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Two days with a Volkswagen ID.4—here’s what we learned

The Volkswagen ID.4 is a big deal for its manufacturer. After getting busted six years ago for fibbing about diesel emissions, VW underwent a corporate transformation, throwing all its chips into electrification. As a big believer in modular architectures that it can use to build a wide range of vehicles from a common set of parts, it got to work on a new architecture just for battery electric vehicles, called MEB (Modularer E-Antriebs-Baukasten or Modular Electrification Toolkit).

Since then, we’ve seen a dizzying array of MEB-based concepts, including that electric bus that everyone wants, and even a bright green buggy. But the ID.4 is no mere concept. It’s the first production MEB vehicle to go on sale here in the US, designed with the crossover-crazy US market firmly in mind. Last September we got our first good look at the ID.4 in under studio lights in Brooklyn, and a month later, Ars got to spend 45 minutes on the road with a pre-production ID.4. But now we’ve had two full days in a model year 2021 ID.4 1st Edition, getting to know it on local turf.

Volumetrically, it’s about the same size as a Toyota RAV4 or VW Tiguan: 181 inches (4,585mm) long, 73 inches wide (1,852mm), and 64 inches tall (1,637mm), with a 109-inch (2,766mm) wheelbase. Depending on the angle it can be quite a handsome shape. That’s helped by the way the 1st Edition’s aerodynamic 20-inch alloy wheels fill their arches helps convince the brain that the car is smaller than it actually is, as well as the designer’s trick of making bits disappear by cladding them in glossy black panels.

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