First Impressions: Mary Drives the VW ID.4

by | May 18, 2021

Today’s Post by Mary and Joe Farace

As a lifelong Volkswagen enthusiast. Mary was invited to test drive the new VW ID.4 electric crossover this past Saturday at Park Meadows Mall. She took me along for a ride and here’s how it went…

The test drive itself was mapped out by VW and displayed on a handsome 10-inch screen; a 12-inch display is available with the optional Statement package. As test drives goes it was maybe a bit short and was hindered by too much 15 mph driving around Park Meadows’ parking lot before dumping us out onto the road opposite the massive traffic jam that’s part of the In-N-Out Burger craze that’s been going on since February. The route did include a bit of highway driving, which the ID.4 handled with aplomb.

Before starting out on our drive, a VW representative explained to Mary how the cars cleverly designed, column mounted (it doesn’t look like one) shifter worked. While it’s largely intuitive, once explained, I kept wondering why VW felt they had to reinvent the shifter concept. If the ID.4 had a shifter like the one Subaru uses in it’s CVT cars, no explanation would be necessary. Or better yet, bring back the simple-to-understand push-button shifter that Chrysler used in the early 60’s, like I had in my 1964 Barracuda.

Right now the ID.4 is available in two models: The 1st Edition, shades of the late Kenny Rogers, and the Pro. Our test car was a rear drive 1st Edition and was priced at, according to what the VW representative told us, at $45,000 while the VW website says $43,995 but may not include the inevitable “destination charges.” An all wheel drive version of the ID.4 is supposed to be available in October. To be fair, the much smaller BMW I3 costs $44,500.

The car’s build quality was good and what you might expect from VW and the fit, finish and materials was similar in quality to the Mary’s 2016 Beetle convertible that cost $25,490 when new. A 2021 ICE-powered Audi Q5 complete with it’s uglified grill and is about four-inches longer than the ID.4 , costs $43,000. When Car & Driver reviewed the Q5 it said the “fit and finish are still exemplary…” The ID.4’s fit and finish, while nice is not exemplary. The seats in the ID.4 are comfortable and may be better than the Audi Q5’s which are often criticized for not being all that comfortable, although that has not been Mary’s own experience with the Q5’s that she has rented while traveling for her company.

For those of you with range anxiety, the EPA rates the ID. 4 Pro model’s fuel economy at 107 MPGe city and 91 MPGe highway with a driving range estimate of 260 miles. The First Edition cars are rated lower at 104 MPGe city, 89 MPGe highway, and with 250 miles of range. By comparison the similarly priced BMW I3 has a 150 mile range.

The ride on the 1st Edition’s 20-inch wheels and Bridgestone tires was adequate but rougher that Mary’s 2018 Ford Escape that rides on 17-inch wheels and are clad in Continental Cross Contact LX tires. The regular ID.4 has 19-inch wheels and that would be a better choice for a smoother, maybe quieter ride. The big, heavy 20-inch wheels obviously accounts for the decreased range. While the ID.4 lacks the engine noise of an ICE vehicle it’s far from quiet, a trait that seems to be shared with almost every modern (affordable) car that I’ve driven recently. I blame it on car designer’s infatuation with big wheels and low profile (and even worse, run flat) tires.

If I have given the impression that I was not impressed with the ID.4 it’s because I wasn’t. Mary, because she is the very epitome of a Libra personality, finds the good in everything, but while she liked the ID.4, she was lukewarm on the subject of the car. At the end of the drive, a VW representative asked if you would be interesting in placing a $100 deposit to buy an ID.4 and we both said no.

If you would like to see more First Impression drives or maybe real test drives as I did back in the early days of this blog, click Contact and let us know.

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