less than 40 minutes, so handy for a top-up when on the move and would benefit from a break from driving.
All versions of the ID4 are rear-wheel drive, although an all-wheel drive GTX derivative with higher performance has recently been announced.
The 204hp version is no slouch, though, with 0-62mph achieved in 8.5 seconds, while our 1st Edition test car is credited with an official range of 310 miles and energy consumption of 3.45 miles per kWh. It isn't particularly engaging to drive though.
But perhaps the ID4's biggest failing is that it's in danger of feeling like a household appliance against some more stylish alternatives for this money, albeit not many can offer the full-fat SUV profile.
When driving a Volkswagen in the past, and comparing it with mainstream cars, it was the abundance of soft surfaces and attention to detail that made it stand out. The ID4 has had to lose some of this - understandably - for weight and cost savings.
But in doing so, it feels less like a Volkswagen. Choice will continue to grow and at the moment the ID4 is desirable because of its range, practicality, and value. Volkswagen will need to work hard to preserve these advantages.