ID4 Family Pro Performance
Final thoughts on life with a VW ID.4
"It gets us from A to B." When this is all someone can say of their car, they shrug apologetically. Yet any vehicle's first and fundamental calling is to bring its human and material cargo to the destination reliably and safely.
Over the course of its 6,500 miles with us, the ID.4 cleared this bar, and that's not something we can always say of the cars we run. It never failed to proceed nor ran out of charge, it had plenty of room for all we wanted to carry.
It's actually quite a desirable object when standing still. I don't find it pretty but you might. The bulky chiselled body certainly has what you might call presence, especially in the test car's blue-silver-black stratified paint outfit. Inside, the upholstery is de luxe, and the minimal design of the screen systems looks progressively minimalist. Familiarity didn't change those opinions.
But as I grew to know them better, I got more, not less, infuriated with the screens and control system. I've banged on about that before, so I'll zip it for this report.
Anyway, "It gets me from A to B" isn't what Top Gear is about. We want cars to engage and entrance us. Here too the ID.4 has fallen short. It's dreary and numb to steer. It's accurate enough, but you can go at a corner with the tyres squealing and the wheel rim tells you nothing. Seat-of-pants sensations of tyres varying their load, or potential playfulness of its RWD, are also denied you. It's two tonnes, and feels it when you're switchbacking or s-bending.
There is good stuff. Drive it the right way and the range is fine. I was consistently getting a decent 3.3m/kWh and 250 miles from a battery. Which is enough for almost any purpose. In most parts of England you won't average more than 45mph, so that's five and a half hours' driving.
That's an actual range figure of course, not range as predicted by the optimistic guess-o-meter. I charged it just now and it says 278 miles to go. To hit that it'd need to be driven at a steady 45mph from the top of an extremely high mountain with the climate control turned off while sitting under the tail of an artic.
So you can forget the 317-mile WLTP except as a basis for my rule of thumb: with any EV you will actually get two-thirds WLTP at a steady illegal outside lane speed (try doing that for 210 miles) and three-quarters WLTP otherwise.
I seldom bothered with shifting the selector from D to B. But the adaptive regeneration, which draws you back when the car in front slows or the nav knows you're approaching a junction or bend, went during the six months from feeling eerie to feeling really quite natural.
Anyway, apart from its screen and button system, the ID.4 does what it's supposed to. If it had been six months in a petrol equivalent, a Tiguan or RAV4 or Sportage, I'm sure I'd have emerged feeling the same general ennui. I'm not a numb-crossover kinda guy. But in this I'm pretty unusual. Just look at most of the new cars sold today. Numb crossovers are what folk want.
An alliterative TL:DR then. Roomy, reliable, relaxed, refined, rangey. Just not, for me, relatable.