I drove the VW ID.4 for a week – that’s how it went [sponsored]
Volkswagen cooperates with Electrek to test the ID.4 electric switch for a week. We treated the ID.4 with great anticipation during development, release and introduction.
For this sponsored partner contribution, I test the ID.4 as an everyday vehicle and road trip vehicle and pay attention to comfort, usefulness and easy off-road capabilities.
The ID.4 takes a more traditional approach to the compact SUV. Volkswagen made the right choice by developing an SUV that not only appeals to early adopters and statement makers, but also to the average driver who is ready to go electric. With a spacious cargo area, practical features, and traditional design, the ID.4 doesn’t feel like a quirky electric vehicle with a catfish front end.
After several years of personal driving in various electric vehicles (including the aforementioned catfish), the normality of the ID.4 was a welcome change.
There and back again
To put the ID.4 Crossover through its paces, I took it on a couple of family outings.
The two great trips have their origins in Salt Lake City. The first was north to the Spiral Jetty. The locally famous, man-made art formation is located off a dirt road, about 80 km from the nearest small town. The next excursion was to a natural formation called The Little Grand Canyon. This sandstone and river wonder is about 40 miles from any stream or running water and is made up almost entirely of dirt roads.
The controls on ID.4 felt simple and had more to discover as the week wore on. One example is the regenerative braking mode. In normal driving mode, the car accelerated and braked with predictable expectations. When the car is put into braking mode, regenerative braking is activated when the accelerator is released, an easy way to save a little more energy every time you drive.
The rain-braking mode is not aggressive. Some electric cars come to a complete stop when the accelerator pedal is released, a feature known as “one foot drive”. VW decided to have the car stop with a press of the brake pedal, a whole new idea. 😉
The range of the ID.4 was fantastic. The official EPA range of the Pro S model I’ve driven is 250 miles, but there’s more to my story. I’ve had the opportunity to test it out on multiple trips of over 100 miles in one direction. The first trip was carefully planned (and cautiously initiated), but the caution turned out to be unnecessary. The ID.4 easily exceeded my expectations, even when riding canyon roads in the summer heat. Personally, I can say that I would commit myself to longer trips without hesitation.
Volkswagen is partnering with its sister company Electrify America to offer new ID.4 buyers unlimited charging on their nationwide network for three years. This is not an easy task as the network covers all major highways and smaller locations are also included on a regular basis. If Electrify America has locations in Spanish Fork and Brigham City, Utah, there’s a good chance you will be covered, too.
ID.4 in the field
Driving the ID.4 off-road was a lot of fun. The steering rattled on the dirt roads, remained firm and responsive, and the higher ground clearance and visibility caused surprises off-road. I drove about 120 miles off-road and enjoyed the performance and safety of the vehicle. I was impressed with what this two-wheel drive version can do, and the upcoming 4WD opens up even more possibilities.
As an everyday driver, the ID.4 felt at home. The loading capacity made trips to the store or carrying exercise equipment a breeze. The tailgate opens wide under the rear bumper at the push of a button, switch or foot movement. With a hands-free opening, it literally opens up a multitude of uses.
The rear cargo area has a high profile so that larger items can be easily taken in and out. The contrast can be seen in other EV crossovers, where the tailgate has a more aerodynamic shape. Aerodynamics are nice, but if the ID.4 has already impressed me with its real range, then I’m really happy about the additional space.
My 4 year old daughter absolutely loved the ID.4. Most of her time she spent climbing the driveway between the back seat and the trunk, but when we started moving she was fascinated by the wide-open glass roof. She was sitting in a car seat, but when she was older she would undoubtedly love the large back seats. The wide open rear seat is not obstructed by a transmission tunnel, so that the middle seat can also be used by an adult.
The ID.4 has a main display in landscape format, on which most of the operating elements are accessible via the touchscreen. In addition, there are quick controls on a variety of bespoke buttons for different functions. The windows and wipers are tactile. The audio and cruise controls feel like rocker switches. The climate control is like a touchscreen, and of course the main touchscreen itself controls a lot more. The longer I used the various buttons, the easier it became to hit them without a second thought.
ID.4 active cruise control
The touchscreen and air conditioning quickly became second nature. Two climate controls, customizable mood lighting, phone connectivity and map navigation are seamless. An aspect that took getting used to was the Active Cruise Control. Once activated, the car apparently drove by itself on the autobahn, steered, braked and accelerated. I hit the wheel to let it know I was diligently paying attention, and I did. I was a bit squeamish about letting the car drive myself, so I regained control after about 30 miles. Maybe after another week I would really love it, but I’m not embarrassed to admit that I was still intimidated by the new technology.
Overall, I think the ID.4 is the most intuitive electric car I’ve ever driven. It doesn’t try to be something it isn’t, or promise something spacey or out of this world. It’s a well-grounded, feature-rich electric SUV with an accessible entry point and plenty of depth to explore. Volkswagen’s slogan for the ID.4 is an electric car “for the millions, not for the millionaires”. I’m sure a millionaire would like it too, but in my case VW hit the mark.
Sponsored by Volkswagen of America: Learn more about VW’s electric SUV at www.vw.com
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