Test drive: VW ID.4 gets updates for 2023 model year | the cars

VW ID.4 starts

For those anti-EV people (and there are a lot of them) you might just call them bigger versions of a golf cart. My tester this week may already adopt such a reputation. The 2023 Volkswagen ID.4 is a small SUV equipped with an electric battery. It’s an excellent people mover and would be ideal in the city as a commuter vehicle, as long as the trip takes you less than 275 miles a day.

In golf cart terms, that would be a month’s worth of golf. That sarcastic moniker aside, the 2023 ID.4 has a lower price and a smaller battery. The 62-kilowatt-hour battery version, which only fits a range of about 209 miles, is priced from $38,995. Now my tester was the 82-kWh version and the higher-end Pro S, which carries a 275-mile range and a higher price ($51,295). So the jump up in range comes at a steep bump in MSRP as well.


What’s new in the 2023 VW ID.4?

However, the ID.4 is part of Volkswagen’s electrified future, with the ID nameplate appearing on future SUVs and including a new version of the hippie-like bus (ID Buzz).

Other new features for the 2023 VW ID.4 include a 12-inch infotainment display, park assist, and new colors and trim. In addition, the German automaker is moving the manufacturing of this electric car to its factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Design-wise, the ID.4, Volkswagen’s first all-electric SUV, has a simple and timeless look. It doesn’t feel quite as new as other electric cars, or as funky as the aforementioned ID Buzz. The overall conservative design suits this car well. Other than the closed grid, it’s hard to tell this was an electric car and I think that’s a good thing. The new glossy black accents adorning the front bumper immediately caught my attention.

2023 Volkswagen ID.4 Back

The Volkswagen ID.4 is a small SUV and the first all-electric SUV from Volkswagen.

How fast is the ID.4?

The powertrain is simple. Very simple actually. That’s why I think the “golf cart” comparison should be relied upon. The 82-kWh dual electric motor is the most powerful offering and generates 295 horsepower and 328 pound-feet of torque. That’s a lot of output, although it still feels like “torque” compared to other EVs. It lacks the athleticism and instant torque release of other electric vehicles. Plus there’s no single pedal driving. Overall, performance is adequate but also lacking in enthusiasm.

For me, electric cars are fun because of the roller coaster ride and lots of torque. The ID.4 seems to keep that a bit repetitive. It’s worth noting that the single-motor version only gets 201 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque, making it much closer to the “glorious golf cart.”

2023 Volkswagen ID.4 Interior 2

A new, larger infotainment screen is one of the upgrades for the 2023 ID.4.

High-end interior

Inside, the ID.4 looks more upscale than some competitors. This is definitely as it was meant to be. With coordinated leather materials throughout the interior, it looks nicer than other Volkswagen cars. There’s a choice between Galaxy and Cosmic finishes (I love those names). Galaxy cars, like the one I drove, are finished with black leather seats paired with platinum gray bolsters, door inserts, and instrument panel, with a black steering wheel and displays. Vehicles with the Cosmic interior were equipped with matching gray leather seat inserts with blue bolsters, door inserts, and a dashboard with a steering wheel and white displays.

How much does the VW ID.4 cost?

As for models, VW keeps it simple with three models – Standard/Pro, S and S Plus, each with a larger battery, a smaller battery and with all-wheel drive (AWD) or with rear-wheel drive (RWD). I’ll admit, rear-wheel drive sounds like it could be fun, but my tester had all-wheel drive which meant it was well-behaved and confident.

My tester had a starting price of $51,295. Final MSRP with destination charge was $52,985.

2023 Volkswagen ID.4 interior

The back seat of a 2023 Volkswagen ID.4.

What is the ID.4 domain?

Estimated range of the dual, 82-kWh motor (with all-wheel drive) is about 275 miles. I got my test device down to about 40 miles of range remaining before I charged it to about 80 percent. It took approximately 40 minutes to reach this charge level at a Level 2 public charging station. The cost was about $18. Here lie the problems people face with electric vehicles. It’s not so much about range as it is about the “comfort” factor.

If you are considering purchasing an electric vehicle, it is essential to have a Level 2 charging system in your home. Hence the inconveniences of owning an electric car are greatly reduced.

The 2023 VW ID.4 may not be the “sexy” of all electric vehicle options, but for Volkswagen trucks, it’s one to consider. A 275 mile range is good for most scenarios as a daily driver. Just a glorified golf cart? Pfft, barely.

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