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BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Car Review

Volkswagen ID.4

£ N/A
810
Published: 20 May 2021
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Crossovers are family transit pods. And judged through that lens, the ID.4 is right on target

Good stuff

Space, lots of range for the price, refinement. Accelerator, steering and brakes are all precise

Bad stuff

Even so, unengaging to drive. Infuriating electronic controls

Overview

What is it?

Top Gear is a British thing but we make this site for the world. So here's some global perspective. Among all the VW Group electric family, projected to shift millions of units, the ID.4 will be the worldwide pinnacle seller. By mid 2022 it'll be flowing off the lines in two German factories, two in China and one in the US.

It'd better be good then.

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Sounds like a big deal. What's it based on?

To absolutely no-one's surprise, the ID.4 is the crossover sibling of the ID.3 hatch. What that means is a designed-for-electric platform. At its intro the ID.4 is rear-drive only, like the ID.3. Unlike the hatch though, VW confirms that higher-performance twin-motor versions will come.

Mind you the fact of rear-drive doesn't mean it's aiming at avid drivers. I trust you'll allow me to puncture the suspense: this is a family crossover and feels like it.

What's the range like?

We've tested a 1st Edition version, with a battery of 77kWh (net, ie useable portion). This gets you a 310-mile WLTP range out of a 204bhp motor. To demonstrate the draggy effects of its added bigness, that's 30 miles less than an ID.3 with the same pack and motor. But it's still very competitive for a roomy electric car at £38k including grant.

Other versions will follow very soon with a 52kWh battery, and lower-power motor.

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How big is it?

To give you an idea of size, think Tiguan outside but bigger inside. The wheelbase is actually the same as an ID.3, but sitting more upright means a sense of more legroom. Overall it's about 30cm longer than the ID.3, so the boot's a lot bigger. The cabin cleaves to the minimalist aesthetic of many EVs.

It adopts the all-touch interface of the ID.3. That feels a bit under-baked to us, but VW promises over-the-air software updates every two months.

What is the verdict?

Crossovers are family transit pods. And judged through that lens, the ID.4 is right on target

It's a matter of context. We found ourselves a bit disappointed by the ID.3. It was hyped as a reinvention of the Golf for the new age. But it doesn't quite satisfy its driver like a well-honed hatch should.

Whereas the ID.4 plays against crossovers, and no-one buys a crossover for the driving. Do they? Crossovers are family transit pods. And judged through that lens, the ID.4 is right on target.

It has a roomy cabin, loads of clever storage spaces, good electric range for the price, and a smooth, silent driving experience that demands nothing of you.

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