2021 Volkswagen ID.4 AWD First Drive-Just add power

I hesitated when Volkswagen invited us to test drive the all-wheel drive version of ID.4 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Fly all the way to Tennessee for a slightly different version of the car I I drove a few months ago?? Isn’t it less than one of the worst COVID hotspots during the delta variant surge? Is it worth the time of absence, even if COVID isn’t an issue?

Then it hit me when I blew up the radio on Eddie Rabbitt’s “Driving My Life Away” (suitable for car journalists) and blew up some miserable backstreets. I was thinking of a school that was too old.

As you know, adding an AWD to a rear-wheel drive crossover may not make much of a difference for an internal combustion engine vehicle. It definitely adds weight and may change the ride quality and handling characteristics a bit, depending on the platform, suspension and engineering. Also, the dynamic differences can be subtle or inconspicuous (at least on dry pavement).

However, ID.4 is a slightly different animal, with an electric motor on the back of the non-AWD version of the “base”. This means that making a car all-wheel drive means adding another motor. Therefore, add power as well.

That makes a difference enough for me to set aside other work and board the plane and have someone stick a cotton swab into my nose. With fresh content, we can serve you the best and brightest.

That Tennessee bourbon doesn’t drink itself, right?

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 AWD

(Full Disclosure: Volkswagen flies me to Chattanooga, feeds and houses it overnight, offers me and others a tour of the factory, and finally builds ID.4. They also Provided me with a branded COVID mask-I was approaching If there were other stolen goods, I didn’t see it. The snack box left in my room could have been free , Maybe it wasn’t-I didn’t care about it.)

The difference between the all-wheel drive ID.4 and the rear-wheel drive version is clearly the addition of another electric motor to the front axle, as mentioned above. It has a maximum output of 107 horsepower and a torque of 119 lb-ft.

This gives the all-wheel drive version of ID.4 295 horsepower and 339 lb-ft torque, which is higher than the rear-wheel drive 201/229 (if you’re wondering why the numbers don’t add up to 308). ) 348, For multi-motor EVs and gas-electric hybrids, there are various reasons why the total output of the system does not match the total output of the individual motors).

Unlike most AWD setups, there is no mechanical link between the two axles. Instead, each motor connects to the front or rear wheels via differential and single speed gearboxes.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 AWD

Like many AWD setups, ID.4 spends most of its time in rear-wheel drive mode, activating the front motor only when needed or in sport mode. There is a small range of costs – Pro Trim is listed at 249 miles (11 less than FWD Pro) and 240 miles at Pro S. This is a 10 reduction from the FWD Pro S. EPA Estimated MPGe 102/90/97 98/88/93 for Pro AWD, 98/88/93 for Pro S.

Volkswagen estimates 0-60 hours in 5.4 seconds and says the ID.4AWD can tow up to £ 2,700.

The battery pack is 82kWh and consists of 12 modules with a total of 288 pouch cells. Floor plates with built-in waterways help keep you cool. The battery pack is installed in the underbody between the axles to achieve a 50/50 weight distribution and keep the center of gravity low.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 AWD

Charging time is about 7 and a half hours from a Level II station using an onboard 11 kW charger, and a DC fast charging station with 125 kW charging will take 5% to 80% of the car’s charge in about 40 minutes. .. Buyers can recharge at the Electrify America station for 3 years free of charge. This includes DC fast charging.

Speaking grammatically correct, ID.4 provides considerable acceleration. Like any EV, torque is instantly available and ID.4 can push you back into its seat and reduce the distance between corners. This feature is very useful when merging or trying to pass slow-moving cicadas on the highway.

However, linear speed is not the only fun feature. Whether it’s an EV or a crossover, a truly sporting vehicle will give the driver a grinning ride and handling.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 AWD

This is where the ID.4 AWD experience is a mixed bag. On my way up and down Signal Mountain, I was driving in a place called a “relaxed hustle.” It’s faster than the average speed and faster than the speed limit, but it actually stresses the chassis and the tires are singing. If you speed up a little on your way home, you can see the difference in the reaction of ID.4.

On the way up the mountain, in sport mode, ID.4 was completely comfortable and amazing. Body rolls were present, but not worse than expected from the crossover. The steering felt properly heavy and I was able to position the wheels correctly. The car easily cruised each corner of my favorite line and fired at the exit for immediate access. power.

On the way back, when I cranked up the effort dial, the situation was different. Understeer raised his head, but at some point it became difficult to turn in and something fierce slowed down. The down mountain route required more braking and sometimes became a bit muddy. The tires also lost some grip under heavy braking at some point. Oh, and all that hard drives quickly took away battery range, as expected.

