ID4 Family Pro Performance
Life with a Volkswagen ID.4: problems with the software
VW continues to cover itself in disgrace with shoddy software and connectivity.
Actually things started well with the ID.4: it was easy to connect the car to its remote phone app, called WeConnect ID. It let the phone scan the VIN tag, and then linked to me via a barcode displayed on the car's touchscreen. I didn't have to make long calls to the dealer, as I had to with several previous connected cars – Mini, BMW, Jaguar, Cupra.
So I can remotely see the ID.4's state of charge, and indeed start and stop charging remotely to get access to best-price electricity.
But the app can't check if it's locked or the windows are open, which you've been able to do for years with other cars, including that petrol Cupra from the VW Group.
It's also super-cumbersome to send a destination remotely to the car. Last time, I had been driving for a quarter of an hour before the destination, which I'd sent from home the previous day, actually popped up in the car's satnav.
Also, if you accidentally log out it asks you for your WeConnect password to get back in. But the phone's password manager won't have saved it under WeConnect. It's actually your password for identity.VWgroup.io. So you probably can't find it.
Anyway I went to the website (called MyVolkswagen, not WeConnect) to get updated maps. You can download them, but not direct to the car. Instead you have to download a .tar file to your computer, extract it and put that onto a USB, and physically take it to the car. How quaint. But it warns you that this needs a PC and I don't have one of those, only a Mac, so I'll have to drive with last year's maps. Or just use Apple CarPlay, which actually works.
I've never used the VW navigation out of preference. I'm just driven to it by a sense of duty and road-tester's diligence. It's teeth-grindingly slow, inflexible and graphically naive.
Oh and to find charge stations you have to click away from the nav screen to a separate charge-finder app. Meanwhile the main navigation route summary tells you about every petrol station you'll be passing. Not very apposite. No doubt it can find stabling for my horse too.
Anyway, VW boasts of over-the-air updates for the car's main system software. The latest will apparently give me better range, faster charging, improved driver assistance, a quicker-acting infotainment screen, clearer menus, a more comprehensive instrument display. And doubtless a thicker, fuller head of hair.
But cars in the UK can't yet get the update even though it was announced in Germany in March. Actually cars this age have to go to a dealer and get a new 12V battery first. Possibly because the OTA update takes eight hours, during which you can't actually drive the car.