Spring 2022 Update: Volkswagen of America has announced upcoming updates for the 2022 model year
- Prices are up by $765 across the board
- DC fast charging speeds will get a bump up to 135 kW and an improved charging curve
- Range will increase, but VW hasn’t shared specifics
- Auto-hold, a popular EV feature, will arrive via software updates
- Plug-and-charge will make plugging in at Electrify America easier
- There will be a cheaper $35,000 base model later this year
- Production will begin in Tennessee in fall of 2022
Back in 2015, I don’t think anyone would have guessed that Volkswagen would be a leader in electric transportation just five years into the future. VW had been knowingly installing emissions testing defeat devices in cars for years before they were caught red-handed. The dieselgate scandal was a make-or-break moment for the largest automaker in the world. At times, it appeared that consumers were angry enough to turn their backs on VW after its 87-year history.
How did VW make it out alive? After sharing a new path forward, a shuffle in leadership, and an abundance of apologies, Volkswagen announced plans to invest in the production of electric vehicles with the goal of having 25% of annual sales being electric by 2025. With VW leadership drawing parallels between the classic Beetle and this ‘electric vehicle for the masses’, the 2022 Volkswagen ID.4 is the chosen symbol of the automaker’s new era.
Volkswagen’s all-electric ID.4 crossover represents second chances, a corporate gamble and five years of intensive engineering. At least $48 billion dollars have been funneled into the development of the all-new MEB battery electric platform that the ID.4 sits on. VW says that ID stands for Intelligent Design. Will the ID.4’s tech, powertrain and comfort appeal to car buyers looking for the smart choice for their next vehicle?
2022 Volkswagen ID.4 Specs: Capable RWD, but AWD Is Where the Fun’s At
Volkswagen likes to point out that the ID.4 is their first rear-wheel drive car since the Beetle. The ID.4’s single-motor option features a rear-mounted motor that produces 201 horsepower, 229 lb-ft of torque and a 0-60 time of 7.6 seconds. It’s not fast, but acceleration is smooth and steadily supplied. It’s a different kind of spaceship feel than what you get in a Tesla, but the ease of gliding to highway speeds in near silence is satisfying in its own right. The RWD variant can tow up to 2,200 pounds, but only the First Edition came with an included tow hitch.
The all-wheel drive version of the ID.4 is where this crossover really shines. Adding another motor to the front axle increases horsepower to 295 with 339 lb-ft of torque and a very satisfying 0-60 time of just 5.4 seconds. However, it’s not quite a car you’d take to the track. The handling is well-tuned for attacking winding roads in inclement weather, although it maintains a more family-oriented demeanor. At the front is an induction motor that only engages when extra power or traction is needed. The additional power enables 2,700 pounds of towing. A few off-roading tests have shown that it isn’t equipped for rugged overlanding, at least not without some modification.
The 2021 ID.4 earned a Top Safety Pick+ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s rigorous crash testing.
The Interior Isn’t Typical Volkswagen
Stepping inside the ID.4 is a blend of the familiar and next-generation minimalism. There’s no front trunk (or frunk), but there are plenty of other reminders that this is an electric car. Kind of like a Tesla, nearly all controls are accessed via the 10 to 12 inch infotainment screen, with size depending on the trim. There’s something here that even a Model Y doesn’t have: a second screen for the gauge cluster, mounted right behind the steering wheel. It displays speed, remaining range and navigation guidance in an easy-to-see location. This extra screen makes driving the ID.4 feel much more comfortable and carefree.
Overuse of haptic controls on the steering wheel and beneath the infotainment screen may be an issue for some drivers, but in my experience, the rest of the interior’s design more than makes up for the occasional inconvenience. The cavernous cabin has 101 cubic feet of passenger volume, which puts it on par with the Toyota Rav4 and Honda CR-V. Backseat passengers have more than enough leg and headroom, even those who are well over six feet in height. The 30.3 cubic feet of cargo room provides ample space for groceries and such, and that expands to 64.2 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.
All ID.4’s include Travel Assist, Volkswagen’s new driver assistance technology. It’s essentially a combination of lane centering and adaptive cruise control, and drivers love it so far. VW plans to improve Travel Assist and other tech features in all of its upcoming EVs via over-the-air updates.
Trim Options Offer Great Value at the Price Point
The 2022 Volkswagen ID.4 is available in Pro, Pro S and Gradient trim levels. The base Pro starts at $41,190 including destination charges. The Pro interior features gray and black cloth seating, a 10” infotainment screen, and heated front seats. For an additional $3,680, the AWD Pro adds a heated windshield and steering wheel, a tow hitch and an extra 0.6” of ground clearance. One of the most lauded interior features is the interior accent lighting. The driver or passenger can choose out of 10 colors to illuminate the front dash and doors, creating a very personalized feel.
The exterior is largely the same among ID.4 trims. The Pro gets LED headlights and taillights, but not the sci-fi-inspired projector LEDs of higher trims. 19” alloy wheels on the base trim is quite the treat. The ID.4 has more ground clearance than most competitors. RWD versions have 8.2 inches of clearance, and AWD cars are lifted up to 8.7 inches. That’s far above the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model Y, and matched that of the popular Subaru Forester.
The Pro S package is an additional $4,500. For the money, a panoramic glass roof (with an electric sunshade), 12” infotainment screen and a choice of lunar gray or black and brown vegan leather perforated (but not ventilated) seats. The Pro S trim gets 8-way power-adjusting seats with 4-way lumbar support that also has a massage setting. A power liftgate is included with the Pro S too. Taken together, the interior of the ID.4 Pro S feels a class above the price point.