I soon realized that ID.4 was one of the most comfortable and attractive cars while driving well, but only to some extent. Beyond that point, it’s more stress and confusion than fun.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 AWD

For fairness, this is fine. ID.4, unlike the Ford Mustang Mach-E, is not intended for performance EV. Think of it as a family-friendly crossover with some sportiness. That way, you can maintain your expectations in line with that ability.

Indeed, while driving in calm cities and suburbs, ID.4 successfully acquitted itself, especially when I took it out of the more tense sport mode and dropped it into comfort. The ride quality is hard, smooth and well-balanced, with little objection. The short highway stint was nice and relaxing.

The suspension of all-wheel drive vehicles is the same. It is a front strut type and has a lower control arm, a telescopic damper, a coil spring, and an anti-roll bar. Multi-link rear with coil springs, telescopic dampers and anti-roll bars. The ride height is 0.6 inches higher and the springs and dampers are solid, but the anti-roll bar is thicker than the front-wheel drive car. Like FWD ID.4, some suspension bits are made of aluminum to keep weight down.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 AWD

Inside, VW gave the car a lot of tactile touch control, concentrating the cabin around the infotainment screen. The infotainment system here worked fine, but there were occasional delays when switching menus, but other controls bothered me. The tactile touch controls at the bottom of the steering wheel and infotainment screen worked fine, but there was a problem with the door mirror and window controls. They are not intuitive. For fairness, the owner may become accustomed to the setup.

Again, the owner turned on the child lock first, so it won’t lock into the backseat when taking a photo. Also, after unlocking the rear door, you will not even notice that you are locked out of the front seat because the front door is locked. This happened with the car key and caused me some surprises.

The shifter also confused me. Instead of returning from the parking lot, I was trying to drive to a grocery store at a break. ) It makes more sense. Fortunately, I was in time. Packing a test car on the hillside is one thing. Imagine the shame of tagging a building at 1.5 mph. I had no problem when I drove ID.4 last time, but I think it’s so novel that I’m not used to it yet.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 AWD

Probably the biggest beef I had in the cabin was the lack of radio and tuning knobs. Tactile touch is one thing, and being noblesse in the face of overwhelming evidence that it is a bad idea is another.

The voice recognition system seemed to work well early on, but didn’t turn on when I later said the magic word. I’m using factory navigation and dug a dashboard light that activates when approaching a turn-it’s useful. The easy-to-read digital gauge screen is also convenient.

The front seats were spacious and it was not difficult to get the driving position right. The backseat space was accommodated in my large frame and the cargo area seemed to be able to swallow enough groceries. It is listed at 30.3 cubic feet with the backseat up. The seats were comfortable throughout my drive and the cabin material seemed to be suitable for the class, if not so nice.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 AWD

The cabin is quiet and keeps out noise.Of course, there is no exhaust noise to deal with – just whoosh When Swirling You can hear it by digging into the throttle. Tire noise was not noticeable.

Standard features available at a base price of $ 43,675 include LED lighting all around, 19-inch wheels, keyless entry and start, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, heated steering wheel, cross seats, and heated front seats. Includes dual zone climate control, voice-activated assistant, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, wireless phone charging, driver aid system IQ.DRIVE suite, trailer hitch, and road sign display.

Choosing the ProS I drove ($ 48,175) adds LED adaptive projector headlamps, VW logo / grill light bars, fixed glass panoramic roofs, power fold side mirrors, hands-free power lift gates and leatherette seats. Masu, and ambient lighting.

The gradient package includes $ 1,500 and 20-inch wheels, a silver roof rail and a black roof with accents, and silver accents on both bumpers. The destination is $ 1,195. Volkswagen also reminds us that ID.4 is eligible for a $ 7,500 federal tax credit.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 AWD

AWD ID.4 is very similar to rear wheel drive ID.4. A well-balanced EV package for commuters and families, with a sports pinch. In addition to the edgy design for that, the ergonomics are damn. This version has a small range of penalties, but it’s just faster and more expensive.

Rear-wheel drive ID.4 tickled your fantasy, but if you wanted more power, you have your hope if you spend a little more cheddar (about $ 4000 or more) for it ..

It’s not a luxury EV crossover like the Tesla Model Y. Not a performer like Mach-E. ID.4 is a competent package for EV buyers looking for a mainstream vehicle with a sporting side, even if it is ergonomically flawed. If you can get over the habit, you will find it to work.

[Images © 2021 Tim Healey/TTAC]

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 AWD First Drive-Just add power

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