This must happen to film critics, too.
You watch a film and find it pretty poor and then you expect the sequel which has the same director and cast to also be a snoreathon – but, to your amazement, it turns out a corker.
This has just happened to me with Volkswagen’s new ID.4.
It’s basically a crossover version of the recently launched ID.3 – the first VW to use the new MEB pure electric platform that is also going to be used on various Seats and Skodas.
I was underwhelmed by the ID.3, partly as I think I’d fixed in my head the car was going to be like an electric Golf – in other words, all the car you’d ever need. Not a bad car, just one that doesn’t match the Golf for all-round excellence.
I’m not a big fan of crossovers, so I wasn’t expecting much from the ID.4. How wrong I was.
You’re looking at a car that’s about the same size as VW’s Tiguan but that is bigger inside. We’re testing the ID.4 1st Edition, costing £37,800 without options.
That is now a price that rules out the Government chipping in with a plug-in car grant.
With options it costs £40,800 and there are those who would say that if you can afford a 40 grand car then you don’t need a grant. They’d have a good point.
The 1st Edition comes with the same (net) battery capacity of 77kWh and 204PS electric motor as fitted to the ID.3 with the Pro S package.
Because the ID.4 is slightly bigger and taller and therefore has more weight and drag, its maximum range is 310 miles compared to the ID.3’s 336.
Other versions of the ID.4 will be along soon with the option of the smaller 55kWh battery fitted to the ID.3 we tested in autumn and also a less powerful motor.
Both will put the price of the car under the £35K PICG bracket. Also on its way is a four-wheel drive version with twin motors.
Another electric crossover we tested recently is the Mercedes-Benz EQA. Unlike the ID.4 the EQA is based on an existing platform so the batteries have to go where they’ll fit.
The result in the Merc is a noticeable reduction in space at the back. No such issues with this Volkswagen.
It feels so spacious in the rear. The wheelbase is the same length as the ID.3’s but the overall is up by 300mm allowing a larger boot at 543 litres.
Up front we have the same dash as the ID.3 and the same much-criticised infotainment display and lack of switches and buttons as found in most new VW Group products.
The heating and volume touch controls aren’t even backlit.
What’s particularly annoying in an electric car is the percentage of battery left is hidden behind three menus. This kind of information needs to be front of house.
Also the same as on the ID.3 is the dinky thumb operated drive selector.
Our test car’s white interior (including steering wheel and the above selector) looks rather snazzy but gave me some work to do after I drove the car having been fixing a motorbike.
A kerb weight of 2,124kg means the ID.4 is not a quick car as 0-62mph in 8.5secs shows. But at speeds that actually matter, the car pulls away beautifully smoothly with no jolt. The selector allows you to choose a ‘B’ setting to increase regeneration but the difference between this and ‘D’ isn’t pronounced.
The ride isn’t particularly comfortable and I suspect that’s down to stiff springs to cope with the weight of the car itself plus people and luggage.
What we have here is an attractive looking motor from the outside that’s spacious inside and which has an impressive range for the money.
If your next crossover is going to be electric you should look closely at the ID.4.
Volkswagen ID.4 1st Edition Four-door crossover
Engine: Single electric motor, 204bhp
Range: 310 miles
Kona electric Premium
The first electric crossover but now facelifted. Good range and value.
Mercedes-Benz EQA Premium Plus
Compromised because it’s not a ground-up new design.
Ford Mustang Mach e
Good to drive and good range from top spec versions.