The 2021 ID.4 is the first U.S.-bound Volkswagen built from the ground up as an electric vehicle. Note the key “ground up” part. Volkswagen’s first U.S. market EV — the e-Golf — was a Golf hatchback with an electric motor and batteries instead of a gas powertrain. VW sold it from 2015 to 2019. VW says the ID.4 is optimized from the get-go for the best range, efficiency and interior space possible.
That’s not to say the ID.4 is short on EV quirkiness. The exterior design is clean and focused on slippery aerodynamics, with a low, two-tiered nose and prominent lower fascia designed to channel air around to the sides. In back, a full-width LED light bar ties the taillights together and mimics the shape of the headlights – look from front to back and the symmetry of the styling is hard to ignore.
The ID.4 cockpit is light on physical buttons or knobs. In fact, the only knob in the cabin is the drive selector that protrudes off the instrument panel, seemingly borrowed from BMW’s electric i3 hatchback. There are pads with touch-sensitive simulated buttons throughout, which provide haptic feedback when pressed. If the idea of hunting around to press the right section of a touchpad seems too distracting, drivers can rely instead on natural voice controls. The ID.4 will be one of the only non-luxury cars with a voice recognition system that doesn’t require a rigid command structure.
Though a pretty compact vehicle overall, the ID.4 has a pleasing amount of space inside. Part of this is due to the versatile driver’s seat. The First Edition model’s seat is highly adjustable and even features a massage function using the lumbar support. The digital instrument panel moves with the steering wheel, so the information displayed is easily viewable no matter the wheel position.
While all-wheel drive models will eventually be a part of the ID.4 lineup, the single-motor rear-wheel drive models will be the first to launch. The rear-mounted motor makes 201 horsepower but the dual-motor all-wheel drive model will make a stout 302. Regenerative braking helps recapture energy when slowing the vehicle, and the ID.4 is capable of towing up to 2700 pounds. We haven’t had the chance to test the ID.4 at our test track but when we do we will update this story with more information on its performance.
|ON SALE||Reservations open; deliveries in early 2021|
|ENGINE||Rear-mounted electric motor/201 hp, 228 lb-ft|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-passenger, rear-motor, RWD crossover SUV|
|RANGE||250 mi (est)|
|L x W x H||180.5 x 72.9 x 64.4 in|
|0-60 MPH||7.0 sec (est. )|