Volkswagen invited us all the way down to Chattanooga, Tennessee, for a quick drive of an ID.4 electrical crossover prototype alongside a Mazda CX-5 AWD. Since we made the journey from our Kentucky base to VW’s United States headquarters in a VW Tiguan SE-L Premium R-Line 4Motion, we had a consultant trio for our temporary comparability check.
In April this 12 months, the CX-5 and Tiguan completed first and second, respectively, in our six-way compact crossover comparo. Because the ID.4’s debut per week in the past, VW has burdened its need for the ID.4 to be seen as a competitor for combustion-engine choices in addition to electrical challengers such because the Tesla Mannequin Y, Ford Mustang Mach-E, and Hyundai Kona Electrical. That offers the electrical German fairly the duty—convincing customers to step away from the safety of the acquainted whereas overcoming the lure of Japanese juggernauts just like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.
The ID.4’s appears to be like arguably straddle a center floor, extra unique than the ICE competitors however much less racy than the Mach-E and Mannequin Y, which have steeply raked coupe rooflines. The ID.4’s roof sits 1.9 inches decrease than a Tiguan, however its 8.2 inches of floor clearance (for the European mannequin) is 0.3 inches greater than the Tiguan provides, guaranteeing it skews extra crossover than wagon. The VW’s rear bumper blends some surprising traces and textures, however total it presents a fulsome, good-looking kind. If somebody changed the VW badges with these from Citroen’s DS luxurious line, we would not have recognized higher.
The form strikes via the air cleanly sufficient, VW citing a coefficient of drag of 0.28, matching the Audi e-tron. The Tesla Mannequin Y is available in at a claimed 0.23, whereas Ford has solely dedicated to a determine “under 0.30” for the Mach-E.
Since we had been driving a prototype, we will not ship closing judgment on points corresponding to noise, vibration, and harshness, that are nonetheless present process tuning and the place there’s clearly work to be accomplished. Each ID.4 comes with keyless entry, the crossover powered up and primed to go as quickly as the motive force takes his seat and presses the brake pedal. At that time, the EV is silent. Get shifting, and the ear detects the Jetsons-like whir frequent to each EV, however the motor additionally emits a delicate, high-pitched whine because it spools as much as its 16,000-rpm peak. We may hear the whine contained in the cabin and, rolling down the home windows at low speeds, affirm that it could possibly be additionally heard outdoors the automobile.
The prototype rode on European-spec all-season Pirelli P Zeros that created a light resonant thrum on all however probably the most polished street surfaces. U.S. fashions will get a collection of Hankook, Pirelli, or Bridgestone all-season rubber, relying on tire measurement. Aerodynamic sleight of hand retains wind noise on par for the phase, the turbulence no worse at 65 mph than it was at 35.
After we had an opportunity for spirited runs on a 30-mile suburban loop, we found a squishy brake pedal with lengthy journey. Volkswagen matches drums on the ID.4’s rear axle, identical as on the ID.3. VW says an EV’s typical responsibility cycle contains a lot regenerative braking that “disc brakes on the rear may be much less efficient than drums after lengthy intervals of not being put to heavy use.” That sounds to us like a cost-saving measure wrapped in a efficiency justification. Even the Chevrolet Bolt makes use of four-wheel disc brakes, and that automobile may be stopped utilizing Fred Flintstone’s best-foot-forward approach. We most popular the ID.4’s B mode, which will increase brake power recuperation to make driving largely a one-pedal operation.
All of these points, besides the drum brakes, may be tuned to satisfaction with some extra consideration from the engineers.
Within the stable win column, the ID.4 was clearly the perfect dealing with machine in our trio. A wholesome portion of the ID.4’s benefit got here from being the one rear-wheel driver of the bunch. VW likes to pepper GTI references into conversations concerning the ID.4’s dealing with. That is a bit optimistic, however solely a bit. In our April crossover check, we mentioned, “The Tiguan seems like a GTI for accountable adults,” minus some agility and street hugging. The ID.4 seems like a GTI for electrical crossover patrons, providing the identical playfulness that distinguishes the Tiguan.
The e-motor’s most output of 228 pound-feet of torque is not beneficiant for a automobile weighing a claimed 4559 kilos in base Professional trim, however the on the spot utility of each pound-foot delivered slightly snap of the top with every stab on the throttle. Volkswagen hasn’t but pegged a zero-to-60-mph time, solely saying it is lower than 7.8 seconds, which sounds in keeping with the rated 201 horsepower. Steering is sharp, the crossover’s stubby nostril straightforward to position on a selected line. And the ID.4’s 33.6-foot turning circle is 1.8 toes smaller than the Chevrolet Bolt’s.
Damping and physique management are glorious, with physique roll checked by a 24-mm anti-roll bar in entrance and a 22.5-mm bar out again. It took extra work within the ID.4 than the CX-5 or Tiguan to get the tires to beg for mercy, and there is a small window for utilizing the throttle to position the rear wheels. As soon as you’ve got overcooked 4,600 kilos of RWD compact crossover into an acute nook, although, there aren’t any heroics to aim. It is time to get laborious on the brakes.
We’ll want to attend for an actual drive time in a retail mannequin to render a closing verdict. However the ID.4 prototype wasn’t removed from delivering the nice EV atmosphere we would count on, and it already stands out because of its type. In contrast to the coupe-roofed competitors, it hasn’t sacrificed roominess or utility for appears to be like. Dynamically, the little crossover already delivers, a chunky pup sport to get friskier than virtually any of its patrons will ever demand. The AWD mannequin guarantees to be even higher, particularly if VW applications some spirited torque shuffling between the entrance and rear motors.
Already priced under the Mach-E and Mannequin Y earlier than federal and state reductions, patrons who apply the total $7,500 federal tax credit score can pocket wholesome financial savings by selecting the VW over the Ford or Tesla. Even after the federal credit score, although, the ID.4 expenses a notable premium over status-quo fashions just like the CR-V and CX-5. We’re skeptical that VW’s EV will siphon off a considerable variety of conventional compact crossover patrons, however the ID.4 is an enormous transfer in the suitable route.
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