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Oct. 5, 2020, 5:04 a.m. EDT

A first look at the new electric Volkswagen ID.4

It has a 250-mile range and free charging for three years. Look for it in early 2021

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By Andy Bornhop


Volkswagen
The Volkswagen ID.4

Volkswagen /zigman2/quotes/204431732/delayed VWAGY -1.56%   sees the future as electric, and it has bold plans to be a totally carbon-neutral company by 2050. Much of this earth-friendly strategy involves electric vehicles, and the first one coming to the U.S. is a compact 5-seat crossover SUV called the ID.4.

The VW ID.4 arrives early next year as a 2021 model. Based on a new modular chassis designed specifically for electric vehicles, the ID.4 has a 201-horsepower rear-mounted motor that drives the rear wheels. Fitted with an 82-kilowatt lithium-ion battery pack encased in aluminum and mounted low in the chassis, the rear-drive ID.4 has a range of 250 miles.


Volkswagen
The ID.4 will be priced from $39,995 to $45,995, and qualifies for a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Not long after, likely in the spring, an all-wheel-drive version of the ID.4 with dual motors and 302 horsepower arrives. It’s said to be considerably sportier than the standard ID.4. Because it’s fitted with the same 82-kilowatt floorboard battery pack, though, the AWD ID.4 won’t have quite as much range, likely down to about 230 miles.

What’s new for 2021?

The Volkswagen ID.4 is brand-new for 2021. This compact new electric SUV arrives in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2021. It is slightly smaller than the Tiguan SUV, and it’s powered by a rear-mounted electric motor with 201 horsepower and 228 lb-ft of torque. An AWD version of the ID.4 arrives a bit later in the year, equipped with an additional front motor and a combined output of 302 horsepower. 

Also see: Thinking about an EV? Here are the 6 best in 2020

What we like

  • 250 miles of range

  • AWD model coming soon

  • Free recharging for three years (Electrify America)

  • Wireless Apple /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +0.72%   CarPlay/Android Auto

  • Tows 2,700 pounds

What we don’t

  • No front trunk as in Mustang Mach E

  • No volume knob for the stereo

  • It’s heavy (ID.4 weighs between 4,500 and 4,600 pounds)

  • No spare tire

How much?

$39,995 - $45,995

Fuel economy

No EPA efficiency numbers have been released for the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4. We do know this, however:

VW says the initial model, the rear-drive ID.4 with 201 horsepower, can go about 250 miles on a full charge. The AWD dual-motor ID.4 coming in the spring won’t go quite as far. Equipped with the same 82-kilowatt battery pack as the rear-drive model, the 302-horsepower model is expected to have a range of about 230 miles.

Using a Level 2 charger, the ID.4’s battery – which features 288 individual pouch-type cells in 12 modules – can be charged in 7.5 hours.

Also see: Check out the Mustang Mach-E, Ford’s electric SUV

A few other recharging facts of note: Using the 11-kW onboard charger, the 2021 VW ID.4 can receive a 33-mile charge in about an hour. Also, at a 125-kW DC fast-charging station, the battery of the ID.4 can go from a 5-percent charge to 80 percent in 38 minutes.

The battery cells come from LG /zigman2/quotes/209966407/delayed KR:066570 -1.24%   of South Korea. When the ID.4 goes into production in Chattanooga, Tennessee, however, its batteries will come from SK, another South Korean supplier.


Volkswagen
Volkswagen ID.4

Standard features and options

The 2021  Volkswagen ID.4  has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $39,995, plus a destination fee of $1,195. It comes with a 10-inch touchscreen, heated seats, a heated steering wheel, heated washer nozzles, rain-sensing wipers, a navigation system, 19-inch alloy wheels, wireless smartphone charging and wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.

An  ID.4 Statement Package  ($44,495) adds 12-way power front seats with leatherette upholstery, a panoramic fixed glass roof, Sirius XM satellite radio, a power tailgate, the larger 12-inch central touchscreen, and 30 colors of ambient interior lighting.

The  ID.4 Gradient Package  ($45,995) includes everything mentioned previously but also 20-inch alloy wheels and special two-tone exterior paint with a black roof.

VW also is selling an ID.4 1st Edition  ($43,995). In addition to white exterior and interior accents, this ID.4 – limited to a few thousand models – is adorned with special badging, contrast mirror caps, and a tow hitch. The First Edition also has fun “play” and “pause” symbols on the accelerator and brake pedals, respectively.

When the dual-motor Volkswagen  ID.4 AWD Pro  ($43,695) goes on sale in the spring, a heated windshield and a tow hitch will be among its standard equipment.

All VW ID.4s also feature ID. Light, an active light strip below the windshield that communicates with the driver via varied lighting effects and sound prompts. For instance, it glows to let the driver know when the vehicle’s drive system is active (which is sometimes difficult to know in an EV). It also lets people know when the ID.4’s doors have been locked or unlocked. In addition to helping with navigational instructions and incoming phone calls, ID. Light also lets you know the battery state of charge and when urgent emergency braking is needed.

