The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
Let’s start with the good bits. The Volkswagen ID.4's driving seat is supportive, especially through corners, and its manual controls are easy to use. On the 1st Edition trim, it doesn’t have adjustable lumbar support, but we didn’t have any trouble in the lower back area.
The steering wheel also 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 is a single folding armrest attached to the driver’s seat. It's not as comfortable as the broader centre armrest you get in a Mustang Mach-E but it’s fine.
The usability is not 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 for the air-conditioning controls because the touch-sensitive sliders for the temperature settings are a pointless faff and, to make matters worse, are not backlit so you have no hope of using them accurately at night. The BMW iX3 and the Kia e-Niro are much simpler to operate.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
The Volkswagen 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, like kerbs.
The ID.4 1st Edition does come with front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera as standard, plus very effective LED headlights.
Sat nav and infotainment
The standard 10.0in infotainment touchscreen in the ID.4 is quite small compared with the massive 15.0in portrait screen you get in the Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model 3, and Volkswagen's latest software is nothing like as slick as either rival's system.
It's a case style over substance – they've tried to make the graphics look fancy but the display is laggy and confusingly laid out. The Kia e-Niro’s system is far more straightforward to operate, while the BMW iX3’s physical iDrive controller is a good example of how to make a complex system really easy to use on the go.
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 and two USB-C sockets in the front and back. Wireless phone-charging is not available on the 1st Edition and neither is a premium sound system. That standard six-speaker stereo sounds clear but lacks a warm bass.
The Volkswagen ID.4 delivers a big improvement in interior quality over the ID.3 hatchback, with more gloss black, shiny silver and soft-touch surfaces. It still has more hard plastics throughout than you’ll find in the Mustang Mach-E, but the latter isn’t as well screwed together in places, so it’s swings and roundabouts.
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