- 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 ($39,995-$43,995)
- Awards: World Car of the Year 2021
- Pros: Comfortable ride, quick acceleration, and a minimalist interior
- Cons: Confusing tech features, laggy infotainment system, cumbersome charging network
If you’re looking at buying a brand-new car, chances are you’re debating between buying electric or internal combustion. On the electrified front, most of the affordable options available are electric crossovers, such as the Volkswagen I’ve been living with over the last week or so. As the segment grows, automakers attempt to lure buyers with clever tech features and huge incentives. However, there are greater reasons why you may want to electrify your daily driver.
The exact crossover I’ve been testing is the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 First Edition, which is currently the most expensive version of this model you can currently buy. As you’ll see, this model’s greatest strengths and weaknesses lay within its tech features. Additionally, we’ll go into what it’s like living with an ID.4 in a crowded city such as Miami without a charger at home.
How large is the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4?
One of the first things you’ll notice about the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 is that it looks quite odd. I mean odd as in unusual, not ugly by any means. This is because it isn’t exactly a crossover. Thanks to its low ride height, long roof, and rear hatch, the ID.4 looks more like a blend between a hatchback and a station wagon rather than a traditional crossover. As you’d expect, this form factor is intentional to maximize aerodynamics and efficiency. In terms of dimensions, we’re looking at 181 in long, 73 in wide, and 64 in tall.
From a look’s perspective, the ID.4 is unmistakable a Volkswagen. However, it benefits from large LED lights in its front and rear ends to give it a futuristic look. One of the main benefits of an electric vehicle is that you don’t need traditional design elements to provide cooling. Instead, we can get designs that are more original and concept-car-like.
My personal favorite angle is the rear three quarters, where you get a clear look at the small spoiler at the top of the hatch, the large horizontal rear LED, and the contrast between the blue bodywork, black roof, and silver trim. Overall, these subtle elements help the ID.4 stand out in a sea of relatively bland crossovers.
Is the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 comfortable?
For the most part, I’m not a huge fan of the seats you find in most new Volkswagen products, aside from the GTI. However, the ones in the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 are quite adjustable and comfortable. Aside from offering two memory settings, you can even get a massage as you drive along.
As you can likely tell from the photos, the ID.4’s interior embraces a minimalist aesthetic, deleting unnecessary buttons and switches. Even the digital instrument cluster is mounted directly onto the steering column, moving entirely as a single piece. While you are left with a tiny screen in front of you as you drive, it’s always placed directly in front of you, which is nice.
While I can certainly appreciate a minimalist approach, you’re left with capacitive buttons as well as the main 10-inch infotainment screen. Unfortunately, the capacitive buttons aren’t always quick to respond, sometimes requiring multiple presses to get into the menu you’re looking for. The same goes for the steering wheel controls that don’t always register when you’re going to raise the volume or skip a track. The infotainment screen isn’t much better, given that it lags while moving between screens and while connecting to your phone.
Despite these shortcomings, the ID.4’s interior seems well put together, like a longstanding mass-market product, rather than an entirely brand-new model.
The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 is filled with unique tech
If you’re looking for the latest tech, the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 has plenty on offer. For starters, as you walk up to your ID.4 with your key in your pocket, it’ll automatically turn on the lights, unlock, and unfold its mirrors. Once you step inside and put your foot on the brake, the ID.4 automatically springs into life, ready to drive. While this might seem like a small detail, I’ve gotten quite used to not needing to press a start button despite utilizing this system for a short amount of time.
As you might imagine, the same is true when you park and go to get out of the ID.4. Once the ID.4 is stationary and you go to open the door, it automatically shuts off. A single tap of the door handle locks it, and you’re ready to go. Aside from leaving your keys in your pocket, you can also leave your phone there as well. That’s because you get wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
Above all else, these systems change how you interact with your vehicle, making your life considerably easier. The best part is that they work well consistently.
