Checking Volkswagen's ID

The on-trend term is minimalistic, but experiencing the Volkswagen ID.4 on New Zealand roads for the first time, the overriding feeling that this car is straight to the point. The only hint of novelty are the 'play/pause' icons on the accelerator and brake pedals, don't try and spot any other gimmicks.

Since ID stands for Intelligent Design, It's worth pointing out that the lack of apparent trick features doesn't mean this car is short on smarts. There is a voice command system that can understand a kiwi accent. The super clever use of a hidden LED strip under the windscreen that animates to silently give directions like a well-mannered back-seat driver and warn of hazards. The light show is countered by a complete lack of buttons a la Golf 8, and

ID.4 and the soon-to-arrive SUV Coupe ID.5 reveal how VW plans to 'EV'; put ID means zero BS. So, no hot air, but there is plenty of fresh air in the cabin; the SUV-like profile and flat floor deliver much more passenger space than the similarly sized Tiguan.

Size is the only attribute shared with the ICE SUV, with ID.4 eschewing straight lines in favour of a softened silhouette and a wavy hipline. As a result, there's more than a little Big Hero 6 vibe about the white car we drove. As with the interior, the clever touches are there, but never in an obvious way; a great example is the touch-sensitive door switches disguised as old-school door handles. 

On the road, ID.4 is quiet (not a surprise in an EV), but the ride quality is phenomenal, helped in no small measure by the MEB platform, which allows the 77 kWh battery pack to fit low down.

Delivering a 485km range (WLTP) and up to 125kWh charging for 0-80% charge in 40 minutes, the ID.4 is quick where it counts…even if the 150kW of power doesn't qualify it as a hot rod. This, of course, is countered by instant acceleration from any speed

Two versions of ID.4 are being offered, with the ID.4 PRO priced at $79,990, which means it qualifies for the full Clean Car Rebate (currently $8625). In addition, the PRO+ boasts 'IQ. Light' Matrix LED headlights with front LED light bar, 12-inch 'Discover Max' colour touch-screen and Premium sound system is $86,490 + ORC.

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