This article was originally published by Steve Schaefer on Clean the fleet report, a publication that provides readers with the information they need to switch to the best fuel economy cars and trucks, including electric cars, fuel cells, plug-in hybrids, hybrids, and advanced diesel and gasoline engines.
VW’s Electric rebirth in America begins
After years of anticipation, I was finally able to see and touch a Volkswagen ID.4 crossover Back in mid-September. I examined it from every angle, sat on the seats and manipulated the controls. But only yesterday I got behind the wheel of this Volkswagen game changer for the US market.
The look behind the wheel
VW gave me 45 minutes for myself on a route where I could measure the behavior of the white crossover on city streets, highways and empty, narrow country roads. The good news is that the prototype model did well, thanks!
Like my visit in September, this test was carefully prepared with cleansing, masks and distancing. I took the virus-free test drive alone after having a masked conversation in the parking lot with the friendly VW press representatives on a glorious autumn day in Northern California.
In the ID.4 you have the feeling of sitting high – just as American buyers demand – but with a low center of gravity thanks to the battery under the floor. When you turn the fat steering wheel, the ID.4 reacts. It’s so fun and as easy to slide into a corner as a golf. The powerful motor happily moves the car forward when you hit the accelerator.
With low batteries you sit high, but corner well
As EV you can select D for Drive or B for Rain with a click of the switch mounted on the dashboard with ID.4 so that you can drive a single pedal if necessary. I found regeneration on the back roads, but switched it off on the autobahn so that I could take my foot off the right pedal every now and then.
In the country, the quiet drive train provides the exhilaration you experience with electric vehicles – a feeling of flying and amazement at so much movement in a whisper. The ID.4 has a lot of glass – including a huge sunroof – so you can see outside but don’t have to hear it. The car hums “Hey, pedestrians!” Noises when reversing and when it is moving slowly (for parking lots) but you won’t hear it while driving.
The interior is angular but not over the top, and the small info pod on the steering wheel serves as a source of instant information without being overwhelming. The middle dashboard has a number of rectangles to choose from. There you can:
- Set up and start using your phone
- Select radio and other media
- Configure and use a clear navigation system
- Configure vehicle settings
- Connect to apps (including Android Auto and Apple Carplay).
- Fine adjustment of the audio tone
- Customize a selection of colorful ambient lights
- Request help
The crossover profile
A longer term test gives me a chance to really take advantage of these options, but I can say the audio worked just fine and the navigation was useful when I was in a different location than indicated on my printed route.
The seats were comfortable for the ride and I can imagine taking longer trips in this new car. With a official range of 250 miles, you could build in a charging station to make the trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
A load to LA
The ID.4 introduces a new design language in America. The Europeans enjoyed that ID.3 hatchback Been a while, but VW decided this will be our first taste of VW’s new EV line. While VWs have always placed form over function, this design offers softer, more sensual surfaces with a friendly, adult face and taut details.
You can place one order now and expect a car in early 2021. Right now, your ID.4 is being built overseas, but the Chattanooga, Tennessee plant will begin manufacturing ID.4 soon. This should increase availability and be the beginning of the lower-cost entry-level model.
The next step is going to be a week long trial and we can’t wait. With a new look and powertrain, the Volkswagen ID.4 could have the impact of the Beetle or the Golf for VW in today’s rapidly evolving automotive world.
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Published on December 29, 2020 – 01:00 UTC