I was getting my hair cut in Hamilton a few weeks ago when the owner came sprinting over to my chair and said, “Give me the keys.”
He’s considering what to buy for his next car and was intrigued with what I had parked in front of the salon: The Volkswagen ID.4.
It’s an all electric compact SUV.
The salon owner is already a VW owner and likes the brand. He drives a Tiguan and the ID.4 is similar in size. He had a look inside and out, but couldn’t drive it, because journalists can’t lend out the cars they are testing. But he liked what he saw.
I told him he better get on the waiting list because the ID.4 in Canada is sold out through 2022.
VW REady to Roll with EV’s
The Volkswagen Group is on a power surge to introduce a flurry of EVs. They want to be the number 1 EV manufacturer by 2025. VW also owns Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini, Skoda and Seat. The electric vision is in some ways a renewal of vows with the public. Remember Dieselgate-that’s when VW was caught cheating on diesel emission figures. It was a big blow to the brand.
The ID.4 I tested was a version built for the American market. Our version, projected to arrive in Canada next month sounds better. It will have two electric motors, 100 more horsepower and available all wheel drive.
However, I found the US version to be just fine.
First off it’s a good looking vehicle. Restrained in that typical VW way, but not without memorable details. The styling is simple, flowing lines, a bit of flash, but not trying too hard in the desperate way some brands do. It has short overhangs front and rear which give it a sporty look rather than “going on a safari” vibe.
Inside it feels airy and bright, the seats are supportive and comfortable, and ergonomics are fine. The seating position for back seat passengers is high-avoiding a claustrophobic feel, and it is easy to get in and out of the vehicle. Trunk space is decent, good for a set of golf clubs and a cart even with second row seats in the up position.
ID.4 Fast Enough, but you do have choices
In the US version I tested, the electric motor produced 200 horsepower. I never felt I needed more, but the Canadian version will also offer an ID.4 with 300 hp.I suppose once you test that one you will feel like you can’t live without it.
My tester was rear wheel drive. I could live with that as well, just put good snow tires on it. A bonus of RWD, the turning radius is short..it’s just a joy to be able to turn around in tight spaces.
The ID.4 doesn’t feel weird to drive like some EV’s. Steering is precise- not too heavy or loose. That is important if you do a lot of driving. Road feel is well balanced, and driving aids like lane departure for instance work well without being too aggressive.
Brake feel is usually suspect in EV’s, because the brakes are also getting used to regenerate power to charge the battery. The ID.4 brakes were ok, but had a bit of a boggy feeling. They could also use an auto hold button. At a stoplight, unless you have your foot firmly planted on the brake, the car creeps forward, a hold button would avoid this.
Cabin is stylish and uncluttered
VW has gone pretty futuristic with the operational controls in the cabin. Many functions are activated using the center touch screen. While this makes for a sleek, uncluttered look, it can be awkward. Try to hit the exact spot on a screen while driving on our almost always bumpy roads. It’s hit or miss. For safety you cannot do better than knobs and dials for operating climate controls and radio tuning and volume.
There are some quirky things. Looking for the ignition switch? There isn’t one. Just depress the accelerator pedal and away you go. Same when you park the car, just put it in P, and the computer screen tells you Good Bye!
When fully charged the ID.4 has a range of 400 km. I drove it from Ajax to Hamilton and it still had 306 km’s of range left.
We charged it once at a public station where it had to be left overnight.
Pricing for the ID.4 starts at $43,394 for the base RWD model and $48,294 for the AWD model. The $5,000 federal government rebate is a welcome incentive.