Volkswagen's all-electric ID.4 now much easier to customise...
RECENTLY named World Car of The Year 2021 and currently Europe's best-selling all electric vehicle, Volkwagen's electric Sports Utility Vehicle the ID.4 hit dealerships earlier this year in the wake of its successful baby sister, the ID.3 – the Wolfsburg company's so-called 'electric people's car'.
Both vehicles are aimed squarely at drivers looking to do their bit for the planet from behind the wheel of something bearing the status-imbuing VW logo, and Volkswagen now seem increasingly keen to ensure their all-electric offerings are as user-configurable as possible.
At launch, the ID.4's trim levels came with pre-determined equipment spec, with only colours and wheels being customisable when ordering. However, as of last month, ID.4 buyers can now choose their preferred trim level and then augment it with as many option packs as their wallets/financing will stretch to.
There are also now three different motor options available throughout most of the range; Pure (146bhp/162lb ft torque), Pure Performance (168bhp / 229ft lb torque) and Pro Performance (201bhp / 229lb ft torque). The latter comes equipped with a larger 77kWh battery which VW claim will give you a top range of 322 miles in the car's entry-level Life trim compared to 213 miles with the standard Pure and Pure Performance-spec 55kWh unit.
Those with a dedicated VW Wallbox at home (and, let's face it, you will need one to enjoy driving an ID.4 in Northern Ireland) can expect to do a full re-charge in just over 12 hours; paupers slumming it with a standard three-pin charging cable (which you have to pay £180 extra for) will need to plan around a whopping 40-hour full re-charge.
Drivers who opt for the Pro Performance battery and who manage to find a 125kWh rated on-street charging point will be able to do an 80 per cent on-the-go charge in around 35mins.
The full model range in ascending order of aspiration runs: Life, Style, Family, Max, GTX and GTX Max. Option packs are grouped under explanatory headings: Infotainment, Comfort, Design, Assistance, Sports and Interior Style, with each available in enhanced 'Plus' form featuring upgraded equipment.
For example, for an extra £2,200, the Infotainment Plus pack adds an Augmented Reality head-up display and larger Discover Max 12-inch infotainment system with navigation (standard version has a 10-inch screen) to the basic pack's 6-way DAB-enabled audio system, Apple Carplay/Android Auto wireless app connectivity and wireless mobile phone charging.
As for the aforementioned GTX trim – Volkswagen's EV-specific variant of its iconic GTI badge of 'hotness' – it's the one for anyone who's currently considering an ID.4 as their family's primary mode of transport while feeling the need to pretend that they are still vaguely young, hip and with it (as I believe 'the kids' are saying these days).
The ID.4 GTX is VW's first attempt to actually add a little 'Sports' pep to its ESUV, adding sportier exterior/interior styling and, most importantly, a new GTX 77kWh battery-powered dual-motor, all-wheel-drive set-up – non-GTX ID.4s are powered by a single rear-wheel-drive electric power plant – producing legitimately 'hot' performance figures of 295bhp and 228.6 lb ft torque, with a respectable 0-62mph time of 6.2 secs, though its decidedly tepid top speed of 112mph (an extra 13mph over the standard models) isn't going to help anyone win at Top Trumps.
The GTX will set you back £48,510, though opt for all-singing, all-dancing GTX Max at £55,540 and you automatically get all the Plus level option packs included, just so you can really stick it to your neighbours in the driveway wars
There's also the well-specced 'while stocks last' launch model called the 1st Edition to consider, which is priced at £40,800 and comes with the larger 77kWh Pro Performance battery as standard, plus a unique combo of attractive interior/exterior styling options including larger 20-inch Drammen wheels.
Crucially, and most relevant to most readers, VW have now made a couple of tweaks to the lower end of the ID.4 range which mean it's now actually possible to buy one that's eligible for the government's £2,500 plug-in car grant for EVs priced under £35k.
Life-badged models start at £32,150 inclusive of the grant and are pretty well equipped as standard with the basic Infotainment, Comfort, Assistance and Interior style packs – though you'll still probably want to stump up an extra few hundred quid on top of that for basic accessories like floor mats, mud flaps and that all-important home charging cable (the latter alone will set you back £180).
ID.4 buyers can now choose their preferred trim level and then augment it with as many option packs as their wallets/financing will stretch to.
"But what's it like to drive?", I hear you clamour. Well, I honestly don't know, as we were unable to secure a demo model prior to deadline – a sign of this model's incredible popularity, perhaps.
However, from scouring the considerable amount of press coverage the ID.4 has already received, the general consensus seems to be that it's "pretty, pretty good".
Test-pilots tend to mention its pleasant, airy cabin space, comfy driving position and supple, well balanced suspension, the comfortable ride aided by the car's low-slung battery pack-weighted centre of gravity which offers much more stable handling than your typically top-heavy petrol/diesel-powered small SUV.
This works well on the open road, while a tiny turning circle of 10m makes the ID.4 highly manoeuvrable in the kind of supermarket/garden centre/airport carpark environments these family-unit luggers tend to spend a lot of time negotiating.
Like the ID.3, the ID.4 benefits from being a 'ground-up' EV design built on VW's new modular electric drive matrix, rather than an electrified adaptation of an existing combustion engined model (like the Golf E, for example). As a result, its totally flat floorpan offers loads of interior leg room for occupants front and rear. There's also plenty of room in the boot with a generous 1,655 litres of luggage space on offer when the rear seats are folded down.
Negatives include slightly 'cheap' feeling interior plastics, especially when compared to the superior fabric-swathed finish of its direct VW-group produced competitor, the Skoda Enyaq, an occasionally glitchy Hello.ID infotainment voice interface where voice commands can be hit-and-miss, and some drivers reported that the touch-sensitive steering wheel buttons and climate controls can be quite fiddly/annoying to use.
Looks wise, the ID.4 is certainly one of the less completely hideous SUV options on the market, though it can't compete with the pleasingly retro/futuristic car-like lines of its much more attractive rival, Hyundi's Ioniq 5: squint while holding your breath and that one almost starts to look like a Lancia Delta Integrale.
Weighing in at over two tonnes, the ID.4 is also a pretty bulky beast, which doesn't exactly help its environmental credentials, but then that's a problem common to the on-going 'bigger is better' SUV mass delusion that is destroying the automobile world – my views on which are probably best saved for a by-lined opinion column/rant in SUV Hater monthly.
Have a play around with Volkswagen's nifty car configurator at Volkswagen.co.uk/configurator.html and then contact Donnelly Volkswagen to book yourself a test-drive to discover why the ID.4 has been such a hit.
These equipment features are standard across the entire ID.4 range and many can be further enhanced/upgraded via option packs…
- 'Air Care Climatronic' 2-Zone air conditioning system
- Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) including Front Assist
- City Emergency Braking system and speed limiter
- Ambient lighting with 30 colour options
- Discover Navigation Pro capacitive touch-screen navigation
- Infotainment system with 10-inch display
- Heated front seats
- Heated windscreen washer jets
- Hello.ID voice assistant
- Leather-trimmed, heated multifunction steering wheel
- LED headlights & rear lights
- 'Pause & Play' pedals
- Rain sensor and rear window wiper
- Tyre pressure loss indicator
- 2x USB-C ports in front