Review: 2023 Volkswagen ID.4 Makes a Field Goal

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The Volkswagen ID.4 is a good entry into the more affordable, middle-sized electric vehicle segment. Our summary assessment is that it’s not the touchdown-getting star on the field, but more like the always reliable field goal punter who hits between the posts every time.

From the outside, it looks like a standard wagon-style crossover with a good shape and nice appeal. The only electric giveaway is the lack of a front grille. Inside, though, the ID.4 is a little less appealing. It’s halfway between “normal car” and “space age” in design and carries that VW penchant for minimalism that borders on cheap.

The 2023 ID.4 has a starting price of about $40,000 plus delivery in its new Standard trim. Which is what we drove this time around. Also added this year is a 12-inch touchscreen and semi-automated parking as standard features on all models. The 2023 VW ID.4 otherwise carries over unchanged.

We drove the new Standard trim as a week long press loan. It looks, feels, and drives like the other ID.4 models we’ve driven, but has a little less battery range in order to bring the price tag down. The $40,000 ID.4 Standard has an EPA-estimated range of 208 miles per charge from its smaller 60 kWh battery pack. That’s roughly correct. At least as correct as any other EV we’ve driven is. Most drivers can expect to get within 10 percent of that, either over or under, depending on driving habits and locale. At high altitude in Wyoming with a lot of higher speed driving (over 35 mph), we achieved about 190 miles per charge. A lot of freeway (65mph+) will shrink that number further.

Still, for most people’s daily needs, that near-200 is more than enough. And the VW ID.4 can charge at DC fast chargers if needed.

With semi-automated parking, the larger 12-inch touchscreen, and all of the driver’s aids and advanced safety systems on board, there’s little reason to look beyond the ID.4 Standard trim. The other models of the ID.4 have an 82 kWh battery pack and can add all-wheel drive if needed. Rear-wheel drive is standard, including on the base model.

The downer for the Volkswagen ID.4 is its interior. It’s the usual Volkswagen “function makes the form” minimalist. Something VW has been getting away from in its newer mainstream offerings. But in the ID.4, that minimalist interior also includes a sort of space-agey thing with a weird shifter location and emphasis on screens as real estate hogs.

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The shifter is up above the steering wheel, jutting off the instrument cluster like a blunted cow’s horn. Twist it forward to go, uh, backwards. And turn it back to go, apparently, forward. And then there’s that instrument cluster, which is attached to the steering column. So adjusting the steering wheel does nothing to improve instrument panel visibility. Tall people can hunch down to see it instead.

The interior (interior photos from 2021 model) is otherwise comfortable and roomy. Headroom, legroom, and shoulder/thigh room are good in the front and decent in the back. Cargo space is smaller than comparable SUV models, but this is a station wagon, not an SUV. So that’s the obvious compromise for the sleeker styling. It’s still large enough to hold just about anything one would need to carry normally. A week’s worth of groceries for a family of five will fit just fine. Without a lot of Tetris action required.

Overall, the 2023 Volkswagen ID.4 is a good choice. We like the new Standard model for including a lot of useful goodies and lowering the price for those not quite convinced that an EV will work for them. It’s most immediate competitor is the Kia EV6, which we like a lot better, but the Kia isn’t available at a $40k price point. So kudos to VW for making that happen for the ID.4.