First Drive: The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Is a Versatile, Stylish, and Agile EV

For quicker acceleration and AWD, buyers should wait until the fall

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Consumer Reports

The all-new, all-electric 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 is aimed straight at the heart of the small-SUV segment, blurring the line between a hatchback car and an SUV. We found the ID.4 a pleasant-driving electric vehicle that’s roomy, functional and, at a starting price of $39,995, competitively priced. However, there are a few drawbacks: Many of the ID.4’s controls come across as gimmicky for the sake of seeming high-tech, and the ID.4’s first version to market doesn’t burst with acceleration off the line like some other electric vehicles.

Unlike VW’s first EV, the eGolf, which was a converted version of the existing Golf, the ID.4 was engineered from scratch to be an electric vehicle using Volkswagen’s modular electric drive architecture known as MEB. The electric motor is at the rear of the vehicle. An 82-kilowatt-hour battery is in the underbody of the car to help give the ID.4 a low center of gravity. For now, the ID.4 comes only in a 201-hp, rear-wheel-drive configuration—with an EPA-estimated driving range of 250 miles on a full charge—but an all-wheel-drive model with 302 hp is coming this fall. We rented an ID.4 1st Edition from Volkswagen for this review.

ID.4 base pricing ranges from $39,995 to $48,175 (not including a $1,195 destination charge), before the $7,500 federal EV tax credit the car qualifies for. That price structure makes it ripe for competition with other relatively affordable EVs, such as the upcoming Chevrolet Bolt EUV, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Kona Electric, and Kia Niro EV, while significantly undercutting the Tesla Model Y.

More on EVs

If you’re a Consumer Reports member, our initial expert assessment of the ID.4 1st Edition we rented from Volkswagen is available to you below. We’ll purchase one for the CR auto test program as soon as the all-wheel-drive ID.4 goes on sale this fall. Then we’ll put it through more than 50 tests at the CR Auto Test Center, including those that evaluate acceleration, braking, fuel economy, handling, car-seat fit, and controls. CR members will get access to the full road-test results as soon as they’re available.

If you haven’t signed up yet, click below and become a member to access this full article and all our exclusive ratings and reviews for each vehicle we buy and test. Joining also gives you full access to exclusive ratings for the other products our experts evaluate in several categories, including electronics and home appliances.

Sign up for CR’s Cars email newsletter to be notified when we post our latest road-test results.

What we rented: 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 1st Edition
Powertrain: 201-hp electric motor; 1-speed direct-drive question; rear-wheel drive
MSRP: $43,995
Destination fee: $1,195
Total cost: $45,190

Become a member to read the full article and get access to digital ratings.

We investigate, research, and test so you can choose with confidence.