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A “Lead Sled” is on its way to Dismal Manor

Have I gone daft? An ID.4 to replace the Mk 7 GTI? ID.4 is a big luke-warm hatch, innit? In a coming episode, we’ll find out. Read on for my motivation.

ID.4 image courtesy of myvw.com. Dog images by the author.

Dismal Wizard did it. He’s ordered a 2022 VW ID.4 “crossover utility vehicle” to replace the Mk VII GTI. Several things prompted the decision. This the first in a series of articles. Eventually, I’ll write one on financing and another on first impressions.

  • First, the GTI is 6 years old. The Moocher gets the urge to trade at around the 6 year mark.
  • The Moocher wanted to de-carbonize terrestrial transportation
  • The Moocher wanted a bit easier entry and egress than the GTI offers.
  • The Moocher wanted a bit more room for Rocky and Missy.
Nick and Missy in the GTI wayback

Rocky is about 2 inches taller than Nick (27 inches) who was always leaving the dome lights on! Just how big is Rocky? Here we are at lunch at Leapin’ Lizard. Rocky is standing at a standard patio table about 30 inches tall. Rocky’s eye level is about 36 inches. He can see what I’ve left on the work tops.

Rocky at Leapin’ Lizard

And here he is ensconced on “our” (his) bed. I found him here when I awoke. Rocky is not a sub-compact terrier!

Rocky on the Somewhat Bigger Bed (Queen size)

Where is mine?

The VW elves have completed our vehicle and it has left the factory. It is probably aboard a car carrier and en route to Baltimore as I write this. VW Logistics operates 7 ships on the North Atlantic route, each carrying about 7,000 vehicles. Unfortunately, I don’t know which is carrying mine or I could wave as it went by the sea buoy. Once it arrives, it has to be shipped down from Baltimore, prepared for delivery, and we have to do all that fun car dealer stuff to negotiate the remaining degrees of freedom in car purchase. ID.4 AWD is selling at manufacturer’s suggested price but there is still the GTI to trade and financing terms.

Why A VW?

The Moocher has a Mk 7 GTI. It is his best car to date. And he likes the way all the Golfs move. Well, the ID.4 is a big luke-warm hatch, innit? I’ve not seen one. I’ve not driven one. So there is a big Golf act of faith going on here. But experience shopping for the GTI informs my pick. And VW really needs the ID.4 to succeed in every market where it is offered. The ID.4 is a bit bigger, one notch up on the VW size scale from the Golf. So, it is Golf Estate long as opposed to Golf Hatchback long.

Size

It is a bit higher than the Golf but EV aerodynamics have caused VW to lower the vehicle relative to its benchmark vehicles, the 2022 Toyota RAV-4 and Honda CR-V. The ID.4 is 64 inches tall. The Mk 8 GTI is 58 inches tall. Length is about 180 inches vs 168 inches for the GTI. The ID.4 is about 2.5 inches wider in the body so it should fit in the car port.

VW chose not to offer the ID.3 here as VW views it as a niche vehicle in the US market. ID.4 directly challenges the two US market best sellers. They wanted splashy year one numbers rather than GTI year one numbers.

Driving?

When I was shopping for the GTI, I drove a stick Golf, a Diesel automatic Golf, a base Golf, and the automatic GTI I finally bought. The amazing thing was that they all had the same basic Golf personality. The GTI was a bit peppier but all 3 handled about the same and all 3 had a German feel to them. I would have been happy with any of the 3 or 4 that I sampled. Living with the GTI, I came to be impressed with its lack of drama. It pulled strongly to the limiter and has been competent avoiding potholes and road hazards around town.

Reviewer Impressions

Also, I followed early reviews of the ID.4 press cars. Reviewers all liked the interior room, interior materials, seats, and entry and egress was easy for all presenters. They also felt that the ID.4 was a competent daily driver and a good road trip car. Oh and the boot is OK but only 2 put dogs in, a single retriever. Greyhounds are much larger than Labs and Goldens! The ID.4 boot appears large enough to put one dog in passenger cabin and one in the boot with room to stretch and turn around. When the row 2 seats are folded, there is more than enough room for 2 or 3. I once took Nick, Missy, and Crash to the Botanical Garden in the GTI. It was tight but we got there without grumbling!

Most reviewers liked the way the ID.4 pulled from rest but some wanted a bit quicker vehicle. Our ID.4 is the AWD two motor which is GTI quick around town and on the motorway. Car and Driver reviewers had a definite preference for the quicker AWD variant. This has been a consistent theme in the AWD ID.4 reviews, quicker is better.

It’s Not a Tesla Model Y

Some reviewers kvetched because the ID.4 was only family car! Doh, it’s a family car. Don’t expect it to be a BMW M3, BMW 3 series, Porsche Taycan or Tesla Model Y. They are significantly up market vehicles catering to the executive express set, not the dogs and youth soccer family car set. Tesla decided to do its learning in niche vehicles. As they learned, Tesla moved into larger niches but still niches. Tesla’s largest seller domestically is the Model Y. The Model Y has a fast-back boot making it a greyhound car. The rear load deck needs to be a good 30 inches tall over most of its area.

Bravo, Ford and VW

Ford and VW have bravely decided to launch their battery electric vehicle offerings by introducing BEV products for their bread and butter customers. Ford leads off with the F-150 Lightning crew-cab short bed pick up truck. Pundits think Ford has 150,000 orders in the queue. VW leads off with its ID.4 small family vehicle with bespoke production supporting continuous operation of one of its larger German facilities. There are almost no ID.4 vehicles in dealer inventory.

It is critical that these vehicles succeed so both makes are being careful that introductions go well. With the queue filled, VW is promoting the ID.4 less prominently on VW.COM.