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The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4.Courtesy of manufacturer

Volkswagen is taking on Tesla, trying to dominate the EV space. After announcing its aggressive plans to build six battery factories in Europe and expand charging stations around the world, it’s rolling out more EVs. The latest is the all-electric ID.4 compact SUV, VW’s first long-range EV to come to Canada.

It took a while for the ID.4 to make it into production. It was based on VW’s I.D. Crozz electric concept vehicle, which made its global debut at the Shanghai Auto Show back in April, 2017. Sure, the ID.4 isn’t as flashy as the original I.D. Crozz concept, but it does have some redeeming qualities.

First off – the electric power. When it launches, the ID.4 will be available with an 82 kWh battery and a rear-mounted permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor. It’ll deliver 201 horsepower and 229 lb-ft of torque and have a range of 400 km on a full charge. A more powerful all-wheel-drive model with 300 hp will follow later in the year. To charge, plug it in to a regular 120-volt or 240-volt dryer outlet at home. Officials say it’ll take about seven-and-a-half hours to fully charge. Or use a DC fast-charging station to cut the time drastically – it’ll take nearly 40 minutes to get an 80-per-cent charge.

Visually, the ID.4 has more curves than its gas-powered cousins, such as the Tiguan and Atlas, and its attractive styling helps it stand out on the road. At the front end, the VW logo takes centre stage, framed by large LED headlights and honeycomb accents. Clean, sweeping lines flow along its body, especially noticeable when seen from the side.

The ID.4 seats five and is larger than VW’s last electric vehicle, the e-Golf. Size-wise, it’s more on par with the Tiguan. At 4.58 metres long, 1.64 m high and 1.85 m wide, the ID.4 is 11 cm shorter, 4.8 cm lower and one cm wider than its gas-powered stablemate.

Cargo space is generous, with 858 litres behind the second row. Drop the second-row seats, and the cargo capacity jumps to 1,818 litres. Six exterior colours are available; the bold options worth noting are shades dubbed Blue Dusk Metallic and King’s Red Metallic.

The ID.4 has a more curvy body style than its gas-powered cousins.Courtesy of manufacturer

Inside, the cabin is clean and uncluttered, with few buttons or dials in sight. It has a high-tech and futuristic feel with a 5.3-inch digital driver display and a large, somewhat awkward-looking rocker switch to the right of it that replaces a traditional gearshift, creating more space inside. In the centre is a 10-inch infotainment touch screen for accessing the navigation, entertainment and driver-assistance systems and the vehicle settings. Menus can be moved around by using gesture controls and swiping your hand in front of the screen. Traditional buttons and dials for the volume and temperature are replaced with sliders below the display. I’m not a huge fan of those – they’re typically fickle and frustrating. But at least there’s a personal assistant that allows you to use voice commands. To access it, you simply say “Hello ID.” Apparently it understands natural language, so you’d be able to say, “Hello ID, I’m hot,” and the system would lower the heat automatically.

Standard features include rain-sensing wipers, a heated steering wheel, heated side mirrors and washer nozzles, a heated windshield, Apple CarPlay and Android Audio capability, wireless mobile charging and several driver-safety features such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, road-sign detection and adaptive cruise control. The vehicle’s 4G capabilities will also enable over-the-air software updates.

The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 starts at $44,995 for the RWD ID.4 Pro base trim, which arrives this summer. It qualifies for the $5,000 federal EV rebate and provincial rebates in Quebec and B.C. Later this year, the ID.4 AWD Pro will arrive, starting at $49,995. Both models are available with the $8,000 Statement package, which adds more luxurious items such as massage seats, a panoramic glass roof, 20-inch alloy wheels and a power tailgate

It looks like VW is finally poised to take a piece of the lucrative electric pie from Tesla.

Courtesy of manufacturer

Tech specs

2021 Volkswagen ID.4
  • Base price: $44,995 (RWD); $49,995 (AWD)
  • Engine: Single-motor RWD (201 hp); later, a dual-motor AWD (300 hp)
  • Transmission/Drive: 1-speed direct-drive, RWD/AWD
  • Fuel economy (litres/100 km city and highway): Nada!
  • Alternatives: Hyundai Kona Electric, Kia Niro EV, Tesla Model Y, Chevy Bolt EUV

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