At the top of the ID.4’s trim options is the Gradient package that can be added to the Pro S for an extra $1,500. The Gradient package adds silver accents, a black roof, 20 inch rims and unlocks the Kings Red paint option.
Range and Charging Speeds Are Acceptable, but Likely to Increase
The range of the 2022 Volkswagen ID.4 is just enough to make it great for road trips, however it’s a notch below the best of the best. On the EPA test cycle, the 2021 model is rated for 260 miles in the RWD Pro trim, and 250 miles in the RWD Pro S. For AWD variants, there’s a 10 mile penalty. Real-world highway testing shows that the ID.4 can go 220-240 miles at 70 mph with ease, and nearly 300 miles on a charge in the city. VW has hinted at a minor range increase for the 2022 model year. Unlike most other EVs, drivers can opt in or out of full regenerative braking. ‘D’ mode lets the vehicle coast to a stop much like a combustion vehicle. ‘B’ mode turns up regenerative braking to the max, and returns more power to the battery during every time your foot lets off the accelerator pedal. It’s nice to have options.
Over 80% of EV charging is done at home, and the ID.4 gets it done without a hassle. The car comes with a 120 volt ‘level 1’ charger that is only meant to be used for overnight charging. If quicker speeds are necessary, a level 2 charger can be installed on a 240 Volt dryer outlet to charge the car from empty to full in about seven hours. On road trips, the 2021 ID.4 can charge at speeds of up to 125 kW. That comes out to about 38 minutes to charge from 0% to 80% (adding about 200 miles of range). All electric vehicles charge slowly over 80% state of charge, so it would make sense to hop from charger to charger and unplug each time the car reaches 80%. Stopping every 200 miles or so to charge and take a travel break would work well for most drivers.
Volkswagen recently teased increases to both range and charging speed for the upcoming 2022 ID.4. Charging speeds will likely be increased to either 150 or 175 kW. That would save drivers several minutes at each charging stop. Over-the-air updates might even push these upgrades to 2021 models already on the road. They also confirmed the continuation of one of the Volkswagen ID.4’s most compelling selling points: three years of free fast-charging at Electrify America stations. All current ID.4 owners have this incentive with unlimited mileage, but there are some indications that mileage limits may apply for 2022 buyers. Still, three years of free fast-charging could save drivers a lot of money.
How Does It Stack Up to the Competition?
In simplest terms, think of the 2022 Volkswagen ID.4 as a sleek, futuristic and minimalist Tiguan. Interior dimensions are similar, but the ID.4 packs more power. Just about the only thing the Tiguan does better is go more miles between refueling stops. Still, electricity is far more affordable than gas. When charging isn’t free, a full ‘tank’ of electrons rarely costs more than $20.
As of December 2021, the two direct competitors to the ID.4 are the Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Tesla Model Y. The electric crossover family is about to grow rapidly in 2022 as more automakers bring models to market. Volkswagen says it’s not trying to compete with Tesla It’s an unavoidable comparison to make when the Model Y is the top-selling electric SUV in America. It’s true that the Tesla has more power, more range and better tech, but it’s also nearly twice the price of the ID.4 once federal EV incentives are taken into consideration. If EV incentives get revised in 2022, the two could end up being closer in overall price.
The Ford Mustang Mach-E has more in common with the Model Y than it does with the ID.4. The handling, size and range of the Mach-E are about midway between the ID.4 and Model Y. The Mach-E is a sporty crossover, and can be a downright track beast in the GT Performance trim. It features a tad more interior space, plus a frunk for added cargo room. The 15.5” infotainment screen is more akin to Tesla, and so is the firmness of the ride. Reviewers note that fit and finish is far better (as it should be) with the ID.4 and Mustang Mach-E than you’re likely to find on any Model Y. As Elon Musk likes to say, making cars is hard.
In 2022, the Subaru Solterra will make an entry into the market. This AWD electric crossover will compete with the all-wheel drive versions of the ID.4. From Subaru’s recent unveiling at the 2021 LA Auto Show, we can already see that the ID.4 has the upperhand. The ID.4 has more power, more interior room and far more range than the estimates Subaru has shared. We won’t know how the prices of the two compare for a few more months.
YAA’s Take On the 2022 Volkswagen ID.4
The 2022 Volkswagen ID.4 is a great fit for most driving lifestyles. It’s a particularly compelling car in the base Pro trim with rear-wheel drive. Volkswagen’s EVs still qualify for the $7500 federal EV tax credit in the US, which can turn the entry-level ID.4 into a $34,000 purchase. That’s an amazing value in today’s market.
A combination of high demand and the ongoing chip shortage have pushed delivery wait times out to six months or more when you order from VW’s website and arrange to pick up from your chosen dealer. Some have had luck finding an ID.4 to purchase on a dealer lot.
There’s a lot of competition on the way, and that’s something that buyers in today’s market should bear in mind. The Subaru Solterra, Nissan Ariya, Hyundai IONIQ 5 and Kia EV6 are just some of the amazing EVs arriving by the end of 2022. Nevertheless, the ID.4 is an excellent car, and 2022 updates could strengthen this EV’s appeal even further. Stay tuned for the latest EV updates here on YAA. Which electric crossover appeals to you?
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