Unveiling the Best Electric Family SUV
The Best Electric Family SUV: Volkswagen ID.4
In a world where electric cars are finally becoming more commonplace, it is interesting to note that no one has really stepped up to produce an all-electric family SUV that seats eight. You can find plenty of hybrid SUVs and crossovers that offer seating for up to seven, and even a few that give larger families a third row of seating, but car manufacturers are only now beginning to produce electric SUVs that meet the needs of the average family. And the average family today, is a bit smaller than it used to be.
The Electric Car for the Masses
To find the best electric SUV for families, we examined a number of contenders. These included Audi’s excellent Q4 e-tron. But with a starting price of 45K, we were hoping for a vehicle that was more affordable for a family of four. As it turns out, the best car for the masses is just now seeing the light of day.
Enter the Volkswagen ID.4. The clever crossover is poised to take on such contenders as the new Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai’s Kona Electric, Toyota’s RAV4 and even Tesla’s Model X. The reason we think the ID.4 will blow the doors off of many such contenders has to do with the car’s overall likability. It isn’t the fastest electric SUV and it isn’t the most luxurious. It is, however, an excellent middle-of-the-road family vehicle that is available at an affordable price.
The base model has an MSRP of $39,995 before getting local, state and federal rebates and tax credits for owning an electric car. Plus, it has many of the elements that families will be looking for in an electric car as an everyday driver, namely plenty of space, the latest safety and infotainment technology, and a range of 250 miles between charges.
Performance, Technology and Comfort
As of this writing, the ID.4 available for testing is the single motor version which makes 201 horsepower and is rear wheel drive only. A dual motor, all-wheel drive version is coming that will add 101 more horses to the front for faster zero to 60 mph times. The single motor ID.4 goes from zero to 60 mph in just over 7 seconds. Not that speed and race-like handling is a necessity for a family car, but VW does give a nod to its GTI heritage in that the ID.4 is both nimble and maneuverable, with tight steering and GTI-like playful prowess for an EV. It is currently the best-handling electric car in the compact crossover class. The car’s 33.6-foot turning circle is even less than the Chevy Bolt’s.
The ID.4 exhibits the pride in German engineering that VW is so famous for. The fit and finish is exceptional and the sleek coefficient of drag of 0.28 matches the higher priced Audi e-tron. Inside, the look is clean, sparse and sort of futuristic. Every ID.4 comes with keyless access and the car is powered up by a simple press of the brake pedal.
There’s plenty of room in the back and the rear seats fold down to offer 64.2 cubic feet of cargo space. The ID.4 comes with Volkswagen’s IQ.Drive advanced driver assistance technology featuring hands-on semi-autonomous capability. An intuitive 12-inch touchscreen and light bar called ID.Light runs across the dashboard using glowing visual and acoustic cues to telegraph incoming calls, brake warnings, charge status and more. It is a truly smart, smart car. Creature comforts include heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.
The ID.4 is new for 2021 and is the first in what VW refers to as an entire line of other ID labeled cars to come. Hopefully, one of them will be a larger SUV that offers seating for seven. But then, this isn’t the first time that Volkswagen has built a car for the masses. And if the ID.4 is any indication, it won’t be the last.
VW hopes to build 20 million EVs by 2029, and you can pre-order your ID.4 today at https://www.vw.com/en/models/id-4.html