2024 Volkswagen ID.4 Review and Test Drive: No Apology Necessary

Improvements to the compact crossover make it a more competitive electric vehicle.

Front quarter view of a red 2024 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S parked on pavement near mountains.Christian Wardlaw

QuickTakes:

Technology moves fast, which is evident in the continuous program of improvements made to Volkswagen's electric compact crossover SUV, the ID.4. Introduced to U.S.-market customers for the 2021 model year, the ID.4 has already seen substantial design, software, infotainment, and comfort updates during its first three years of availability. In addition, VW moved assembly from Germany to Tennessee.

The 2024 Volkswagen ID.4 gets another round of enhancements, including a more powerful electric drive motor, a new infotainment display, and a U.S.-based battery source that preserves the model's $7,500 federal income-tax credit.

Rear quarter view of a red 2024 Volkswagen ID.4 parked on pavement near some mountains.Christian Wardlaw

The most affordable ID.4 models have a 62-kilowatt-hour battery and rear-wheel drive (RWD). They come in ID.4 Standard and ID.4 S trim levels, starting in the low $40,000s, including the destination charge.

From what I've experienced, you'll probably want an ID.4 Pro, Pro S, or Pro S Plus for more power and driving range. They come with an 82-kWh battery and a choice between single-motor RWD or dual-motor all-wheel drive (AWD). Prices for these ID.4 models range from the mid-$40,000s to the high $50,000s.

The 2024 ID.4 goes on sale soon, and I spent a short time driving the EV in Pasadena, California, to assess this year's round of changes. Volkswagen provided the vehicle for my 2024 ID.4 review and paid for a meal during the evaluation period.

With competitive performance, driving range, and an easier user interface, the latest ID.4 might not set standards for its segment, but it need not apologize for itself.

2024 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S front seats in gray and blue artificial leatherChristian Wardlaw

The 2024 ID.4 Offers More Power, Range, Tech, and Comfort

Volkswagen for 2024 has updated the 2024 ID.4 in several ways. The most significant change is the new electric motor powering the rear wheels in the Pro models, which have an 82-kWh battery. It makes 282 horsepower and 402 pound-feet of torque, significant improvements over the motor in the 62-kWh models, which supplies 201 horsepower and 229 lb-ft. With RWD, acceleration to 60 mph takes just 5.9 seconds, by VW's estimate, and the driving range rises to 291 miles.

Choosing AWD adds a separate electric motor for the front wheels for extra traction. Total output with AWD measures 335 horsepower with 99 lb-ft of torque at the front axle and 402 lb-ft at the rear. According to VW, these versions of the ID.4 Pro zoom to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, but the driving range drops to 263 miles.

In addition to the new electric motor and improved performance and range, the 2024 ID.4 Pro models receive an updated infotainment system with a larger 12.9-inch touchscreen, a more intuitive onscreen layout, complimentary natural voice recognition for three years, and illuminated volume and temperature controls beneath the display.

Further enhancements include a new transmission selector and revised steering wheel controls. With the S Plus trim level, you get 21-inch wheels and a nine-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.

2024 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S interior showing the dashboard and center consoleChristian Wardlaw

It's More Enjoyable to Drive a 2024 Volkswagen ID.4

My 82-kWh Pro S-spec RWD test vehicle sat on appealing 20-inch wheels. The only option was extra-cost Aurora Red paint, bringing the manufacturer's suggested retail price to $51,815, including the destination charge but not the $7,500 federal income-tax credit.

The new electric motor delivers a near-palpable performance improvement compared with the last ID.4 I drove back in 2021. Still quick from a stop, the EV no longer feels winded as speeds increase, climbs mountain grades easily, and supplies plenty of midrange passing power. Now it drives like most of its rivals.

In the city, the ride is firm but agreeable, but on the highway, there's too much road noise at higher speeds. Running the electric VW up and down Angeles Crest Highway revealed the flat cornering attitude I've found most EVs display, plus a brake pedal that felt good underfoot.

Unfortunately, my time with the ID.4 was brief, amounting to an hour in unfamiliar surroundings. That precluded a proper range test, but I did track electricity consumption, which measured 28.6 kWh per 100 miles. That's better than the official EPA rating of 30 kWh per 100 miles.

2024 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S digital instrumentation showing Travel Assist activeChristian Wardlaw

The New VW ID.4 Has a More Intuitive Infotainment System

The short test drive didn't include much freeway travel, but I used the ID.4's standard Travel Assist system as much as possible. Travel Assist is a part of VW's IQ.Drive collection of driver-assistance systems, and it pairs adaptive cruise control with lane-centering assist to create a hands-on, Level 2 semi-autonomous driver-assistance system.

On the busy multilane freeway running through Pasadena, Travel Assist worked well. However, my assessment is valid only for that environment. I can't apply that observation broadly without a more extensive test on various roadways.

Fortunately, I was able to spend plenty of time evaluating the ID.4's new 12.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system. While I don't find it as graphically pleasing as the previous technology, the layout and functionality are dramatically improved.

For example, the climate controls are always available at the bottom of the display. In addition, a Home page includes four data panels, and popular menus are quickly accessible. You can also customize the system to personal preferences.

New infotainment system Home screen in the 2024 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro SChristian Wardlaw

Volkswagen equips the 2024 ID.4 with a complimentary three-year subscription to Plus Speech, a conversational digital voice assistant named Ida. I tasked Ida with responding to my standard list of testing commands, and the success rate was about 50%.

In addition to the new infotainment system, the 2024 ID.4 Pro S and Pro S Plus models get standard heated and ventilated front seats. That makes living with the artificial leather upholstery and panoramic glass sunroof more comfortable in hot or humid climates.

Side view of a red 2024 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S parked on pavement near some mountainsChristian Wardlaw

Changes to the 2024 ID.4 Make Volkswagen More Competitive

There is one more change to the 2024 ID.4's infotainment system worth noting: the ability to program up to 10 road-trip waypoints at charging stations along your route. As you drive and approach the waypoint, the battery will automatically precondition itself to accept up to 175 kilowatts of power delivery from a DC fast-charging station. Volkswagen says the ID.4 can recharge from 10% to 80% in about 30 minutes.

Speaking of which, Volkswagen has eliminated the charging deal it gave earlier ID.4 buyers, which included three years of complimentary 30-minute charging sessions at Electrify America (EA) stations. Now, you get 500 kWh of free charging at EA stations plus three years of membership in EA's Pass+ program instead.

For reference, most EVs use somewhere between about 230 kWh and about 580 kWh per month, depending on how efficient they are, according to EnergySage, a solar-energy company, and Edmunds, an automotive-information company. Electrify America Pass+ members benefit from about 25% off charging costs with their membership, which usually costs $7 each month, according to the company website.

Charging deals aside, Volkswagen offers significant improvements in the 2024 version of its ID.4. The upgrades help make the electric SUV a more effective rival for EV competitors, including the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Honda Prologue, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Nissan Ariya, Subaru Solterra, and Toyota bZ4X.

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Christian Wardlaw
My first word was “car.” That’s what I’m told, anyway. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with them. The design. The engineering. The performance. And the purpose. I’m a car enthusiast who loves to drive, but I’m also most interested in the cars, trucks, and SUVs that people actually buy. Anybody can tell you that a sports car is fast. What you need to know is whether or not you should buy that new SUV, and why. My life purpose is to help you make that decision.