Publication date: 20 December 2020
Volkswagen ID.4

Volkswagen ID.4

A good ID?

Review - Volkswagen is developing a completely new generation of cars. Besides the familiar models with conventional technology, Volkswagen now offers electric cars under the name "ID". The ID.4 is Volkswagen's electric-powered SUV. Is the ID.4 just a feat of engineering? Does the ID.4 actually offer advantages over traditional models? In short: is the ID.4 a good ID?

Judging by its appearance, the ID.4 looks mainly like an engineering marvel. A traditional SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) has a blunt nose, a large bonnet and extra ground clearance. In contrast, the ID.4 has a streamlined body, a short bonnet and medium ground clearance. And that's because the ID.4 is much more than just another electric-powered SUV!

Volkswagen ID.4

An internal combustion engine takes up a lot of space, partly because it needs a lot of supporting technology. Oxygen has to be supplied and smoke removed. Besides kinetic energy, an internal combustion engine also produces heat, which is why a cooling system is needed. An internal combustion engine only performs optimally within a limited speed range, which is why a gearbox is needed. With an electric car, the situation is very different. The motor is barely bigger than a melon! The battery, on the other hand, is big and heavy. Under the bonnet of the ID.4 are only the power steering and air conditioning. The battery takes up almost the entire floor, which explains the ID.4's unique shape.

Tailoring the ID.4 to technology leaves a lot of interior space. Entry is easy and the seat is slightly higher than in a traditional hatchback. The space in the rear is generous. Even with large adults in the front, large adults in the back have several centimetres of head and legroom to spare. However, the deep seat in the back takes some getting used to. Luggage space is average for a car in this segment. Should that not be enough: the ID.4 has roof rails and may tow a trailer of up to 1,000 kg.

Volkswagen ID.4
Volkswagen ID.4

Space and equipment

Volkswagen has also rethought the interior to come up with really new solutions. With electric drive, for instance, a lot can be omitted. A gear lever, clutch pedal, indicator lights and ignition switch are all things of the past. The ID.4 has a dial for forward or reverse, a "play" and "pause" pedal on the floor and a simple (read: clear) display on the steering column. When getting in, the car automatically "turns on", when getting out it "turns off" again. It can be that simple!

Completely new is the "ID light". This is a light bar across the entire width of the windscreen that provides information with colours and patterns. While charging, green segments indicate how far the battery is charged. While driving, a blue animation indicates the direction of a turn.

Very advanced is the (optional) head-up display with "augmented reality". Again, this seems like a toy for techies, but in practice it is an extremely useful feature that serves both comfort and safety. A standard head-up display shows important information (i.e. speedometer) in the driver's field of vision. Volkswagen goes a step further by highlighting elements of the outside world! Behind a vehicle in front, a green, orange or red line shows whether the distance between them is safe. Instructions from the navigation system appear as life-size arrows that seem to hover in front of the car and get closer and closer as the turn to be taken approaches. In practice, this all works extremely pleasantly and the screens on the dashboard have become almost superfluous!

Volkswagen ID.4

Electric car

As the battery determines the price of an electric car, Volkswagen offers several options. The ID.4 is available with a 52 kWh battery, giving it a range of 340 km (WLTP). The test car has a 77 kWh battery on which it can officially cover 521 km. Under adverse weather conditions (cold, rainy), but with a calm driving style, it was 472 km.

Charging can be done at a public charge point (11 kW) or at a quick charger (125 kW). Charging at the socket at home is also possible, but the cable required for this is not supplied as standard.

Volkswagen ID.4

Because the ID.4 is aimed at the novice electric driver, there are no sophisticated systems to recover every last bit of energy while driving. The "gear lever" offers two options: "D" or "B", with the latter decellerating a little more when releasing the accelerator, thus recovering some energy. It is not possible to drive with a single pedal; something the experienced electric driver likes to do, but which beginners find difficult to get used to. However, there are eco, comfort and sport modes, so the character of the ID.4 could be influenced. The differences between these modes are minimal and therefore this feature offers hardly any added value.

The performance of the 204 PS / 310 Nm version driven here is more than adequate, but no more than that. The vicious and almost addictive eagerness with which some electric cars perform is lacking in the ID.4. However, the ID.4 does offer an agility that no fuel engine can match. Although the electric motor does its job inaudibly, above-average sounds of the driving wind are audible. The superior feeling that some electric cars give therefore remains absent. Nonetheless, the ID.4 is undeniably smarter and more modern than a conventional SUV.

Volkswagen ID.4


The ID.4 sits on a custom-made platform and therefore its centre of gravity is low and central. Moreover, the mechanics are optimally placed inside the car, so that the weight is evenly distributed between the front and rear wheels. Also, rear-wheel drive has been chosen. This ensures more grip and a better feeling in the steering wheel because driving forces do not disturb the feeling in the steering. Because the engine is at the rear, the front wheels can steer extra far, giving the ID.4 a turning circle comparable to that of a smaller car.

The handling of the ID.4 is therefore completely different from that of conventional SUVs. These require sophisticated (expensive!) suspension because of their high centre of gravity and rely on an electronic stability system for safety. Because of its high weight, the ID.4, like other SUVs, responds to driver commands with a certain inertia. And like other SUVs, the higher seat makes for a lesser sense of speed (the ID.3 is more dynamic and engages the driver more). The big difference is in stability. Where conventional SUVs toil to stay on the desired course because of their high centre of gravity, the ID.4 still has a lot of reserve left.

Volkswagen ID.4


Volkswagen introduces the ID.4: an electric-powered SUV. A characteristic of the ID.4 is that Volkswagen understands very well what (European) consumers want. Technology is never an end in itself, but serves to provide more space, more comfort and more safety. Despite the giant leap forward compared to a conventional SUV, driving the ID.4 is no revelation. Everything feels so logical and natural from the first encounter, that the real difference only becomes apparent when getting back into a conventional car later.

Moreover, thanks to a good balance between performance and range, the ID.4 is barely more expensive than a comparable internal combustion engine car, while the cost per kilometre (energy, depreciation, maintenance, tax) is much lower.

The question remains: is the ID.4 a good ID? More than that! Because the ID.4 was designed as an electric car and because Volkswagen has rethought about a lot of things, the ID.4 even offers advantages over other electric-powered SUVs. So the ID.4 is even excellent ID!

  • Extremely comfortable
  • Low cost per kilometre
  • Well-thought-out ergonomics
  • Uncomfortably deep backseat
  • No high-quality audio system available
  • Various glitches in software (beta, therefore update in the pipeline)