Updated: Apr 1, 2022
First impressions matter. So do second ones. Especially when the first delivers and the second improves.
That's the story with the all-electric 2021 Volkswagen ID.4. I reviewed the ID.4 1st Edition in May, found a lot to like, very little to complain about and, more importantly, found myself unable to pick a winner between it and the similar in concept Ford Mustang Mach-E.
Now, a few months in, Volkswagen brings us another level of ID.4---two, actually. The ID.4 Pro adds all-wheel drive, a heated windshield and 6/10ths of an inch additional ground clearance. The ID.4 Pro S folds in upgraded LED headlights and a hands-free lift gate, but both bring all-wheel drive and---more power.
A 107-horsepower electric motor's been added up front, for a combined output of 295 horsepower and 339 pounds per foot of torque. That cuts 0-60 runs by more than two seconds, down to the mid-5s, and the extra traction from four driven wheels makes the ID.4 Pro S fun to drive.
Range per charge comes down---the 1st Edition we had was rated at 250 miles per charge. The Pro S is 240. But, in a week of driving that included a trip to and from San Francisco, I found that the ID.4 was terrific at putting juice back in the battery while driving (regenerative braking and hills go hand-in-hand). 45 minutes on a DC fast charger while having breakfast took us right back to 80% charge. And, DC fast charging is free for the first three years of ownership at Electrify America charging stations.
The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S starts at $48, 175, with a lengthy list of standard equipment. The window sticker is at the end of this review, so you can see for yourself.
This time around, I'm more comfortable with the unique gear selector and, having been there before, the center screen and its functions seem more intuitive. What I really appreciate is the simplicity. There's not a sense of being overwhelmed with tech, displays or a million buttons. Over time and miles, I really appreciated that.
One thing I'm still not a fan of is VW's decision to use two window switches for four windows.
To switch them from front to rear, you touch the word "REAR". Okay, fine. Except that the switch gives no feedback. It's easy to brush it, activate it, and then, while trying to lower your window, you end up lowering the rear window. Happened to me, going into a parking garage, with a line of cars behind me. Sure, over time, I'd remember that's how this worked---but it's no fun figuring it out on the fly. There has to be a way to put two more buttons there. Ultimately, a minor quibble in an otherwise impressive EV. Our tester had just one option, the Gradient Package (20-inch alloy wheels, a black roof, silver roof rails and silver roof accents, silver accents on front and rear bumpers) for $1,500. So, with $1,195 destination charge, the as-tested price of the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S is $50,870.
No, that's not cheap, but the extra power and other amenities make a case for the price bump over the base ID.4 or the 1st Edition. And VW, being a new entrant to EVs, qualifies for the $7,500 tax credit per vehicle, which effectively knocks the as-tested price down to $43,370. Factor in three years of free public charging (let's just say $20 worth a week---that's $3,120) and the math starts to look very compelling.
If you're looking at all-electric crossover SUVs, the Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S should absolutely be on your list.