Volkswagen has unveiled the model that will lead the way for its ID electric division in North America: the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 compact crossover.
From looking at it the new ID.4 is nothing that revolutionary – it’s about the size and form of the Tiguan, and it hews fairly closely to the ID. Crozz concept introduced a few years back – but in fact it was designed from the ground up with a purely electric powertrain in mind. The model is built on the ID division’s dedicated MEB (modular electric architecture) platform.
Here are the salient facts about the 2021 ID.4:
- It’s conceived as a painless way for current SUVs owners – particularly North American ones – to “go electric”, says Volkswagen
- Freed of the need for a front grille, the exterior design is distinct yet familiar to VW owners, the main elements being large LED headlights, sculpted front bumper with large intake-like scoops and honeycomb accents
- It can be had in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configuration (at least in the U.S.; stay tuned for whether the offer will be the same in Canada)
- The battery pack is placed in the vehicle’s underbody, which means a low centre of gravity and optimal weight distribution, as well an optimal use of interior space
- The powertrain delivers 201 hp and 228 lb-ft of torque, but later in 2021 VW will debut a more-powerful version with AWD generating 302 hp
- VW says the battery pack can be recharged on a Level 2 charging system in 7 hours; on a fast-charging station, owners can recover 80 percent of charge in about 38 minutes
- The automaker is promising over 400 km of range for the ID.4 that will be sold in North America, but there’s no official number yet as far as that’s concerned
- Those opting for the Statement package will get an illuminated VW logo and light strip stretching out from it
“The ID.4 was engineered, loaded and priced to win the hearts of SUV owners who are simply ready to go electric—and fall in love with Volkswagen again. It drives like a GTI, it has the packaging of a Tiguan and the purpose of the Beetle. All the best things about VW in one package.”
- Scott Keogh, CEO, Volkswagen Group of America
Volkswagen’s cites the model’s sleek lines and curves in highlighting its low drag coefficient (0.28), which portends good things for range. The drive itself should be made more comfortable by the presence of a strut-type front suspension with lower control arms, coil springs and telescopic dampers, while the back gets a multi-link rear axle with the same elements.
As mentioned, the Volkswagen ID.4 has the general look and feel of the Tiguan, but in fact it’s 11.7 cm shorter than that SUV, and its wheelbase is 2.3 cm shorter. Meanwhile it sits lower to the ground than the Tiguan and is slightly wider.
In the U.S., Volkswagen will offer the new ID.4 in six colours (Glacier White Metallic, Mythos Black Metallic, Moonstone Grey, Scale Silver Metallic, Blue Dusk Metallic and King’s Red Metallic), and we expect that to be the same in Canada – though of course we reserve the right to be wrong on that. All versions come with black roof rails and 19-inch alloy wheels.
Volkswagen promises that despite its slightly smaller size compared to the Tiguan, the ID.4 offers comparable interior space.
Beyond that, the environment of this EV is suitably futuristic. There aren’t many physical buttons, as functionality is almost completely controlled by touch or voice control (the latter is a standard feature, and called Hello ID.). The 5.3-inch digital driver display (ID.Cockpit, it’s called) replaces the traditional instrument cluster and is operated with touch-sensitive controls on the leather-wrapped multifunction heated steering wheel. Three tiles show the most important information, with the display for battery status and range underneath.
The traditional gearshift is replaced by a large rocker switch on the right of the ID.Cockpit, and a control panel to the left of the steering wheel integrates the lighting functions, including automatic headlights.
In the centre console sits a 10-inch screen, which can be pretty thoroughly configured by the user (menus can be moved about by swiping, for instance). It accesses the standard navigation system, all telematics, entertainment, driver-assistance systems and vehicle settings. An optional 12-inch display is also possible (in the Statement trim).
We won’t go into all the options available with each version of the Volkswagen ID.4, especially since we can’t be sure the Canadian product offering will be exactly the same. But it is worth noting the equipment listed as standard for the model: Rain-sensing wipers, auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone climate control, keyless access, heated steering wheel, heated side mirrors and washer nozzles, and, on all-wheel-drive models, a heated windshield.
Production of the Volkswagen ID.4 is already underway in Europe and in China; eventually it will also be built at the company’s Tennessee plant. Expect it be available commercially in North America early next summer.