- We drove the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4, a $40,000 electric SUV.
- It boasts solid driving range, a comfortable interior, and three years of free charging.
- But the ID.4 lacks a frunk and regular, physical buttons.
Rising gas prices and compelling new models have pushed more consumers to consider switching to an electric vehicle. But a growing field of battery-powered offerings has made deciding what to buy harder than ever.
Last year we tested one of the most popular new EVs, the $40,000 2021 Volkswagen ID.4. VW’s first electric SUV for the US delivers a solid driving range and an accessible experience, but it isn’t without its sticking points.
The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 AWD Pro S we drove came out to a little over $50,000. VW has changed some things for 2022, but the pros and cons we came away with still hold.
Pro: Healthy range
The ID.4 already exhibited solid range in the 2021 model we, but Volkswagen has beefed up range tested across the ID.4 lineup for the 2022 model year. The cheapest, rear-wheel-drive model now earns an EPA rating of 280 miles, up from 260. Opt for all-wheel drive and you still get up to 251 miles.
When you compare to other electric SUVs around the same price point, this is quite respectable. The base 2022 Mach-E gets 247 miles of range, according to the EPA.
Pro: An SUV that doesn’t ask you to change
Inside and out, the ID.4 may feel more accessible than some of its rivals – especially Teslas. It’s styled like popular gas-powered crossovers and has a comfortable interior that’s not trying to be minimalist or particularly tech-heavy.
When you stomp on the accelerator, the ID.4 feels lively but it doesn’t jolt off the line quite like some sportier electric options, such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E. Likewise, when you take your foot off the throttle, the ID.4 will slow itself down and charge the battery through a process called “regenerative braking,” but it doesn’t brake as aggressively as other electric cars. Volkswagen says it was important for the ID.4 to coast like a regular SUV so as not to confuse consumers accustomed to gas vehicles.
If you want an electric SUV that makes the transition away from gasoline as smooth as can be, the ID.4 may be right up your alley.
Pro: Cheaper than the Model Y and Ford Mustang Mach-E
The 2021 ID.4 starts at around $40,000, a few thousand dollars less than the Mach-E and a full $19,000 less than the most popular electric SUV in the US, the Tesla Model Y. The 2022 model starts at $40,760.
Pro: Free charging
For three years, that is. VW is luring customers to buy an ID.4 with the reward of no-cost fast charging at Electrify America stations. Electrify America, which Volkswagen owns, has the second-largest network of EV charging plugs in the US, beat out only by Tesla.
Con: No frank
The ID.4 lacks some of the things people love about electric cars. For instance, many battery-powered vehicles provide an extra cargo area under the hood, making use of space that would normally be taken up by a gas engine. You get this in all Teslas, the Ford Mach-E, and lots of other electric vehicles. It’s hardly a dealbreaker, but you won’t get a frunk in the ID.4.
Con: Frustrating interior tech
For the volume, climate control, and other key functions, the ID.4 relies on touch-sensitive buttons — the kind you tap rather than actually click. These sorts of buttons are aesthetically cool but make little sense in a car. They’re perfectly smooth, so it’s nearly impossible to understand what you’re tapping without looking away from the road.