Is VW’s new electric car right for your family? We find out…
Futuristically designed inside and out, the ID.4 is Volkswagen’s first 100% electric SUV.
Winner of the prestigious World Car of the Year 2021 award, this distinctive family-sized EV features a small driver’s digital instrument cluster and a larger infotainment screen mounted on the centre console (just like its smaller sibling, the ID.3 hatchback).
Priced from £34,995 and available with two sizes of battery (52kW and 77kW), it has a range of between 211-317 miles and achieved a maximum five-star Euro NCAP score, making it one of the safest new cars on the road.
Fitted with Isofix points in the front passenger seat, as well as the rear, standard safety and driver assistance systems include AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking), lane assist, adaptive cruise control and driver fatigue detection.
It also features a centre-mounted airbag which protects the driver and front passenger from hard mutual contact in the event of a side crash.
In terms of size, the ID.4 is about the same size as a Tiguan, but bigger inside, so it’s substantial with plenty of room for the family.
There’s also lots of space for luggage – 543 litres with the rear seats in place, expanding to 1,575 litres with all the back seats flipped.
We tested the ID.4 with the biggest battery and the longest range (starting at around £46,000). It’s mid-range and is billed as the ‘Family’ version. There’s also the entry-level Life, followed by Style, (Family), Max, GTX and GTX Max.
Despite feeling big on the road and weighing more than two tonnes, it’s swift with a 0-62mph sprint time of 8.5 seconds. And, as ever with an electric vehicle (EV), there’s instant oomph and zero emissions.
It’s also easy to drive with a commanding view of the road. The interior design is cool, comfortable, well put together and minimalist, though the infotainment screen won’t appeal to everyone because it’s all about tapping and swiping – and it’s not the most responsive system out there.
It would be an exaggeration to call this version of the ID.4 fun to drive, but all EVs have their moments (especially at traffic lights and overtaking) and it’s a joy to cruise along silently.
Our test car was not all-wheel drive, but still seemed to have plenty of traction and grip. Composed, unless really pushed in more challenging corners, it’s more agile than you might think for a big car.
However, if you want all-wheel drive and more tuned driving dynamics, then you’ll have to opt for one of the more sporty range-stoppers.
As far as practicality goes, if you have a home wallpod, it will fully charge overnight (11 hours). If you can find a 125kW rapid charger, it will take just 38 minutes to reach 80% full charge, while a real-world range of 250 miles is very realistic.
Of course, the ID.4 will also charge on the move via regenerative braking (which returns most of the energy from braking and coasting back into the battery while you’re driving).
Electric SUV rivals include the Hyundai Kona Electric, Kia e-Niro, Audi Q4 e-tron, Volvo XC40 Recharge, Skoda Enyaq and Ford Mustang Mach-e.
Verdict: If you’re looking for a big SUV that’s kind to the planet, stands out from the crowd and boasts serious badge appeal, then the practical Volkswagen ID.4 could be right up your street. In short, it’s the kind of sensible car you buy with your head, not your heart. Price: from £34,995 – £56,380 (including the Government Plug-in Car Grant)