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The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.5

Available new from £34,650

The Volkswagen ID.4 is the brand’s first pure electric SUV, and follows hot on the heels of the ID.3 electric hatchback. Volkswagen describes it as a compact SUV but this is a large car. It’s offered at launch only in First Edition Pro Performance specification, with cheaper versions to follow.

Reasons to buy

  • Cheap to run
  • Lots of space
  • Quality feel

Running costs for a Volkswagen ID.4 5/5

Bad news first: since the Government reduced the price at which cars qualify for the electric car grant from £50,000 to £35,000, the ID.4 doesn’t qualify for the £2,500 off. That’s because it’s been launched in First Edition Pro Performance trim first, like the ID.3 was. Again like the ID.3, expect to see cheaper models on sale as the range expands, with the base model perhaps staring at £34,995… With or without the grant the good news is that electric cars remain far cheaper than their fossil-fuel counterparts to run, with 200 miles costing you as little as a tenner if you charge your car at home on an off-peak tariff. Benefit In Kind remains one per cent for business users, and there’s still no VED (road tax) to pay. With no congestion charge either and fewer moving parts to go wrong, you start to offset that higher price point fairly quickly.

Reliability of a Volkswagen ID.4 3/5

This is a new model, on a fairly new platform, currently only shared with the ID.3, so it’s too early to call reliability. The car’s battery has the standard eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on it, while the car has the equally standard three-year/60,000-mile warranty. Volkswagen as a brand finished a surprisingly disappointing 20th place out of 31 brands in the What Car? reliability survey, although that was higher than Tesla…

Safety for a Volkswagen ID.4 3/5

The ID.4 feels like a very safe car to drive, with a high seating position and lots of bodywork round you. There are side and curtain airbags and even a central airbag between the front two seats. It has all the safety features on board you’d expect to find on a £40,000 car, but nothing that strikes you as generous. You get the usual emergency braking, lane-assist, a driver fatigue monitor and traffic-sign recognition. Weirdly, blind-spot monitoring, which has been with us for years and is one of the most useful aids, isn’t included in this First Edition trim.

How comfortable is the Volkswagen ID.4 4/5

There’s a surprising and welcome amount of head, shoulder and leg room for rear passengers, and plenty of wide, deep boot space. The seats are supportive and there’s an arm rest for the driver. This feels like a very smooth, insulated, quiet car on the go, and has a real premium feel about its ride that makes the price tag suddenly seem not quite so offensive.

Features of the Volkswagen ID.4 3/5

There’s Volkswagen’s familiar, medium-sized touchscreen, which hides icons to keep the graphics clean until your finger approaches, when it reveals the controls. The temperature and volume sliders at the bottom of the screen remain hard to find without taking your eyes off the road. We think there are more beautiful and simpler designs on the market but it’s better than Ford’s dull Sync 3 system. You get electrically folding and heated door mirrors, puddle lights and heated leather steering wheel but remember this is First Edition spec - there will be cheaper versions without some of this stuff. As with the ID.3, the steering wheel and surround are in futuristic white with a cool rocker switch to change driving mode.

You also get front and rear parking sensors and reversing camera, which you’ll be glad of in this high, wide car. There’s adaptive cruise control, too and smartphone mirroring as standard.

Power for a Volkswagen ID.4 3/5

Scintillating it is not. The car doesn't give much feedback - great for comfort, not so great for driver enjoyment. At launch, it’s available only in Pro Performance guise, which means a 77kWh battery driving the rear wheels. Expect a cheaper, less powerful version soon. The electric motor provides 210 horsepower, which looks like enough on paper but this is quite a big, heavy car and it doesn’t translate into anything exciting in the way that the Ford Mustang Mach-E does. However, what it lacks in raw excitement, it makes up for with buttery-smooth progression away from lights and junctions, where you get that instant spurt of acceleration that electric cars are known for.

Range is quoted at a maximum 310 miles so expect perhaps about 250 miles - still pretty good at this price. Charging time on a home charger will be about 10 hours from near-empty to full or 38 minutes to 80 per cent on a rapid charger.