What Car? says...
The ‘ID’ in Volkswagen ID 4 stands for Intelligent Design. So does that mean this SUV can do your daughter’s homework or get the wifi working? Well, no.
Intelligence here is about contemporary thinking, and the ID 4 is a very 21st century machine. For a start, the smooth, unfussy design is bang on trend, as is what’s under its suave exterior: a big battery powering a powerful electric motor (or two).
Yes, that’s right: the ID 4 – like the Volkswagen ID.3, the Volkswagen ID.5 and future ID products – is an electric car, and it’s spearheading VW’s leap into cleaner vehicles. That doesn’t just mean zero emissions at the exhaust pipe, either.
Volkswagen claims the ID 4 is carbon neutral at the point it’s handed over to you, too. How? Well, in lots of ways, from using renewable energy in the manufacturing process to planting trees to offset any CO2 produced.
That’s all well and good, but is it a good car too? Is it practical, cheap to run and well-equipped, with decent performance and reasonable running costs? We’ll reveal all that and more over the next few pages of this comprehensive VW ID 4 review.
We might also be able to save you a bundle of cash on your next new car. Just head over to our free What Car? New Car Buying service to check out the latest discounts, including lots of impressive Volkswagen ID 4 deals.
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
You can have your Volkswagen ID 4 with 146bhp, 168bhp, 201bhp or 295bhp, so there's plenty of choice here. We haven't tried the entry-level 148bhp motor (called the Pure) or the 168bhp (Pure Performance), but based on the official performance figures, acceleration will be modest.
The range-topping GTX has two electric motors, giving it more power and four-wheel drive. Acceleration (0-62mph in 6.2sec officially) is roughly on a par with cheaper EV6s and the Ford Mustang Mach-E, so it's quick enough but don't expect to be thrown back in your seat.
Entry-level Pure versions have a 52kWh battery for an official range of up to 213 miles (expect 150-170 miles in the real world). The Pro models and the GTX have a 77kWh battery, increasing the official range to 324 miles (230-260 miles is more realistic based on our testing).
Suspension and ride comfort
There are smoother-riding electric SUVs than the ID 4 – including the closely related Audi Q4 e-tron, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the EV6 – but it's still relatively comfortable. Yes, you’re jostled around a bit, especially if you choose a version with chunky 20in alloys, but the ID 4 is more forgiving over larger bumps and potholes than the sportier Model 3.
It’s nothing like as bad as the Mach-E, either, which never settles on any surface. The ID 4 ride comfort can be improved by going for adaptive suspension (DCC in Volkswagen speak), but you have to go for a pricey Max version or fork out a lot of money for the Sport pack plus. We wouldn't bother.
The ID 4 isn't a particularly entertaining car to drive, but it is composed and capable by class standards. That makes it entirely fit for purpose as a large family electric SUV.
The steering is progressive as you begin to turn into a corner so it’s easy to judge where the nose is heading. It weights up a bit too much past a quarter of a turn, but it’s far from an arm wrestle in a multi-storey car park.
There’s also plenty of grip, and body movements are far better controlled than in the Mach-E, which is why driving the ID 4 is an altogether calmer, more harmonious experience. If you want something more fun and agile, try the Model 3 or the Volkswagen ID.3.
Noise and vibration
There’s next to no noise from the ID 4's electric motor around town. Once you pick up speed, wind and road noise prevail, but both are reasonably well contained compared with, say, the Polestar 2 or Model 3. The EV6 and Ioniq 5 are even more peaceful cruising companions, though.
The other elements that aid calm progress are the ID 4's progressive accelerator and brake pedal – steady starts and stops around town are no problem. However, it can be tricky to judge how hard to press the brake pedal when slowing from higher speeds, which can make stopping for roundabouts on fast roads slightly unnerving.
The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
Let’s start with the good bits. The Volkswagen ID 4's driver's seat is supportive, especially through corners, and its manual controls are easy to use. Adjustable lumbar support isn't fitted as standard on the cheaper trims but our testers didn't note any back pain on longer journeys.
