Every week, wheels.ca selects a new vehicle and takes a good look at its entry-level trim. If we find it worthy of your consideration, we'll let you know. If not, we'll recommend one - or the required options - that earns a passing grade.
With the automotive industry plunging itself headlong into electric vehicles, it’s an interesting time to be a gearhead. Companies are producing vehicles as varied as devastatingly powerful supercars and thrifty electric vehicles alike, meaning it’s not a stretch to say we are witness to the biggest change in driving since cars showed up to replace the horse over a hundred years ago.
In the all-electric camp, Volkswagen’s ID.4 is a vaguely crossover-shaped vehicle which looks like a hatchback in pictures but reveals its size on closer inspection. Presently, there are two options for ID.4 shoppers in Canada: rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, both in Pro trim.
Both have the same size battery, measuring a net 77kWh, which is good for 422 kilometres of range in the rear-drive model and an advertised 394 clicks in all-wheel drive trim. Extra weight is a killer on range, don’tcha know. With a single motor on its rear wheels, the ID.4 produces 201 horsepower; adding a second one to its front gubbins increases that total to 295 all-electric ponies. The price difference is precisely $5,000, with the all-wheel drive variant also throwing in a towing hitch for good measure.
Other than that, both models are the same. LED lights are installed front and rear, a heated windshield keeps the world ahead visible, heated windshield washer nozzles probably consume a few precious watts but are totally worth it on a frosty morning, and 19-inch alloy wheels look decent. Critically, both trims use a heat pump to warm the cabin, a solution which is more expensive (but uses far less energy) than a traditional resistive heater. Some companies saddle their less-expensive EVs with the latter; VW does not.
Inside, look for typical niceties like heated front seats, leather wrapped steering wheel, and dual-zone climate control. Infotainment is handled by a 10-inch touchscreen display which packs the likes of wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and satellite radio capability. Wireless device charging is also part of the deal, meaning there’s absolutely no need to mess with a tangle of wires in the ID.4 for any reason.
What We'd Choose
For the sake of five grand, we heartily recommend the all-wheel drive ID.4, if for nothing else other than its extra horsepower. Shaving about 25 kilometres off its total driving range is of little concern for many, not when the ID.4 is good for approximately 400 km and can hoover up replacement electrons at a maximum rate of 135kW on a DC fast charger.
Less clear is the value proposition of the $8,000 Statement Package which adds items such as a panoramic moonroof and massaging leatherette front seats. While items like those and a bigger infotainment system are appealing, they all conspire to use more electricity than one would consume in a base model. Given that new reality, we’d leave the Statement Package on the table but opt for the all-wheel drive.