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Is The Volkswagen ID.4 The Best Affordable Electric Crossover?

Andrew Lambrecht
Andrew Lambrecht

Is the ID.4 the pick of the bunch when it comes to electric crossovers?

The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 isn’t a ‘Tesla killer,’ but including the federal tax credit, it’s priced in-line with a moderately equipped Tiguan, a far cry from the now $52,490 Model Y.

Almost every Volkswagen dealership offers this electric SUV, including Volkswagen Concord, the dealership that kindly provided the review model. Volkswagen Concord is located just northeast of Charlotte, NC, and has a great inventory, a very accommodating staff, and several entry-level ID.4 Pro models up for sale. The review model was a demo ID.4 First Edition, but since all ID. 4’s drive the same; this review will just regard the ID.4 Pro, which is arguably the best trim for the price. Apparently, all demo ID.4s are very early vehicles and will soon get reclaimed by Volkswagen corporate, disassembled, and eventually crushed. This is a missed opportunity because VW could very well just sell me a highly discounted one, and I’d send weekly emails on how it’s holding up. If I’d abruptly stop sending emails, then they’d know there might be an issue that needs resolving.

Alas, if you wanted a First Edition, you’d be faced with adversity in trying to find one, as they’ve pretty much been sold out already. Maybe you could find a used straggler, but the good thing is that dealerships are receiving many Pro and Pro S models. The only downside to these models is that they won’t have the cheeky ‘play’ and ‘pause’ driving pedals; what a shame. Less of a shame is the price of $39,995, which undercuts its competition by a significant margin. The only competition it doesn’t undercut is the Bolt EUV, but calling that thing a crossover is like calling recreational golf exercise. The ID.4 is nearly a foot longer and has many more standard features, like a heated steering wheel and front seats included in the base trim.


For a $39,995 crossover, the ID.4 Pro comes surprisingly equipped. Some of the standard features include wireless charging, a heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, and various other safety features. Unlike the Model Y (for now), the $39,995 ID.4 will accompany a $7,500 federal tax credit, which can effectively lower the price to $32,495 the following tax season. However, to claim the full credit, you’d have to pay over $7,500 in federal taxes. So, if the government charges you $3,000 in federal taxes, you’d only get to use 40% of your credit, and it won’t carry over to the following year. 


For a crossover, the ID.4 is an attractive, contemporary-looking crossover. Some see the Model Y’s design as quite polarizing, and the ID.4 returns to normality. When driving it, I was approached by five people in parking lots and in my neighborhood asking questions about it, which surprised me. I never thought a sub-$40,000 crossover adorning a VW badge would gain so much attention, but here it was, in the spotlight. Some of its most distinctive features are the unobtrusive exterior door handles and the LED rear light bar, giving the ID.4 a modern look. However, the most notable is its 8.2 inches of ground clearance, which is cool, but judging by VW’s intended audience, the furthest off-road it’ll go is a gravel parking for the owner’s kids’ t-ball practice.

The interior design in the ID.4 is pretty interesting. The coolest thing about the interior is that almost all the pieces are bespoke just to the ID series. So, the buttons, switches, gauge cluster, and steering wheel are all unique and present a modern tone. The 10″ screen featured in the Pro is visually attractive, but the layout and menus can be a bit awkward at times. In a few hours, I got better used to the controls, and I primarily used the steering-wheel controls, rather than center screen. To aid in the confusion, you can tell the ID.4 to do whatever you want, like “I’m cold,” and it’ll turn up the heater. The voice recognition is actually pretty accurate, and there is an LED light bar that illuminates across the front dash when using this mode, which is a nice touch.


Unlike the Mach-e and Model Y, the ID.4 just isn’t that fast. Like the Chevrolet Bolt, the ID.4 makes about 200 horsepower, but it weighs 4,559 pounds, which is like a Bolt carrying a Bactrian Camel. The Bolt and camel duo may be more versatile, especially in hot weather performance, but what should be known is that ID.4’s extra heft impairs its acceleration. The ID.4 comes with RWD as standard, which is great because you won’t get any torque steer or aggressive tire chirping that plagues the Niro Electric, Kona EV, and Bolt lineup.

However, due to its weight, its zero to sixty time is in the mid-to-upper 7-second range, which is perfectly adequate (and still nippy) for a crossover, but with the Mach-e and Model Y being 2-3 seconds quicker, it’s just something to think about. There will be an AWD model coming out later this year, which will bring the acceleration time down around six seconds, and that’ll feel far quicker.

One aspect the ID.4 excels in is its handling, which is very good for an SUV of this price and weight. The ID.4 can take corners exceptionally well, and the smooth electric acceleration is the added bonus. On the topic of corners, the ID.4 also has an unexpectedly tight turning radius; it’s even better than the BMW i3 Sport, which is an industry leader for turning circles. Its turning radius makes U-turns easy almost anywhere and navigating congested parking lots a breeze.


The ID.4 Pro, powered by an 82kWh pack, has an EPA-rated range of 260 miles, which puts it in Model 3 Standard Plus territory. The base Mach-e can do 230, and the Bolt EUV 247. For day-to-day driving, 260 miles is more than ample, just as it is in any new EV for sale. Once you get above the 200-mile mark in an EV, you just don’t think about range in everyday driving, and even if you take it on a brief trip the ID.4 has you covered with three free years of charging on Electrify America’s fast charging network.

Another bonus is its 125kW max charging rate, which allows the car to charge around 200 miles in under 40 minutes. Still, at around 40 minutes, it’s longer than Tesla charging times, so if you’re planning on regularly taking your EV on road trips, a Tesla would be a better option, but an ID.4 is still doable.

However, what needs to be known is that you’d rarely charge on public chargers. If you charge at home via a 220V socket, the ID.4 will get fully charged in just a few hours after a typical day of driving. So, say you’ve driven 50 miles, and you get home at 3:00PM, the ID.4 would be fully charged back up to that 260 mile mark by 5:00PM. 


So, should you buy an ID.4? If you’re looking for a fun-to-drive crossover and don’t want to pay Tesla money, the ID.4 can fulfill that desire very well. Featuring plenty of storage space and ample leg and headroom, the new electric Volkswagen proves itself as a capable crossover. Overall the ID.4 is a very solid option, and with its nicely-designed, well-built exterior and interior, it will surely impress.

Image via VW USA

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