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