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2021 Volkswagen ID.4 AWD First Drive: A Tad Less Range, Much More Power
AP

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 AWD First Drive: A Tad Less Range, Much More Power

Volkswagen ID.4 AWD two motor

Volkswagen’s 2021 ID.4 electric crossover plants a flag on the hill of “everyday crossover, but electric,” in a way that only makes sense from the company that brought the Beetle to the masses decades ago. Now, the all-wheel-drive (AWD) version of the ID.4 is here, and it brings a pinch of excitement to the model that broadens its appeal even further.

Like the rear-wheel-drive ID.4, the AWD models are offered in “Pro” and “Pro S” trim (the already sold-out First Edition trim was offered as rear-wheel drive only). The 2021 ID.4 AWD Pro is priced at $44,870, including the $1,195 destination fee and is well-equipped: standard features include Volkswagen’s “IQ.Drive” safety tech suite, keyless access, a 10-inch infotainment screen, dual-zone climate control, six-way heated front seats, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, wireless phone charging, 19-inch wheels, and more.

The Pro S adds a 12-inch infotainment screen, 12-way leatherette power front seats with massage function, a hands-free easy-open/close hatch, a panoramic sunroof, power-adjustable/folding side mirrors with puddle lights, and LED headlights with Volkswagen’s new light bar, which connects the headlights across the horizontal length of the front grill, for $49,370 including destination. In addition, there’s a $1,500 “Gradient Package” for the AWD Pro S, which includes a black roof, silver roof rails and accents, a silver C-pillar, and 20-inch wheels.

Pricing doesn’t indicate the tax credits ID.4 models are likely to be eligible for; There’s the $7,500 Federal tax credit and any perhaps state-specific incentives. Depending on which state the ID.4 AWD is purchased, it could effectively be had in the mid/high $30,000 range, making its standard equipment even more impressive.

Volkswagen ID.4 AWD Pro two motor
The ID.4 is rated to tow up to 2700 pounds, but as with most EVs, it can dramatically reduce your range. Volkswagen

ID.4 Pro: Two Motors, 249-Mile Range

Under the hood is a 107-horsepower asynchronous front motor paired to the 201-horsepower permanent magnet synchronous rear motor of the rear-wheel drive model. The extra equipment adds 223 pounds to the ID.4 AWD’s curb weight but achieves a giant boost in power, to 295 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque. (The rear-wheel drive ID. 4’s single motor is rated for 201 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque.) The AWD ID.4 is said to be able to rip off a 5.4-second 0-60 MPH run. So yes, it’s actually pretty quick.

The ID.4 AWD’s range isn’t quite as good as its rear-wheel drive counterpart, but it is still very impressive: The Pro is rated at 102/90/97 MPGe and the Pro S 98/88/93 MPGe. The 249-mile range of the AWD Pro and 240 of the Pro S lose 11 and ten miles to the range of the rear-wheel ID.4 models, respectively.

Compatible with levels 1, 2 an 3 charging, Volkswagen is including three years of free, fast charging at Electrify America stations, where the ID.4 is said to charge from five to 80% in only 38 minutes on the 125kW DC chargers. The 11kW charger in the ID.4 AWD will charge to 100% in about seven and a half hours on a 240v level 2 charger, or it can be plugged into a standard home outlet, where it’ll draw 3 miles per hour.

The careful but good-looking design of the 2021 ID.4 is intensely focused on improving aerodynamic efficiency, paying off in a .28 drag coefficient. The styling isn’t a radical departure from anything else in its class. Still, the flair of the LED unibrow, wide rear fenders, and long spoiler in the back make it stand out both as a current-generation Volkswagen and as something different than the regular Volkswagen—and without any of the frumpiness previously associated with electric mobility.

Volkswagen ID.4 AWD Pro two motor
The ID.4’s interior is a study in minimalism; purposeful, but not sparse. Volkswagen

Spacious Interior

Practically speaking, the amount and use of space inside the ID.4 is impressive. Volkswagen’s engineers took full advantage of the absence of a traditional transmission (or resulting tunnel), using the extra space to stretch the cabin forward, extend the center console, and leave a clean, flat floor along the back bench, where everyone under about 6-foot-five will find considerable headroom.

Behind the 60/40-splitting rear seats of the ID.4 AWD lies a generous 30.3 cubic-feet of cargo storage. Drop the rear seats down, and that balloons to 64.2 cubic-feet. If the need arises for just a little bit more space, the Pro S model has a rear cargo floor panel that drops down to give that last bit of room that might make the difference between, “We’ll take it” and, “Do you offer delivery?”

Surfaces and materials are mostly good in the 2021 ID.4 AWD; some cheaper-looking plastic, especially in the dashboard, is offset by the leather-wrapped steering wheel (standard on all models) with its multitude of haptic controls or the leatherette of the Pro S’ 12-way power front seats.

Volkswagen ID.4 AWD Pro
Cargo room measures 30.3 cubic-feet with the rear seatbacks in place and 64.2 with them folded flat. Volkswagen

ID.4 Technology

The tech in the ID.4 AWD is both clever and aimed at being useful rather than flashy. For example, a 5.3-inch digital screen replaces the traditional instrument panel and is attached to the steering column so that when it’s adjusted, the screen moves along with it, eliminating the chance of blocking vital information in the process.

The multimedia system, with its 10- or 12-inch screen, is Volkswagen’s latest, and haptic controls are found all around the cockpit. While the preference for haptic touch controls may be a matter of opinion (we’ll welcome the shift back to tactile controls), some features have become unnecessarily complicated as a result. You’ll take your eyes off the wheel to find the touch-button that allows mirror adjustment, or even rear window control, for instance. A playful feature is the purple light bar that runs along the seam between the dashboard and windshield, indicating information like the status of the battery as it charges or signaling upcoming turns to the driver.

On the road, it’s hard not to be tickled a bit by a full 339 pound-feet of torque pulling the 2021 ID.4 AWD from a stop. Sure, it can’t be said that the ID.4 (or perhaps anything with hundreds of pounds of batteries onboard) is geared for racing around the mountains, but even the steering has good weight and accuracy. You sometimes feel the ID.4’s mass through the suspension, and the brake tuning could use some work—particularly when scrubbing off significant speed. On the other hand, put to practical use, that suspension offers a nice ride around town, and the turning radius is just 36.4 feet.

Minor criticisms aside, its good range, nice complement of standard equipment, excellent interior and cargo space make the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 AWD a compelling crossover SUV, electric or not. A Federal tax credit, plus any possible state incentives, could make it an absolute steal.


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