Volkswagen ID.4 Interior Layout & Technology | Top Gear
BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Car Review

Volkswagen ID.4

£ 34,595 - £ 55,485
Published: 06 Oct 2021


What is it like on the inside?

One interesting and seldom-noted thing about switches. If they have nice clicky actions, silky surfaces and brushed-aluminium surrounds, they make you feel like you're in an expensive well-crafted car. The ID.4 doesn't do switches. Not even a handbrake. It comes on automatically when you stop, provided you've activated it on a screen menu.

Instead of switches, all your interactions and impressions of the car depend on the screen and capacitive touchpoints. At the screen's base are inconsistent and untactile volume and temperature sliders. 'Why aren't these illuminated?' we asked VW's head of engineering. 'Because we didn't think of that until too late,' he said. Indeed, the whole setup acts rather beta.

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You often activate those sliders while your thumb is looking for a rest as your fingers try to do other things. So instead I always aim to grip the top bezel of the screen with a spare finger, and that's a nasty, sharp-edged, cheap, bendy moulding.

The steering-wheel touchpads are too easy to accidentally brush while you're, y'know, steering. But again haphazard in response when you do want to use them.

But hey, the actual screen graphics are nice and the resolution is high. A group of four little pads act as shortcuts to oft-used menus. But those vaunted OTA software updates can't come too soon: we want a nav map that doesn't autozoom please. VW says the 'Hello ID' voice assistant makes up for the screen's foibles. VW is wrong. And this cabin needs a major rethink.

And we want to have battery percentage front and centre, not buried three menus deep in the charge-timer screen. The prominent range-to-go readout isn't much use: it's calibrated according to how you've been driving and the sort of roads you've been on. It doesn't know how you will be driving. Only you know that, and with a battery percentage display you can make accurate estimation of real range remaining. Without, you can't.

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Apart from that Mrs Lincoln, how did you enjoy the show?

Quite a lot. The minimal aesthetic in the furniture is enhanced by tasteful cloth, leather and plastics, and ambient light. There's heaps of room, even for three abreast in the back because of the flat floor. Console storage is vast, and there are loads of different pockets for phones and other chattels, plus USBs in plenitude. The boot's big. A strip of LEDs below the windscreen sweeps left or right as you come up to a junction, so the driver needn't have the satnav voice instructions interrupting everyone's music.

That was just one positive paragraph, but trust us when we say this is an excellent cabin for everyone in a family crossover who isn't the driver.

Mind you it'd be good to have a storage space for cables under the front bonnet. Under the boot floor doesn't make much sense – you need to empty the boot to get the cable out.

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