The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 prioritizes comfort over performance
Despite its angular and sleek design, the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 isn’t a sporty drive, something I’m happy about. In terms of weight, this crossover’s battery pack means it has a curb weight of 4,665 lb. However, you have to keep in mind that most of that weight is positioned down low underneath the floor, giving the ID.4 a low center of gravity. While this certainly hurts the ID.4’s performance, it means that it’s quite comfortable on the road. At higher speeds, the ID.4 remains stable, composed, and manageable.
Since there is no engine humming along, road noise was a real concern during this model’s development. However, Volkswagen has gone to great lengths to quiet things down. Thankfully, these efforts have paid off, and the ID.4 suffers from little to no road or wind noise, creating a delightful driving experience. As far as city cars go, the ID.4 is quite difficult to beat.
Is the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 fast?
If you’re looking for an EV that will match sports cars, the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 isn’t it. However, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t quick, enjoyable, and extremely useful. For starters, we’ve got a 77.0 kWh battery back and a single electric motor mounted on the rear axle. This gets us 201 hp and 229 lb-ft, or similar stats to what you’d expect to get from a GTI. Like most EVs, the ID.4 features a one-speed transmission. In terms of range, we’re looking at an estimate of 250 miles.
While the ID.4 boasts a 0-60 time in the seven-second range, this doesn’t tell the whole story. Because its torque comes on instantly, the ID.4 feels much faster than its stats would suggest. In heavy traffic scenarios, the instant torque means you can squeeze into tight spots and get up to speed quickly when gaps open up. I found myself driving the ID.4 much faster and harder than an internal combustion alternative, largely because it was so easy.
While the ID.4 loses steam once you get into the higher speeds, it’ll confidently pull well into speeds that could land you in jail. After driving it for a week in a crowded city like Miami, I’m not looking forward to going back to internal combustion.
How much does it cost to charge a 2021 Volkswagen ID.4?
For the sake of science, I did my best to completely deplete the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 of its charge to see how difficult it would be to fill up without a charger at home. When you buy an ID.4, Volkswagen throws in three years of free charging at any of its Electrify America stations. This includes free, fast charging as well. To test this, I decided to take my depleted ID.4 to one to find out how easy they are to use.
For starters, I had to sign into the EA app to chose the charger and begin my charging session. While this seems easy in theory, the app was extremely laggy and didn’t seem to communicate well with the charger. After moving to another charger, I experienced much of the same. At this point, I decided to swipe my credit card to initiate charging. However, I had to plug in several times before the charger began flowing.
Once things got moving, however, it was smooth sailing, I went to grab a snack, and by the 40-minute mark, I was had well over 80 percent of charge. As a result, if you manage to figure out the bugs, you can charge quickly and for free.
Does the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 offer up standard safety tech?
As far as standard safety features go, the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 offers up plenty. Since there are only two trim levels currently available, you don’t have to pay up for safety. These include automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and a driver-assist system.
Is the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 ready for daily driver duty?
As you might imagine, the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 is one of many new electrified products scheduled to hit the U.S. market over the next few years. As it stands, there are notable bugs that will likely need to improve before the ID.4 is ready to dominate the EV segment, such as its capacitive buttons and infotainment system. However, the ID.4 makes great strides by offering ample space, innovative convenience systems, and excellent performance on tap.
As I see it, there are too many incentives to write off the ID.4. Keep in mind that it still qualifies for a $7,500 federal tax credit along with the three years of free charging. With 250 miles of electric range on offer, the ID.4 is more than ready to tackle your daily commute.
MotorBiscuit gives the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 an expert rating of 7.8 out of 10
The MotorBiscuit editors rated the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 a 7.8 out of 10. The ID.4 received high marks for its futuristic look, an array of tech-savvy features, and safety tech. We also like its comfortable ride, spacious interior, and instantaneous torque off the line. There’s no doubt that Volkswagen is playing its part in creating an eco-friendly future.