If there was anything constructive to come from Volkswagen’s 2015 Dieselgate scandal, it was that the brand quickly committed to stop making diesel and gasoline engines for passenger cars all together, and go all electric. Well before any brands who are making that commitment now. Well the first all-new EV effort to come from that strategy is here, the ID.4.

Volkswagen is eager to show you their I.D.; lots of them actually, as ID is their new sub-brand of fully-electric vehicles. The first of many to head our way is this 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 compact SUV; designed to be competitive with all compact crossover utility vehicles, not just other EVs.

Power comes from a 150-kw electric motor outputting 201-horsepower and 229 lb-ft. of torque. And it’s mounted in back, powering the rear wheels, just like the original Beetle!

And 82-kWh battery is enough for 250-miles of range here in the Pro S; base Pro models do 10 better, rated at 260-miles. Dual motor all-wheel-drive versions will arrive this summer, sacrificing a small amount of that range for added power and traction.  

Charging to full at home on level-2…240-volts…takes about 7½-hours. With DC fast charging, you can reach 80% in less than 40-minutes. 

Even with 201-horsepower, it feels quick, but not overwhelmingly powerful. We’d estimate 0-60 to be in the mid 7-second range. It also feels quite like a Volkswagen; nimble and fun. 

Not as agile as the Golf EV, but darn close, thanks to the strut-type front and multilink rear suspension and well weighted steering. 

Expected Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Custom drive modes are in place, and when in Drive, there’s a very customary feel to everything; when you lift off the throttle, the ID.4 will coast freely. Switch to B to dial up the regen braking, but it doesn’t get quite to that aggressive one-pedal driving level. 

Rear brakes are actually drums, which have less drag than disc, and are also more effective at recouping energy.  

For an EV, the ID.4’s look is quite traditional, and also quite interesting.

A hint of a grille between the headlights, along with a large VW logo, avoids the super smooth face of many EVs. 

In back there is a traditional lift-gate, as VW wanted the full capacity of a utility, not a tall hatchback. 19-inch wheels are standard with 20’s a part of the optional Gradient Package.

The big spoiler, 3D shape of the tail light cluster, lower diffuser, and flush mounted door handles are all designed to enhance airflow, helping efficiency and keeping things as quiet as possible for occupants.  

Most things inside the 5-passenger cabin are also familiar, except maybe the shifter, mounted on a bracket off the gauge panel housing behind the steering wheel.  It’s not super intuitive, but once you’ve figured it out, it works just fine.

While some dash and door materials look inexpensive, front seat comfort is very good. There’s lots of small item storage; and rear legroom is plentiful, again typical VW. 

Cargo space is close to what you’ll find throughout the compact crossover segment, 30.3 cubic-ft. behind the rear seats; 64.2, with them folded.  

2 trims are available, Pro and Pro S; technically 3 if you count the already spoken for First Editions. 

Plenty of standard equipment and safety features with Pro, including power seats. Plus heat for those seats and the steering wheel, and dual zone climate. Pro S upgrades to leather-like upholstery, power liftgate, and a large fixed panoramic glass roof with a welcomed sun shade. 

Pro S also upgrades the 10-inch infotainment screen to 12-inches; a secondary 5.3-inch screen replaces traditional gauges, and keeps you from having to look at the center stack for everything.  No real complaints here other than having to use the central touch screen for too many things.

Volkswagen’s new IQ.Drive safety suite includes standard lane keeping, forward collision mitigation, and even adaptive cruise control.   

Government Fuel Economy MPGe Ratings are 104-City, 89-Highway, and 97-Combined. 

Currently the ID.4 starts at $41,190 before government rebates. That, and a lower range base model coming later, make it price competitive with many other compact-utes. All-wheel-drive, when available, will add $3,680 more. 

The ID.4 is not so much an EV as we’ve come to know them; more like just another crossover that happens to be powered by batteries. Similar to what we saw in hybrid vehicles not long ago, when they stopped being unique vehicles, and just another familiar powertrain choice. So, the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 is not for people that want to stand out from the crowd. But rather, for those who just want an all-around fine, well thought out, fun to drive vehicle for their daily tasks, and who are not afraid to embrace what’s next.


  • Battery: 82-kWh
  • Horsepower: 201
  • Torque: 229 lb-ft
  • EV Range: 250 miles | 260 miles