Driving test: Volkswagen ID.4 1st edition
My wife recently bought a Volkswagen ID.4, it was the floor model and had six miles on the odometer. It’s all electric, looks futuristic, and sounds like a spaceship as it rolls by.
After some apprehension (I didn’t want to be behind the wheel when the car got its first thing) I took it for an extended day in Phoenix and it was a pretty awesome experience. Here are my first thoughts and perspectives:
I’m new to electric vehicles and have only had one experience with one. A few months ago my Lyft ride was a Tesla and I found the experience that opened my eyes. The ride was smoother than almost any car I’ve driven, and it had a very “Jetsons” feel to it. All in all, I was very impressed.
I haven’t ridden my wife’s ID.4 until last weekend, but I’ve ridden shotgun a lot and find it very enjoyable. It has comfortable massage seats, the air conditioning is strong for the high temperatures in Phoenix in June and has a panoramic sunroof if it suits you. VW did a good job adding solid features on top of that MEB platform.
I like the size and layout of the 10-inch touchscreen display, it’s not too big or flashy like a Tesla and blends in perfectly to keep the dashboard’s smooth shape. My only complaint about the infotainment and so on is that I am not overly tech savvy and have had some issues with air conditioning or using Spotify. This is probably up to me, as opposed to VW, Apple Car Play, or Android Auto.
- Driving range: 250 miles on a full charge
- 82 kWh battery
- 201 hp and 228 ft / lbs of torque
- Rear engine, rear wheel drive
- Cargo space: 64.2 cubic feet
My first ride
It’s a bit unsettling driving a car when you never turn a key or press a start button. For the ID.4, when you have the key fob in the car and sit in the driver’s seat, the car turns on. The pillar-mounted gearshift looks similar to its gas-powered brethren, but you twist the knob back and forth to put the gear into gear. To park, press a button at the end of the button.
I didn’t know what to expect on the road, but in simple terms it drives like a very smooth mid-range SUV, which is ultimately the ID.4. The throttle response was good, but the lack of speed when accelerating took some getting used to. You won’t realize you’re accelerating until gravity lets you know by pushing you into the seat.
The ID.4 is not a performance car, but it can slide a bit and merging on the highway is no adventure. VW didn’t publish an official 0-60 mph time, but I would put it in the 7.0 second range.
The drive is smooth on the less-than-well-developed roads and the lane assistant provides just the right nudge when I’ve been a little distracted.
I found the car spacious enough for our family of three. My son had plenty of legroom in the back, he is 12 years old and 1.65 m tall, and leg and headroom are not a problem in the front. I have to make one caveat that I’m not particularly tall, my medical records show that I’m 5 “8.5” tall with no shows. Which makes me half an inch shorter than NBA Hall of Fame, Calvin Murphy.
Overall, I enjoy driving the ID.4. and it felt like a normal car. I had some preconceived notions that it would drive differently, but it didn’t. It exceeded my expectations.
Electric cars are the future. This won’t happen overnight, but in my lifetime they will be the predominant vehicle on the road. At this point, the ID.4 is ideal for city driving and with a regular wall outlet it can take some time to fully charge, around 12 hours from my casual observation.
The 250 mile range is legitimate for most of our driving needs and the charging time is good. For a longer trip, you will need a gasoline vehicle due to the lack of charging station infrastructure and the total time it can take to recharge.
Progress takes time. Phoenix is the fifth largest city in the US and there are no problems finding a charging station, for example our local Ikea has a lot but I rarely see them in smaller towns or rural areas. As EV sales continue to grow, charging stations will follow and technology will improve for greater range and faster charging.
You have to evolve or you will end up like the dinosaurs. Electric vehicles like the ID.4 are the next evolutionary step in the automotive industry.