VW’s first electric SUV gets updates

New features for 2023 ID.4 include a 12-inch infotainment display.

For those anti-EV people out there (and there are plenty), they might call them just bigger versions of a golf cart. My tester this week might actually embrace such a reputation. The 2023 Volkswagen ID.4 is smallish SUV with an electric battery. It’s an excellent people mover and would be ideal in a city as a commuter vehicle, as long as that commute takes you less than 275 miles per day.

In golf cart terms, that would be a month’s worth of golf. That sarcastic moniker aside, the 2023 ID.4 has a smaller price tag and a smaller battery. The 62 kWh battery version, which is good for only about 209 miles of range, has a starting price of $38,995. Now my tester was the 82 kWh version and the higher trimmed Pro S, which carries with a range of 275 miles and a higher price tag ($51,295). So, the jump up in range comes at a steep bump in MSRP too.

Nevertheless, the ID.4 is part of VW’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 rims. Plus, the German automaker moves manufacturing of this EV to its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Design-wise, the ID.4, which is VW’s first all-electric SUV, has simple, timeless looks. It doesn’t look all new age as other EVs look, or as funky as the aforementioned ID Buzz. The overall conservative styling suits this vehicle well. Other than the closed-off grille, you’d hardly know this was an EV and I think that’s a good thing. The new gloss black highlights that adorn the front bumper caught my eye immediately.

The powertrain is simple. Quite simple, in fact. That’s why I think it should lean into the “golf cart” comparison. The 82 kWh dual-electric motor powerplant is the most powerful offering and generates 295 horsepower and 328 pound-feet of torque. This is an ample amount of output, although still feels like “torquey” than other EVs. It lacks the athleticism and instantaneous torque launch of other EVs. Plus, there’s no one-pedal driving. So, all in all, the performance is adequate but also lacks enthusiasm.

For me, EVs are fun because of that roller-coaster-like launch and loads of torque. And the ID.4 seems to keep that all a little too refined. Of note, the single motor version only gets 201 hp and 229 pound-feet of torque, so that edges it much closer to “glorified golf cart.”

Inside, the ID.4 feels a lot more upscale than some of the competition. This is for sure as it was intended to be. With curated leather materials throughout the interior, it feels nicer than other VW vehicles. There’s a choice between Galaxy and Cosmic finishes (love those names). Galaxy vehicles, like the one I drove, are finished with black leatherette seat inserts paired with Platinum gray bolsters, door inserts, and dash, with a black steering wheel and displays. Vehicles with the Cosmic interior are equipped with gray leatherette seat inserts matched with blue bolsters, door inserts, and dash with a white steering wheel and displays.

For trims, VW keeps it simple with three trims — Standard/Pro, S, and S Plus each offered with the bigger battery and smaller battery and with all-wheel drive (AWD) or with rear-wheel drive (RWD). I admit the RWD sounds like it could be fun, but my tester had AWD, which meant it was well-behaved and confident.

My tester had a starting price of $51,295. The final MSRP with destination fee was $52,985.

The estimated range on the dual motor, 82 kWh powerplant (with AWD) is around 275 miles. I took my tester down to about 40 miles of remaining range before I charged it up to about 80%. It took roughly 40 minutes to get it up to that charge level on a level 2 public charging station. The cost was around $18. Therein lies the issues people have with EVs. It’s less about the range and more about the “convenience” factor.

If you are considering an EV, having a level 2 charging system at your house is a must. Then the nuisances of owning an EV are greatly diminished.

The 2023 VW ID.4 may not be the “sexy” choice of all the EV options, but for fans of Volkswagen it’s one to consider. The 275 miles of range is good for most scenarios as a daily driver. Just a glorified golf cart? Pfft, hardly.

Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist. Email him at jimmydinsmore73@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @driversside

2023 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S

Price/As tested price................................................ $51,295/$52,985

Mileage.......................................... Up to 275 miles of range

Engine............................................. 82 kWh dual motor

Horsepower................................. 295 hp/328 lbs./ft.

Transmission................................. Single-gear

Drive Wheels................ All-wheel drive

Final Assembly Point................ Chattanooga, TN

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