Volkswagen ID.7 Prototype Review


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An early drive in a pre-production Volkswagen ID.7 suggests the brand is getting its EV offering back on track.

Getting behind the wheel of the new Volkswagen ID.7 in prototype form is a surprise – thankfully, a pleasant one. Every VW ID model we’ve tried thus far has disappointed somewhat in terms of cabin design, material quality and infotainment, but the German company has been busy taking on board customer feedback from those earlier efforts, it seems.

The prototype, described as “90 to 95 per cent finished”, feels far more premium inside than we’ve come to expect from electric VWs and that bodes very well for the latest member of the ID family, which is best described as a ‘fastback’, when it arrives in final production form.

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While the model is not yet confirmed for Australia, Volkswagen has turned bullish on EVs locally with the ID.3, ID.4, ID.5, and ID.Buzz all set for an introduction by 2025 (the Buzz might be here in 2025).

Inside the ID.7, there’s a minimalistic dashboard, with a clean look thanks partly to a lack of physical vent direction controls, as this is now done electronically (we’ll get back to that soon), much more in the way of soft-touch materials, and a large infotainment screen with one crucial change over its predecessor. Volkswagen has, at last, backlit the bottom part of the screen bezel, so you can actually see the temperature shortcut keys when it gets dark.

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There’s a huge storage area just under the dashboard big enough to make your phone look lost in, with two sliding lid compartments that neatly meet diagonally in the middle. Just further back there’s an additional storage cubby, which is also impressively large.

Space is a general theme in here – even with the driver’s seat set in a comfortable position for my six-and-a-bit-foot frame, there’s a tremendous amount of rear legroom on offer, and I’m able to sit back there with a good few centimetres of headroom to spare despite the ID.7’s tapering roofline. It should be no surprise that the cabin is roomy, really – this is the largest ID car we’ve yet seen, longer even than the ID. Buzz minivan at 4961mm.

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We don’t have a luggage capacity figure to share just yet, but the boot looks to be plenty big and comes with a moveable floor section plus under-floor storage for charge cables. There’s no ‘frunk’ for additional storage at the front, though.

The digital instrument cluster is small and nestled within the dashboard rather than on a plinth, more in the style of the Skoda Enyaq than any existing ID product. Stretching across the dash and blending into the inner door panels meanwhile is an ambient lighting system made up of four layers – you can choose multiple light spread layouts and have two different colours at a time, giving millions of potential combinations.

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The new 15-inch screen in the middle is mostly a step forwards from the displays found in current ID models. It’s responsive, the graphics look crisp and pleasing to the eye, and it’s big enough to have room for a permanently-shown climate control bar. It’s a shame VW didn’t go a step further by having physical controls for this as seen in the ID.2All concept.

It’s not all progress, though. The physical shortcut bar seen on existing ID cars for things like the assistance systems and the driving mode is gone, replaced with a row of customisable icons along the top of the screen. They’re much more bunched together, making them trickier to use on the move.

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Speaking of movement, you don’t have to drive the ID.7 for particularly long to learn that it has a focus on comfort. The damping is soft, and for the most part, reasonably controlled. It’s only when trying to negotiate particularly broken-up sections of asphalt that the car starts to flounder a little. With the adaptive dampers turned up to their firmest setting, the body settles much more quickly, and set thusly, the ID.7 isn’t uncomfortably stiff.

Body roll is reasonably well contained, and the car is keener to change direction than you might expect for something nearly five metres long. There’s no meaningful feedback from the road surface through the steering, which is also a little too light in Comfort mode, but weighted about right in Sport.

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Our test car uses a single, rear-mounted 207kW, 545Nm motor, which does mean a healthy amount of throttle in a tighter corner results in a slight feeling of movement at the back end, but generally, traction is very good. If anything, you’re more likely to experience understeer when pressing on in the ID.7.

While nearly 210kW would have been an impressive output not so long ago, in a heavy EV this is a modest figure. As such, the ID.7 doesn’t feel that fast, but offers more than enough performance for most. There’s a slight ramp-up in the motor’s delivery, so there’s no jolt of instant torque on offer here, which for the vast majority of ID.7 buyers will be preferred, we should think.

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The official range of up to 698km sounds very impressive indeed. We’ll have to wait until we’ve spent longer with a production model to confirm how close to that figure it’s possible to get. We’re looking forward to getting our hands on one, as from what we’ve seen so far, the ID.7 shows that VW’s electric range is starting to move in the right direction after a few missteps with earlier models.

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