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Car Review

Volkswagen ID.7 review

£51,495 - £61,285
710
Published: 26 Jan 2024
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The ID.7 lacks a bit of style, but at least VW has nailed most of the basics this time

Good stuff

Quiet and comfortable cruiser, roomy and neat cabin, decent to drive, slider controls are finally backlit!

Bad stuff

Not very exciting to look at, infotainment update solves some issues but not all

Overview

What is it?

It’s Volkswagen’s all-electric hatch disguised as a saloon. It arrives several years after the first ID product – the ID.3 hatchback – was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2019. Certainly says something about the current state of car buying that the ID.4 and ID.5 crossovers were more of a priority for VW, doesn’t it?

Anyway, the ID.7 is still an important car, not least because it’s here to go up against a rising tide of EVs that aren't default-crossovers. Think Hyundai Ioniq 6 and Chinese entrant BYD's Seal. The Polestar 2 and BMW i4 and a little known underdog called the Tesla Model 3 will be on peoples' lists too and we like them muchly, each for different reasons – but note they're smaller.

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Why does it look so… bland?

There’s a lightbar across the front and some more LEDs at the rear, but the actual surfacing is pretty plain. Common to all the ID cars on sale so far, VW wanted a design theme that's different from its combustion cars'. But since then new bosses and new design bosses have arrived and they figured, er, why not make VWs look like VWs? So for the next stage in the family, they'll change strategy and make the small ID.2 look a recognisable evolution of a Polo.

Another big focus for the ID.7 is to make it as aerodynamic as possible. The drag coefficient is shaved down to an impressive 0.23Cd. And of course the frontal area is less than a taller SUV, so total drag is even more impressive.

To jolly them up a bit, all ID.7s will get a contrast black roof and aluminium-style strips across the frames. Wheel designs are snazzy too, and come in 19- and 20-inch sizes. They don't look that big, which just indicates what a whale this is: just under five metres long. And that helps cabin room.

Anyway, if you want more distinctive looks in your streamliner, there's always the Ioniq 6.

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What are the specs?

Like with all of VW’s other ID products, the 7 is built on the group’s MEB platform. The headline figure is 435 miles of range on a single charge. Impressive, but that’s only achieved on the Pro S battery, which is 86kWh (useable). That won’t arrive until mid-2024. A twin-motor GTX, with the 77kWh battery, is due about the same time.

At the start we’ll get the Pro battery, 77kWh, which still manages a very decent WLTP range of 384 miles, if you have the smaller wheels.

Efficiency is helped by VW's new inverter and APP550 electric motor. It remains a permanent-magnet type, by the way, but it's redesigned. That single motor drives the rear wheels with 282bhp and 402lb ft of torque no matter which battery size you select.

Look at the size of that screen inside!

It’s a beast, isn’t it? This is actually the next generation of VW’s previously dreadful infotainment system, and the good news is they seem to have actually listened to the criticism. It's more responsive, and more customisable so you can do the things you frequently do with fewer jabs.

Crucially the touch-sensitive slider things underneath are now illuminated so that you can actually see them at night. Hurrah! But other silliness remains, especially the daft window switches. And new silliness: motorised vents. When did you want motors to aim your vents?

Elsewhere there’s another small screen in front of the driver and an augmented reality head-up display that’s standard fit. There are also fancy new seats, loads of space, the option of a panoramic roof and plenty of tech. Click through to the Interior tab of this review to read our thoughts.

And how does it drive?

Very neatly. It's not brutal-quick like the twin-motor rivals but it's no slug. Through bends it’s definitely more engaging and feels lighter than the doughy ID.4, and other same-size crossovers. It's well-damped on British B-roads too. Yet it also rides pretty smoothly, and tracks well on a motorway. It's notably quiet and really chews through the miles.

How much will I have to pay for one?

First announced in 2023 was a special 'Pro Launch Edition', at £55,570. But before it even hit the UK streets in early 2024, VW launched a Match version - with just as much kit - for £51,550. Clearly the EV landscape is competitive.

We’re not sure how much the jump will be to the bigger-batteried Pro S, and we also don’t know how much the ID.7 Tourer will be when that arrives next year. We're keen to know because we rather hanker after a big EV estate.

Our choice from the range

What's the verdict?

In many ways the ID.7 has absolutely nailed the brief. The space, comfort, range and efficiency are impressive

It’s practical and remarkably quiet and comfortable too, but while power is sent to the rear wheels there isn’t much sportiness.

Price is a bit of an issue too. It's roomy yes – more so than all the obvious rivals. But Tesla,  BYD and Hyundai give you AWD for this money. And if you don't mind losing a bit of battery capacity and rear space, there's even the driver's choice BMW i4.

Yet in many ways the ID.7 has absolutely nailed the brief. The space, comfort, range and efficiency are impressive, even in the smaller-battery Pro version that’ll hit European roads first.

Perhaps most of all, it's easier to use and less of an oddball than the earlier ID models. VWs should be friendly. This is.

The Rivals

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