2021 Volkswagen ID.4: Upping the stakes in the electric vehicle segment

Volkswagen left the North American market high and dry with its first all-electric ID.3 hatchback. But, as promised, the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 has finally made an appearance minus the groovy camouflage. And yes, the VW ID.4 is coming to America, and it has some good old American bravado to go along with it.

The newest ID.4 is Volkswagen's first all-electric SUV, and it's also the first of many VW electric vehicles in the pipeline. As Volkswagen aims to ramp up its all-electric vehicle portfolio by 2022 – while producing 1.5-million electrified vehicles per year come 2025 – it needs to captivate the American market by, what else, offering an electric SUV that Americans will love.

First off, the 2021 VW ID.4 is (obviously) a compact SUV, and this puts it right smack in the most popular automotive segment today. "We recognized there's an ever growing group of people and consumers in the U.S. that are no longer praying at the altar of the big, dinosaur footprint vehicle," said Scott Keogh, CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. "In fact, the segment for compact crossovers has now reached almost 25-percent, with one of every four new vehicles sold is a compact SUV."

The ID.4 is 1.4-inches shorter than the VW Tiguan, but the wheelbase is only less than an inch shorter at 108.9-inches. Riding on VW's modular electric drive architecture (MEB) platform, the ID.4's crisp edges, low greenhouse, molded side sections, and rising shoulder lines give it a sleek, aero-optimized look that is befitting of an EV. True to form, the VW ID.4's 0.28 drag coefficient is hard to ignore, although Tesla's Model X reigns supreme with a 0.24 Cd, although the competition between VW and Tesla is allegedly a healthy one.

"First and foremost, we admire Tesla," added Keogh. "They are pioneers and we respect them as competitors, but we consider Tesla as a fringe competitor, because we are wanting to achieve the same thing, and it doesn't serve our longer strategic mission to combat Tesla or other EV maker for that matter."

On the styling front, the newest ID.4 is unmistakably a Volkswagen. Granted the body lines and features are not as striking as the Jaguar I-PACE or the Tesla Model X, but those sweptback headlights and sculpted bumpers are enough to make a statement. The ID.4 is clearly a production version of the VW I.D. Crozz concept we first saw at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show and the 2019 Frankfurt Auto Show. In the ID.4 with the Statement package, you get a light bar DRL and an illuminated Volkswagen logo to make a bolder declaration.

All VW ID.4 models will also come with a body-color roof and standard 19-inch wheels, while the Statement package includes adaptive LED projector headlights, a panoramic fixed glass roof, and power side mirrors with built-in puddle lamps. Meanwhile, the Gradient package includes 20-inch wheels, a black roof, and silver roof rails. Overall, the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 is a nice-looking compact SUV.

"The ID.4 was engineered, loaded and priced to win the hearts of SUV owners who are simply ready to go electric—and fall in love with Volkswagen again," added Keogh. "It drives like a GTI, it has the packaging of a Tiguan and the purpose of the Beetle. All the best things about VW in one package." At launch, the VW ID.4 will have a single rear-mounted electric motor and an 82 kWh battery pack. This model is good for 201 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque and, according to Volkswagen, an EPA-rated driving range of 250 miles on a full charge.

This will be followed by a more powerful, dual-motor, all-wheel-drive variant arriving in late 2021, and VW promises a combined output of 302 horsepower. If you run out of juice, the ID.4 comes with three years of fast charging courtesy of Electrify America at no added cost, although you can charge the vehicle using both AC and DC fast-charging.

The ID.4 comes standard with an 11 kW onboard charger which VW claims is enough to replenish 33 miles of range in just a single hour of charging, but a Level 2 charger takes around 7.5 hours to fully charge the battery pack. If you find a 125 kW DC fast-charging station, though, the batteries can go from five to 80-percent charged in around 38 minutes.

On the inside, the newest VW ID.4 offers similar levels of room to the Tiguan despite having a smaller footprint. The front legroom is 41.1-inches while rear passengers have 37.6-inches of legroom to play with. Behind the second row, the ID.4 offers 30.3 cubic feet of cargo room, and you have a total of 64.2 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.

The interior is as modern as you would expect with a 5.3-inch digital instrument panel, a leather-wrapped tiller with touch-sensitive buttons, a rocker switch in place of a traditional gearshift lever, and a 10.0-inch infotainment display (higher trim models receive a larger 12-inch infotainment screen). Also standard in the ID.4 is natural voice control (which activates upon saying 'Hello ID'), dual-zone automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry, wireless mobile charging, and Volkswagen Car-Net with in-car Wi-Fi connectivity.

The 2021 VW ID.4 is also host to an abundant collection of safety and driver assistance technology. It has six airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, and VW's IQ.DRIVE. The latter features a comprehensive list of ADAS tech including forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and many more.

Further sweetening the deal are base prices starting at $39,995 for the entry-level single motor/RWD variant of the VW ID.4 (arriving in the first quarter of 2021) and this is before applying potential federal tax credits of up to $7,500. Volkswagen is quick to admit that ID.4 base prices are hovering close to the 2021 VW Tiguan SEL's $32,245 base price, and this is before considering VW and Electrify America's free three-year charging offer.

"We will not make a difference by trickling out high-priced, high-end, and low volume cars for a select few," added Keogh. "We are the makers of people's cars." Meanwhile, the ID.4 Pro with AWD arrives later next year, and VW claims base prices should start at $43,695 before tax credits. The Statement package is an additional $4,500, while the Gradient package costs $1,500 more.

Of course, VW is launching a 1st Edition model of the ID.4. starting at $43,995 before tax credits. The ID.4 1st Edition arrives later this year and comes with Electric White interior components, black mirror caps, a standard tow hitch, and unique 'pause' and 'play' logos on the brake pedals and accelerator.

The ID.4 will be sold across all 50 U.S. states throughout 600 VW dealerships, while localized production begins in 2022 at VW's Chattanooga assembly plant in Tennessee. Want more good news? Volkswagen is opening the reservation books today, and you can stake your place in line by placing an refundable $100 reservation fee.