On Wednesday, in an Internet livestream, Volkswagen unveiled the ID.4 crossover. Designed from the ground up as a battery-electric vehicle, it’s part of a huge electrification plan that VW embarked on in the wake of dieselgate and the first of the new VW BEVs to reach these shores. More than that, it was designed with the US market firmly in mind. No edgy European hatchback or city car here—this is pure crossover.

I thought ID.4 was a Will Smith film?

The ID.4 is one of a number of new BEVs that VW is building using a big box of interchangeable parts called MEB (Modularer E-Antriebs-Baukasten or Modular Electrification Toolkit). (Yes, that is a whole lot of acronyms.) We’ve seen MEB wrapped up in a number of different concept cars over the past few years and even drove one last year. But the first production model—the Europe-only ID.3 hatchbackstarted deliveries across the pond a few weeks ago, following some software- and COVID-19-related delays.

That car was deemed too much of a risk for the US market, which emphatically likes its VWs as crossovers these days. I got a chance to poke around a production prototype last week, and it’s one of those rare cases where the transformation from concept to road-legal actually improved things. Size-wise, it’s a little smaller than a VW Tiguan, at 180.5 inches (4,585mm) long, 72.9 inches (1,852mm) wide, and 64.4 inches (1,636mm) tall. There are some styling tricks in effect—the black panels along the sills and the trailing edges of the C pillars—but as with the Ford Mustang Mach-E, they’re actually quite successful in detracting from some of the ID.4’s visual bulk. For those keeping score, the drag coefficient is 0.28; no word on frontal area, though.

On the inside, things are subtle, not flashy. LED cabin lighting is customizable, and the cream steering wheel and trim pieces of the First Edition work to offset all the dark gray and black. The multifunction steering wheel conforms to recent VW layouts but uses flush surfaces and haptic feedback instead of discrete buttons. Ahead of the driver is a 5.3-inch instrument panel for important information like speed, navigation, and alerts, with a drive selector poking out on the right, similar to a BMW i3. One thing you won’t find is the augmented reality heads-up display that has been causing VW headaches with the ID.3—VW’s North American arm decided that bit of tech wasn’t quite mature enough for us.

There are two touchscreen infotainment systems—one with a 10-inch screen, another with a 12-inch display. Below the infotainment screen are controls for the climate, volume, and a few other settings and switches that VW’s engineers thought should always be easily accessible. There are USB-C ports for front and rear seats, wireless charging for a phone in the center console, and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (and Mirrorlink, I think) as standard. The ID.4 also features natural-language voice commands, which I will endeavor to test out when Ars gets a few minutes behind the wheel of an ID.4 later this month.

Hopefully I won’t also have to test out all of the car’s advanced driver assistance systems. Safety sells, and so the ID.4 comes with a standard ADAS suite that includes front and rear collision warning and emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and lane keeping.

How far will it go?

To begin with, the ID.4 will come in a single powertrain configuration: a rear-mounted 150kW (201hp), 309Nm (228lb-ft) permanent magnet synchronous motor, coupled to an 82kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The pack is composed of 288 pouch cells arranged in 12 modules, with a total capacity of 82kWh, although we expect only 77kWh will be available to the driver.

The official EPA efficiency numbers will have to wait until closer to the start of deliveries (again, early next year), but VW says the ID.4 should have at least 250 miles (402km) of range on a single charge. Once you’ve driven that far, recharging is via an 11kW onboard AC-DC charger, or DC fast charging at up to 125kW. At home or on a public L2 charger it should take about seven-and-a-half hours to fully charge, or about 33 miles/53km of range per hour. Connected to a DC fast charger, expect to go from 5- to 80-percent state of charge in 38 minutes, and 2021 ID.4s will come with three years of unlimited sessions at Electrify America chargers.

Later in 2021, a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive version of the ID.4 will show up. The front axle will use an induction motor, giving this ID.4 a total power output of 225kW (302hp). And although no one is confirming anything right now, I’d expect an ID.4 R version with more power than that at some point in the model’s lifespan.

How much?

The standard rear-wheel-drive ID.4 Pro starts at $39,995 before the $7,500 IRS tax credit or any local incentives are taken into account. (Leases will start at $379 a month for 36 months, plus $3,579 to start.) There are two options packages available: the $4,000 Statement package adds 12-way seats covered in leatherette, a panoramic glass roof (which does have a retractable sunshade, thankfully) a powered tailgate, that interior LED lighting, and more. There’s also a $1,500 Gradient package that adds 20-inch alloy wheels and those black accents, although you have to also take the Statement package to get this one.

The fully loaded 1st Editions will cost a pretty reasonable $43,995, considering it includes the Statement and Gradient packs. There are some unique features to these ID.4s, including the “play” and “pause” symbols on the pedals, the white accents, some 1st Edition-badging, and a tow hitch (the ID.4 is rated to tow 2,700lbs/1,224kg).

Later in 2021, the all-wheel drive ID.4 Pro goes on sale at $43,695 (before tax credits and so on), with the same standard equipment and options packages as the rear-drive model.

Things get a bit more interesting in 2022, when local production of the ID.4 begins at VW’s Chattanooga factory in Tennessee. These crossovers won’t be subject to any import duties and will use locally made cells from SK, rather than the LG Chem cells used in cars built at Zwickau in Germany. This is when VW will start building ID.4s with a smaller battery—probably 62kWh (with a usable 58kWh), which it says should drop the price to “about $35,000.”

Listing image by Jonathan Gitlin

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