Note: All 2021 VW ID.4s qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit, which takes a good size bite out of the prices listed above. Also, we’re pleased to report that VW will be selling the ID.4 electric vehicle in all 50 states. Reservations can be made at VW.com with a $100 deposit. As vehicle production starts, reservation holders can confirm their orders with an additional $400 deposit, which allows them to track their ID.4 from production to preferred local VW dealer.

Safety

Besides six standard airbags, all 2021 Volkswagen ID.4s have numerous driver-assists and safety technologies all contained in a suite that VW calls IQ Drive.

Also read: What’s it like to drive the new Polestar 2?

In addition to a forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, IQ Drive includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, a blind-spot monitor, and rear cross-traffic alert. Additionally, the ID.4 has parking distance control and active high-beam headlights along with a system that displays the posted speed limit on the ID.4’s information screen. 

The floorboard battery, it’s worth noting, is protected in an extruded aluminum case, and it’s automatically disabled in the event of a serious accident.

Behind the wheel

Autotrader has not driven the Volkswagen ID.4 yet. Check back with us soon.

Other cars to consider

2021 Honda CR-V — A perennially strong seller with fun driving manners, good utility, and superb Honda /zigman2/quotes/207173990/composite HMC -1.29%  reliability. Starts at a lower price than the ID.4. No pure EV version, but there is a new hybrid.

2021 Toyota RAV4 — Similarly dependable, and a proven player. Toyota /zigman2/quotes/200537742/composite TM -1.78%   has a RAV4 Hybrid and a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model called the RAV4 Prime.

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan  — The Tiguan is 4.6 inches longer than the ID.4, and it’s slightly roomier inside. A more traditional SUV not available as an EV or a hybrid.

2020 Tesla Model Y   /zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite TSLA +2.81%  — First Model Ys on the market had 300-plus miles of range. Quicker and considerably more expensive than the VW. Available as a 7-seater, but most models thus far have been 5-seaters.

2020 Kia Niro EV  — This compact electric SUV from Kia /zigman2/quotes/206019389/delayed KR:000270 -1.34%   is similarly priced to the VW ID.4 and it has 239 miles of range, which we’ve found to be a conservative claim. The VW is about 10 inches longer than the Niro EV.

Also see: Toyota brings back the Venza as a hybrid only, and it has a lot going for it

Questions you may ask

How long does it take to charge the VW ID.4?

Using a Level 2 charger, the VW ID.4’s battery can be recharged in about 7.5 hours. With the 11-kW onboard charger, the 2021 VW ID.4 can receive 33 miles of juice in about an hour. VW also says the ID.4 can go from a 5% charge to an 80% charge in less than 40 minutes, using a 125-kW DC fast-charging station.

Where does Volkswagen build the ID.4?

Currently, VW manufactures the ID.4 in Zwickau, Germany. In 2022, ID.4s also will be built in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where VW is investing $800 million to build a facility that will also build the I.D. Buzz, the electric reincarnation of the classic VW Microbus.  VW also will build the ID.4 in China.

What is the warranty on the 2021 VW ID.4?

The ID.4 has a basic warranty and powertrain coverage that lasts 4 years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. Electrical components are covered for eight years or 100,000 miles. VW further backs the ID.4 with two years or 20,000 miles of free maintenance.

When does the all-wheel-drive version of the VW ID.4 go on sale?

Look for the all-wheel-drive Volkswagen ID.4, with front and rear electric motors, to go on sale in the spring as a 2021 model.

Which is bigger, the Volkswagen Tiguan or the VW ID.4?

The VW ID.4 is 4.6 inches shorter than the Tiguan, and its wheelbase is shorter by about an inch. Moreover, the ID.4’s roof is 1.9 inches lower than the Tiguan’s, but the new electric SUV is about a half-inch wider than its gasoline-powered sibling.

How much weight can the Volkswagen ID.4 tow?

Volkswagen says the ID.4 has a respectable tow rating of 2,700 pounds.

Also see: Four electric and hybrid SUVs that can tow some serious weight

Autotrader’s advice

The onslaught of electric VWs in the U.S. has begun with the arrival of the new ID.4. As a compact electric SUV with a range of 250 miles and a price not in the stratosphere, the new ID.4 seeks to pull buyers away from the high-volume CR-Vs, RAV4s, Escapes, and Equinoxes of this world. While we look forward to driving the new Volkswagen ID.4, we’re even more amped to get in the I.D. Buzz, the upcoming electric VW Microbus that will be built in Chattanooga.

More: The 15 best compact SUVs—and they’re priced right, too

This story originally ran on Autotrader.com .

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