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Interior

What is it like on the inside?

Here’s the first thing to know: 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, 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. The steering wheel touchpads are also too easy to accidentally brush while you're, y'know, steering. But again haphazard in response when you do want to use them.

Oops. Anything positive to say?

The actual screen (a 10-inch unit is standard on lesser ID.4s, while the GTX gets a larger 12-inch unit) 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 on the small screen behind the steering wheel 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.

Apart from that Mrs Lincoln, 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. 

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The boot's big at 543 litres, trumping most rivals, but it'd have been 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.

Anything else to note?

You get VW’s ‘ID’ light, a strip of LEDs below the windscreen that sweep left or right as you come up to a junction in accordance with the satnav (shame it doesn’t work with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, mind). Each software update has also introduced new functionality, such as pulsing when you’re coming up to a junction. It’s a pretty neat feature.

All in, this is an excellent cabin for everyone in a family crossover who isn't the driver.

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