As someone who’s owned and operated their fair share of EVs, I was looking forward to experiencing Volkswagen’s first truly mainstream electric vehicle, the VW ID.4 SUV. As a part of a #vwpartner collaboration with Volkswagen, I got the opportunity to drive the VW ID.4 for a few days. What I found was an SUV for the masses that is easy to adapt to if you’re coming from a traditional gas-powered vehicle.

The VW ID.4 also features plenty of tech, including wireless CarPlay on a large available 12-inch display, and available wireless charging. Watch our hands-on video for the details.

Wake up and go

One of the best benefits of owning an electric vehicle is waking up with a full charge each morning. That means no wondering about how much gas is left in the tank, and no annoying detours to the gas station. You simply wake up, unplug, and get going to your destination. Once you get used to this aspect of owning an electric vehicle, it’s hard to go back.

Driving and performance

One of the things that surprised me about the VW ID.4 is how easy it makes it to move from a gas-powered vehicle to an electric SUV. VW has resisted the temptation to make the ID.4 weird or overly quirky just because it’s electric. This is an SUV first and foremost, and it drives similarly to gas-powered vehicles.

Hands-on with the Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV

Although it’s not a performance vehicle, the VW ID.4 has enough power for everyday tasks like merging on the highway and passing in traffic. Volkswagen will have other offerings, including the AWD version of the ID.4, if you’re looking for additional power.

What stood out most for me was how responsive the vehicle was, especially when turning. The turning radius is very good for an SUV of this size, making it easy to do u-turns. This was a huge departure from my daily driver, which feels like driving a small boat in comparison.

Another mainstay of electric vehicles is regenerative braking, which will slow acceleration while simultaneously recharging the battery. While the ID.4 doesn’t feature so-called “one-pedal driving,” you can easily enable stronger regenerative braking, which means using the actual brakes a lot less.

Storage

The VW ID.4 is a real SUV and can accommodate five individuals comfortably. VW notes that it provides more passenger volume than the 2021 Toyota RAV 4.

There is plenty of storage in the rear of the vehicle, thanks to the split rear folding seats. Accessing that rear storage is easy with the powered liftgate. You’ll also find two hidden storage compartments in the back, which are great for hiding valuables or less-often-used items.

CarPlay

CarPlay brings a seamless iPhone experience to your vehicle’s primary display, providing safer interaction with your phone while bringing Siri voice control and text-to-speech to your vehicle. CarPlay brings Apple Maps, Apple Music, Podcasts, and even third-party apps to the VW ID.4 in a simple and safe manner. Of course, you can also make phone calls or listen and respond to text messages using your voice.

As someone who drives an electric vehicle that will probably never have CarPlay, I didn’t realize how much I missed the feature until driving the ID.4. For an iPhone user (the vehicle also supports Android Auto), the convenience of CarPlay can’t be overstated, and the VW ID.4’s available 12-inch screen makes the CarPlay experience stand out.

As an Apple Music subscriber, one of my favorite things about CarPlay, and one of the features that I miss the most on my daily driver, is Apple Music. CarPlay provides access to the entire library of over 75 million songs and allows you to request any of them on-demand with a simple voice command. Even better is the fact that your entire curated music library, including all of your playlist and albums, is easily accessible.

CarPlay is a feature that I’ve enjoyed in other vehicles, but to have it presented on the VW ID.4’s massive 12-inch display makes apps like Apple Maps even easier to use. CarPlay also works with third-party mapping applications like Google Maps and Waze.

The VW ID.4 includes a couple of additional available tech options that make CarPlay even better. For starters, there’s wireless CarPlay connectivity, which means you don’t have to plug in any cables to get connected – simply get in the vehicle, and it automatically connects to your iPhone. Secondly, the VW ID.4 features a wireless charger, which means your phone can stay charged even though it’s not connected to a physical cable.

Additional standout features

In additional to CarPlay, there are other standout features offered that I enjoyed:

  • A panoramic roof, but also a retractable sunshade to keep the cabin from getting too hot.
  • Massaging driver and passenger seats.
  • Customizable RGB ambient lighting for the footwell, doors, and dash.

Electrify America

I stopped at my local Electrify America charging station, which is one of over 600 such charging stations around the country (with another 100+ coming soon).

Charging is easy, and you can monitor the charging status on the 12-inch display. In addition, Plug and Charge is coming, which will make charging even easier than pumping gas. Compared to the average gas vehicle, the VW ID.4 electric SUV can provide as much as $4000 in estimated fuel cost savings over five years.

Conclusion

Driving the all-electric Volkswagen ID.4 means zero direct emissions, which is great for the environment. While that might make you feel good, the car also has to be practical and work for you to be truly tenable. That’s why I think the VW ID.4, and vehicles like it, will play a big role in the advancement of electrification here locally, and in other areas around the world.

The Volkswagen ID.4 is practical, it also has the tech, the storage, and the down-to-earth design language. Combined with the familiar functionality, and it’s easy to see why this electric SUV will make it easy to transition from a gas-powered vehicle.

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