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EV Review: 2022 Volkswagen ID.4

EV Review: 2022 Volkswagen ID.4
Autos
Rear seat legroom is adult-friendly, though headroom will tighten quickly for taller occupants in the rear. The cargo area is open and square, with handy under-floor storage compartments, and a flat load floor with relatively low jump-in height for the average family dog. Some EV’s have an additional storage space under the hood, but not the ID.4. Beneath its bonnet you’ll find various fluid tanks, cooling system components and the like — but no frunk.

If you’re toying with the idea of an electric crossover for your and yours, this one’s sized and laid out pretty nicely for the job, and I don’t think the average shopper will find any issues with space or cargo capacity. In all, the ID.4 offers a headroom advantage over models like the RAV4 and CR-V, though shoppers concerned with maximum rear-seat legroom and cargo space for their dollar may want to look elsewhere. Extra points for the stretched-to-the-edges panoramic sunroof really opens up the cabin visually. The roof panel is fixed, but a motorized sunshade can be opened or closed with a quick swipe over its high-tech control pad.

2022 Volkswagen ID.4 Photo by Justin Pritchard

With this rear-drive, 200-horsepower configuration, the ID.4 performs most impressively at lower speeds. In around-town driving, city commuting and the like, the throttle is snappy and the ID.4 can quickly gobble up the space between traffic lights without making a peep.

At higher speeds, where highway passing and merging are required, throttle response falls off. Driving enthusiasts are advised to opt for the 300-horsepower AWD model, though if you’re not looking for AWD and you’re not a highway speed demon, the standard setup will do you just fine.

The ID.4 is a fantastic around-town runabout. Like other new electrics, it’s easy-breezy when it comes to getting in and getting moving. Just pocket the key and doors unlock automatically as you approach, the car turns on when your bum hits the seat, and you just buckle up, shift into gear with a twist of the cluster-mounted shifter-dial, and set off. There’s no need to touch a key, or a start button.

Exiting is the reverse: drivers engage PARK with a button press, unbuckle, and exit the car. The ID.4 powers itself down once your bum exits your seat, and doors lock as you walk away. This removes multiple steps from a day of running around, and makes life a little less tedious if you’ve got your arms or pockets full. Combined with very easy cabin entry and exit, and a small turning circle, most shoppers will find the ID.4 makes easy work of a day of running around.

2022 Volkswagen ID.4 Photo by Justin Pritchard

On the highway, the feel is solid and relaxed. Noise levels are kept nicely in check, and there’s no need to raise your voice for a conversation at highway speed, provided you’re on a smooth pavement surface.

Add in the un-cluttered cabin design, and minimal instrument display mounted down low on the dash, and you’ve got a driving environment that makes it easy to focus on the road ahead while you enjoy the scenery without too many buttons and controls in your face.

The cutting-edge new MEB architecture beneath the ID.4 is so solid and strong that it feels more substantial on the road than the machine’s size leads on. On rough surfaces, that rigid structure helps dramatically mitigate unwanted sounds that result when vehicle body structures flex in response to bumps, noisily pumping air through the cabin. 

Though the ID.4 felt tougher and quieter than expected on rough backroads, certain specific surfaces do bring more suspension noise and feedback from the vehicle than I like. I’d advise test-driving shoppers to hit a rough road on their test-drive, to confirm that ride quality and noise levels here meets their needs.

2022 Volkswagen ID.4 Photo by Justin Pritchard

On steering, I appreciated the heavy and quick dialled-in feel, but wished for more meaningful feedback to back up the sporty attitude. Brake pedal feel is somewhat numb and vague — par for the course with electric cars — though I noted no issues with performance. 

That wasn’t the case for some of the on-board controls. Though some techy touch-pads and interfaces drive up the futuristic appeal of the ID.4, some were a source of frustration and confusion. For instance, steering-wheel mounted controls are relegated to textured touch-pads, not individual switches and buttons. This feels less precise, and requires more glancing down from the road to confirm you’re pressing the right area on the pad.

Further, the power window controls are confusing. The ID.4 has four power windows controlled by two physical switches. A touch-sensitive, non-tactile pad is used to toggle the two physical switches between operating the front and rear windows. The touch-pad can be temperamental too, and I left the ID.4 wishing for four simple window switches, like every other car on the road.

2022 Volkswagen ID.4 Photo by Justin Pritchard

Aside from a few irritating controls, much of the ID.4 driving experience is extremely approachable and convenient. Owners of recent VW products will feel right at home with the design, driving feel, and many of the interfaces. It’s an easy machine to look at, an easy machine to drive, and in most ways, I figure, an easy machine to like.

Prepare to make new friends, too. I took the ID.4 to the small and relatively remote town of Killarney Ontario, a popular weekend road-trip destination. At both the provincial park located there, and at the nearby waterfront for some famous Herbert Fisheries Fish and Chips, numerous small crowds gathered to check out the car, including one family in a VW camper van (also a rear-engine, rear-drive setup) who wondered when they could get one.

The ID.4 will have a soft launch, arriving at dealers in select provinces first, when it goes on sale in Canada later this year. Pre-rebate pricing is set at $44,995 for a 200-horsepower rear-drive model, and $49,995 for a 300-horsepower, AWD-equipped model. In late 2022, the ID.4 will enter production at VW’s Chattanooga Assembly Plant, which is currently being set up to accommodate it. According to VW, this plant will supply all Canadian demand and expand availability of the ID.4.
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