Not all that long ago, battery-electric vehicles were a curiosity piece. But that is no longer case.
Consumers can take their pick from what has become a growing list of EVs introduced by big automakers from around the world such as Nissan, Toyota, Subaru, Hyundai and Kia not to mention the growing fleets of EVs from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Ford and General Motors as well as Tesla, which got the ball rolling.
Among the new entries into the EV derby is the 2023 Volkswagen ID.4 AWD Pro S, which made its debut this past autumn. The five-passenger CUV is an impressive piece of automotive hardware, offering ample range between charges and the features we have come to expect from a modern utility vehicle, including driver assistance and safety equipment as well as plenty of room for passengers and their everyday gear.
The ID.4 builds on and adds to Volkswagen’s long history of building interesting and clever vehicles that are affordable, relatively speaking, and stylish even as they seem to open new ground for the automotive world.
The exterior design of the Volkswagen ID.4 is more adventurous than the exterior designs of other SUVs or CUVs carrying the iconic VW logo. The sheet metal has been rounded a bit on the side. A distinct curve is added to the rear liftgate, while the windshield is laid back and the roofline tapers to the rear of the vehicle.
The front facia features an updated version of VW grille, which includes a light bar running through the center. The exterior of the ID.4 is also dressed up with 20-inch wheels featuring a distinctive design, folding mirrors, roof rails and geometrically shaped air intakes at the front corners. The overall impact of the design, I found, was nicely balanced and pleasing to the eye.
On the inside, the ID.4 is quiet, comfortable and roomy. But it also has a modern look and feel that is quite distinct from traditional vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. Car makers have used plastic for the interior bits for decades. But Volkswagen’s choice textures and colors, combined with the sleek modern design of the interior fixtures such as the center console, dashboard and inner door combine to create the impression you are stepping into the future.
The gauges tucked into the dashboard convey a substantial amount of information to the driver, about the state of charge of the battery and its performance. But the seats are very comfortable, as I found out while waiting for the ID.4’s battery to re-charge. The visibility from the driver seat is excellent and the lighting scheme employed during nighttime drives is useful but does not detract from the driver’s vision.
The Volkswagen ID.4’s powertrain consists of dual electric motors with and electric drive. The package includes an all-wheel drive system and regenerative braking.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given the 2023 Volkswagen ID.4 an equivalent combined fuel economy rating of 99 mpg, including 104 mpg in the city and 93 mpg on the highway. It is also equipped with 11 kW AC charger and 170 kW fast charger that can be used with a compatible public charging system.
Safety and Technology
Even though it depends on a battery only for power, the Volkswagen ID.4 is fully equipped with safety, and connectivity features. The safety features includes six advanced airbags. Blind-spot monitor, lane-keeping assist, forward collision warning as well as pedestrian and cyclists alerts and autonomous emergency braking.
There is also a rear-view camera, rear cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control. The ID.4 is also equipped with Sirius XM Radio connection, ProMax 12-inch touchscreen with navigation and FM/HD Radio and voice recognition. There are USB data ports in the front row and USB charging ports in the second row as well and rain sensing windshield wipers.
One of the first things I noticed climbing behind and driving a bit in the ID.4 was the solidity of chassis and suspension. Volkswagen has a long history of building top notch suspensions, and it shows in the ID.4, which is also equipped with well-tuned electric power steering system. The system seemed quite capable of handling the varied road surfaces in Detroit’s suburbs during the week I drove the vehicle.
The regenerative braking adds to vehicles stopping. The torque and horsepower in an electric vehicle seem to come on instantly, making the ID.4 great fun to drive. You do have to pay attention to the battery. When the outside temperature in Michigan dropped into the 20 degree Fahrenheit range one day during my drive the output dropped to 1.8 miles per kilowatt hour. When the temperature climbed so did the range and ID.4, I was driving traveled 2.9 miles per kilowatt hour, adding the range of the battery pack.
Volkswagen had a lot to live down after the “Dieselgate” scandal, which cost not only VW but all German automakers dearly. It also forced VW to stop promoting its cherished diesel engines and turn to battery-electric vehicles. The EVs like the Volkswagen ID.4 AWD Pro S are better.
They are infinitely quieter with better old-fashioned pickup. I should add, however, if you don’t have a place for recharging an ID.4 at home, you might want to wait until the public charging network in your neighborhood is more fully developed. I can report, though, as public charging networks go, Blink’s customer service is very helpful.