The steering wheel extends a good amount for height and reach, and the pod for the digital instruments moves with it so you can always see the display. There's a single folding armrest attached to the driver’s seat. It's not as comfortable as the broader centre armrest you get in a Ford Mustang Mach-E but it’s fine.
Sadly, usability isn't so good. There are no physical buttons and the touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel are hard to operate and easy to trigger accidentally. It’s a similar story with the air-conditioning – the touch-sensitive sliders for the temperature settings are a faff and, to make matters worse, are not backlit so you have no hope of using them accurately at night.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
The ID 4's high-set dashboard scuttle and the thick, acutely angled front pillars are a nuisance. They obscure the end of the bonnet and what’s around you nearby, such as kerbs.
The rear pillars are quite substantial as well, although the Mach-E’s are even bigger so that car is more of a pain to reverse. It’s easier to see out of the Kia e-Niro and Skoda Enyaq in all directions.
Volkswagen gives you very effective LED headlights, a rear-view camera, and front and rear parking sensors as standard.
Sat nav and infotainment
The standard 10.0in touchscreen infotainment system is quite small compared with the massive 15.0in portrait screen you get in the Mach-E and Tesla Model 3, and the operating system is nothing like as slick as either rival's. The ID 4's Infotainment pack plus (standard on Max versions) gives you a larger 12in screen but no noticeable improvements in usability.
It's a case style over substance – Volkswagen has tried to make the graphics look fancy but the display is laggy and confusingly laid out. The Kia EV6 system is far more straightforward to operate and responds more promptly to presses, as does the Model 3's.
All models get natural-speech voice control. It’s hit and miss whether it’ll do what you ask, though – especially if you have noisy kids in the car. Sat-nav is standard across the range, as is Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring, plus there are two USB-C sockets in the front and another two in the back.
The ID 4 delivers a big improvement in interior quality over the Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback, with more gloss black, shiny silver and soft-touch surfaces.
There are more hard plastics in the ID 4 than you’ll find in the Mach-E, but the Mach-E isn’t as well screwed together in places. Likewise, the Model 3 has some more upmarket interior materials but built quality is inconsistent.
Ultimately, if you want a really plush interior in your electric car, you have to stump up the cash for a BMW iX3 or Porsche Taycan, but at the lower end of the price range, the ID 4 is perfectly acceptable.
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
There are cars that offer a little bit more front leg room and have broader interiors than the ID 4, but it doesn't leave you short of space. In fact, even though it's not the biggest car in the class, it’s still fine if you’re more than six feet tall.
Storage space is good too. There are sizeable door bins, handy-sized trays and cubbies within the centre console, and a glovebox (although that’s not massive).
If you often need to carry tall rear-seat passengers, the ID 4 is a great choice. Indeed, it's roomier in the back than the Tesla Model 3. There isn't as much leg room as in a Hyundai Ioniq 5 or Kia EV6, but there is more head room and the ID 4 offers a more upright, comfortable seating position.
As in the Ford Mustang Mach-E, shoulder room is tight when you introduce a burly third passenger to the middle rear seat. They’ll have just enough head room, though, and, thanks to the flat floor, plenty of space for their feet.
You get a couple of pockets for maps and mobile phones on the back of the front seats. There are also two rear cupholders in the centre armrest and two useable door bins.
Seat folding and flexibility
The rear seats don’t recline, as they do in the Ioniq 5 and EV6, or slide back. All ID 4s have 60/40 split folding rear seatbacks, though, and you get a ski hatch in the centre to poke longer items through.
The ID 4 can fit nine carry-on suitcases below its parcel shelf, which is two more than the Mach-E, EV6 and Ioniq 5. The Model 3 matches the ID 4's carrying capacity, but don’t forget that car is a saloon, with a narrower and less usable boot opening. The ID 4’s broad aperture means you can load it with much bulkier items.
There’s a small storage area under the boot floor that’s just about big enough for two charging cables. All but Life and GTX trims come with a height-adjustable boot floor as standard.
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
As a cash purchase, the Volkswagen ID4 isn ’t too expensive and is priced slightly above the closely related Skoda Enyaq. That is, as long as you steer away from the range-topping variants, especially the GTX, as they are pricey compared to the ID 4’s rivals.
