Volkswagen makes another important step towards a complete electrified range, pioneered by the already launched ID.3. The ID range is now expanding with the introduction of its first SUV. In fact, it is the first electric SUV in Volkswagen’s history.

The ID.4 electric compact SUV is based on the modular electric drive architecture (MEB). While it is the brand’s newest platform, it also represents a return to Volkswagen’s roots, with the electric motor located at the rear, just like the original Beetle.

The ID.4 sits squarely in the middle of the compact SUV segment, size-wise. It is 4.6 inches shorter than the Volkswagen Tiguan, at 180.5 inches, with a 0.9 inch shorter wheelbase at 108.9 inches. It is 1.9 inches lower than Tiguan at 64.4 inches high for the rear-wheel drive model, and 0.5 inches wider, at 72.9 inches.

The heart of the ID.4 is a battery pack comprised of 288 pouch cells in 12 modules. At launch, the vehicle will be offered with an 82kWh (gross) battery and a rear-mounted AC permanent-magnet synchronous motor with 201 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque. Volkswagen estimates that the ID.4 82kWh RWD 1st Edition models will have a range of 250 miles with a full charge on the EPA cycle. A powerful, electric all-wheel-drive variant with 302 hp will follow later in 2021.

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The ID.4 also comes with three years of fast charging with Electrify America at no additional cost, helping to reduce range anxiety. The ID.4 can be charged with both alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) fast-charging capability. The 11 kW onboard charger allows the ID.4 to charge the battery 33 miles in about one hour, and charges to full in around seven and a half hours at a home or public Level 2 charger. At a DC fast-charging station, with 125 kW charging, the ID.4 can go from five to 80 percent charged in about 38 minutes.

The chassis and body are made from steel. The front suspension is a strut-type with lower control arms, coil springs, telescopic dampers and anti-roll bar. In the rear, the ID.4 uses a multi-link rear axle with coil springs, telescopic dampers and an anti-roll bar. With 3.5 turns lock-to-lock and a stellar curb-to-curb turning radius of 33.5 feet, the ID.4 feels nimble, especially among other compact SUVs.

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A combination of brake types is used on ID.4. It features disc brakes on the front wheels and drum brakes on the rear—the difference being specific to electric vehicle needs. As EVs rely on regenerative braking, disc brakes on the rear can be less effective then drums after long periods of not being put to heavy use.

Passenger volume is similar to the Tiguan despite the overall smaller footprint, with 99.9 cubic feet total. Legroom is a comfortable 41.1 inches for front passengers and 37.6 inches in the rear seat. Cargo volume is 30.3 cubic feet behind the second row, and 64.2 cubic feet with the seats folded.

The interior of the ID.4 mirrors the futuristic look of the exterior, with functionality almost completely controlled by touch or voice control. The 5.3-inch ID.Cockpit (digital driver display) replaces the traditional instrument cluster and is operated with touch-sensitive controls on the leather-wrapped multifunction heated steering wheel. Three tiles show the most important information, with the display for battery status and range underneath. The traditional gearshift is replaced by a large rocker switch on the right of the ID.Cockpit, and a con trol panel to the left of the steering wheel integrates the lighting functions, including automatic headlights.

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A 10-inch Discover Pro touch infotainment display is located in the middle of the dash panel, angled slightly towards the driver. This screen can be configured to driver preference, and manages the standard navigation system, all telematics, entertainment, driver-assistance systems and vehicle settings; it is upgraded to a 12-inch Discover Pro Max infotainment display with the Statement package. Menus can be moved using gesture control, simply swiping one’s hand in front of the screen. Sliders for volume and temperature adjustment are located on the inclined surface below the display.

The steering wheel, steering column, and the housings for the display and control panels in the doors are finished in Piano Black. Seats in the ID.4 are finished in black cloth on entry models and Lunar Gray or Galaxy Black leatherette on models with the Statement package. Entry ID.4 models feature six-way adjustable seats with power recline, while the Statement package adds 12-way power seats, with massage lumbar and memory, as well as 30-color ambient lighting.