The Volkswagen ID 4 is coming to Australia to rival the Tesla Model Y – we see how it stacks up ahead of its debut.
Welcome to the Volkswagen ID 4 – a seismic follow up to the ID 3 hatchback. That’s because, while the ID 3 is the Golf’s electric brother, the ID 4 is essentially an all-electric alternative for the brand’s best-selling model – the Tiguan.
At 4580mm in length it sits in between the Tiguan and the Tiguan Allspace for size. Australian specs are yet to be confirmed, but our car has 20-inch wheels, full LED headlights, automatic climate control, a rear-view camera, parking sensors at both ends and heated seats. There’s also satellite navigation linked to a 10-inch central touchscreen, and fully digital instrumentation.
The ID 4 is arriving in Australia in 2023 and we expect pricing to start from around $60,000, although these details are yet to be announced. That means it’ll achieve price parity with mid to high-spec versions of its popular sibling the Tiguan.
Like the Tiguan, the ID 4 has a tall driving position and easy access. With the ID 4, there’s another key ergonomic benefit as there is no centre-tunnel. You sit elevated in the back for excellent visibility. Feet and legs are as free as you like with acres of space, but the surprising height of the rear seats means taller back seat passengers may want a bit more headroom.
As for boot space, Volkswagen claims 543 litres. That’s a strong showing, upping the level of space in the back of the regular Tiguan, and expanding to 1575 litres with the rear bench folded flat.
You can see and feel where the ID 4 steps up in quality over the ID 3. While the hatchback is primarily aimed at Europe, this car will is exporting to other markets, so better interior quality is in demand. The door panels feel softer from halfway up and some plastics on the dashboard are nicer, but from the B-pillar onward it gets cheaper, and unfortunately anything you touch below the dashboard feels a little hard and scratchy as well.
One huge technological advance is the arrival of the impressive augmented reality head-up-display, artificially projecting information and navigation commands straight onto your view of the road ahead. It’s the best system of its kind this side of the latest Mercedes S-Class, but is a pricey option.
The ID 4 we’re in has a 150kW/310Nm electric motor driving the rear wheels and a large 77kWh battery; a smaller battery of 52kWh is available and used in combination with a 125kW/310Nm motor.
With the 77kWh battery it gets a 522km range according to WLTP standards – not a bad figure at all, and realistically you’ll get around 402km with little effort. Recharging tech is solid enough too – it charges at 125kW. Find a suitable roadside plug and theoretically, after 30 minutes, 319km worth of charge goes into the battery. An 11kW on-board charger is ready for use with a home wallbox or a charging point at work.
You don’t drive ID 4 for super-sharp handling – it weighs in at over 2.1 tonnes, thanks mainly to the near 500kg battery. Some 30 years ago this would have been around two VW Golfs in mass. However, this SUV is fun to drive. It zips off the line with decent acceleration, taking 8.5 seconds to reach 100km/h, but then tailing off to a relatively slow top speed of just 160km/h.
It rides nicely too, disguising the weight of the hefty drivetrain with almost magic qualities that can be put down to the optional electronically controlled dampers. Around town a turning circle of 10.2 metres is impressive for a car of this size.
While you can feel the mass in the way the ID.4 builds speed, in the corners you don’t really notice the huge weight – it’s surprisingly agile and links nicely with the light and accurate controls. It’s a textbook EV and will serve as a good demonstration to diesel and petrol family SUV buyers as to what the all-electric fuss is about. With simple driving modes and braking regeneration settings to flick through too, it’s very easy to get on with.
Volkswagen won’t set pulses racing with its new ID 4, but that’s not really the point of the German brand’s family-sized all-electric SUV. This second ID-badged model follows in the footsteps of the more compact ID 3 hatchback, offering more usable space and good levels of on-board tech, while a comfortable ride and practical range make it a car that’s easy to live with.
The ID 4 is not without fault, though. Take a look inside and you’ll notice some of the trim is a little cheaper looking than you might expect, and the touch-sensitive controls can be frustrating to use – particularly while on the move. With some rivals offering a more engaging drive, along with superior charging ability, the Volkswagen ID 4 is a good, but not class-leading, all-electric family car.