PCP finance deals are usually competitive, although the ID 4 is predicted to depreciate more quickly than many of its rivals, including the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6 and Tesla Model 3. Like all pure-electric cars, the ID 4 will cost you peanuts in company car tax.
Cheaper Pure versions can accept up to 100kW from a suitably powerful CCS charger, meaning a 10-80% top-up should take around 35 minutes in ideal conditions. Pro and GTX versions can take 125kW, but because they have larger batteries, that same 10-80% charge isn't any faster.
Equipment, options and extras
Entry-level Life trim comes with plenty of kit, including climate control, adaptive cruise control, heated front seats, rain-sensing windscreen wipers and all the infotainment and visibility aids.
We reckon Style trim is worth the extra because you also get the height-adjustable boot floor, an extra climate 'zone' for your rear passengers and a boot net with dividers.
Venturing further up the range pushes the price into the territory of better electric cars, including the Model 3 and EV6, so it's not something we'd advise. We would recommend forking out for the optional heat pump (standard on Max versions) for more efficient warming of the interior in cooler conditions.
Volkswagen finished in 20th place (out of 30 brands) in the 2021 What Car? Reliability Survey. For context, Hyundai was joint third, Kia was ninth, BMW was 13th, Tesla was 15th and Ford was down in joint 27th place.
The ID 4’s battery warranty lasts for eight years/100,000 miles and the rest of the car is warranted for three years/60,000 miles. That’s not great when you consider that the Kia e-Niro and EV6 come with warranties that stretch to seven years/100,000 miles.
Safety and security
The ID 4's list of standard safety features is respectable for the class and includes automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-keeping assistance, a driver fatigue monitor, eCall emergency response and traffic sign recognition.
Max trim models adds blind-spot monitoring and some other safety provisions. You can add these extras to cheaper versions of the ID.4 by paying for the Assistance pack plus, but be warned – it isn't cheap.
Euro NCAP awarded the ID 4 the full five stars for safety, with particularly good marks for child occupant protection. Adult occupant protection was found to be slightly behind the Enyaq, but better than the Ioniq 5.
The ID 4 was too new to feature in the 2021 What Car? Reliability Survey, but Volkswagen as a brand didn’t do especially well, finishing well down the field in 20th place out of 30 brands. Every ID 4 comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, while the car’s battery has an eight-year, 100,000-miles warranty. Read more here
It depends which battery you go for. Entry-level ID 4s have a 52kWh battery that managed 213 miles between charges in official tests, while the larger 77kWh battery on more expensive versions recorded a figure of 324 miles. Our Real Range testing suggests you’ll get closer to 170 miles or 260 miles depending on battery size, the weather and how you drive. Read more here
We recommend going for a mid-range Pro Performance model, which gets you the larger of the ID 4’s two battery sizes (77kWh) and a 201bhp electric motor, which is enough for a 0-60mph sprint time of just 7.8sec. Our trim pick is mid-range Style, which is worth paying a bit extra for because it adds tri-zone climate control and a height-adjustable boot floor. Read more here
Most versions get a 10in touchscreen, but top-of-the-range ID 4s get a 12in one (you can also add that as part of an options pack). Both screens look swish, but there’s a big delay between you pressing the screen and anything happening, and while there’s lots of functionality, some of it is hidden in confusing menus. You do at least get wireless smartphone mirroring, so you can bypass Volkswagen’s system for some functions. Read more here
Euro NCAP gave the ID 4 a full five stars out of five for safety, and it scored well for child occupant protection. Every ID 4 comes with automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-keeping assistance and a system to monitor how tired you are. If you go for a Max version or pay to add the Assistance Pack Plus to cheaper versions, you also get blind-spot monitoring and other assistance features. Read more here
The ID 4’s 543-litre boot is bigger than many of its electric SUV rivals, and we managed to fit nine carry-on cases below the parcel shelf. You can fit more in the boot of the ID 4 than most of its rivals – indeed, in our tests we managed to squeeze nine carry-on suitcases below its parcel shelf. As well as the main boot area, there’s also a small space under the boot floor to store your charging cables. Read more here