Ford Mustang Mach-E vs. VW ID4 vs. Volvo XC40 Recharge
The next morning we get out of Barnstaple early, a handy reminder of the VW’s impressive turning radius and Volvo and Ford’s smooth and efficient one-pedal drive modes. Even with a BMW-i3’s pinched rotary gearshift lever twisted into Brake mode, the more conservative VW never gives you enough slowing force when you take off. So you have to use the brakes. And the ID.4’s brakes are spongy and inconsistent underfoot. A closer inspection reveals drum brakes at the rear. It’s a premium car in 2021. What is VW playing?
The rest of the driving experience is also disappointing. He did the long haul really well yesterday, but beyond that the experience is bland and tasteless, he just does a job. And doesn’t do it particularly well. I don’t expect much satisfaction, but I do expect a smooth, consistent, and precise response to inputs. But the ID.4 doesn’t seem alert enough, so it’s hard to predict the inputs you need on the steering, brakes, and throttle. It lacks a bit of coordination. And that’s just the business of ordinary driving, entirely separate from the fact that the VW is a pudding on the good roads of Exmoor with limited body control and zero steering feel.
However, you wouldn’t want a slower ID.4. With 204 horsepower and 2,124 kg, he’s capable of doing the right thing. Entry-level versions expected later with a smaller battery from 52 kWh to 146 hp. By reversing that, you wouldn’t want a faster XC40 either. The sister car of the two-engined Polestar 2, it has 402 hp for a sub-5.0secs 0–62 mph. I drove it like you do a Volvo, and I was encouraged by its ability. Still, the first time I nailed it was surprising. It’s much faster than either of its competition. Easily, he can cope with the power. It’s controllable and predictable with well-judged damping, feels safe on the road thanks to precise steering. No real downside, gets the job done, manages gradually, should probably be 150bhp less.