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First drive: 2024 Volkswagen ID.7. Image by Volkswagen.

First drive: 2024 Volkswagen ID.7
Can VWís new electric saloon be a viable alternative to the BMW i4 and Tesla Model 3?

   



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2024 Volkswagen ID.7

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

Volkswagen's new ID. range of electric cars is growing, and the 7 saloon is the latest addition to the ranks. Essentially an electric alternative to the Passat, it's here to offer slightly more mainstream competition for the Tesla Model 3 and BMW i4, but is the smartly styled Volkswagen really up to the job?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2024 Volkswagen ID.7 Pro Match 77kWh
Price: From £51,550 (£52,600 as tested)
Motor: 210kW electric motor
Transmission: single-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Battery: 82kWh lithium-ion battery (77kWh net)
Power: 286hp
Torque: 545Nm
Emissions: 0g/km
Range: 384 miles
0-62mph: 6.5 seconds
Top speed: 112mph
Boot space: 532 litres

Styling

Volkswagen has, essentially, styled the ID.7 in a wind tunnel to maximise the range it can achieve. But the company has done similar things with its other ID. models, so it's no surprise that the ID.7 looks a bit like a longer, lower ID.5. Not that there's much wrong with that. It's handsome in a bland kind of way, although the rear end looks more premium than you might expect given the Volkswagen badge on the back. It's hardly a stunner, though.

Interior

Cabin quality has been something of a weak spot in the ID. range to date, with ID.3 suffering from low-rent materials and the ID.4 and ID.5 siblings feeling a little barren inside. However, the ID.7 is a different kettle of fish, and it feels far more premium than its stablemates, with plush materials and a neatly designed interior that's much more in keeping with the quality levels we expect from Volkswagen.

The centrepiece is the 15-inch touchscreen display, which is the car's nerve centre, and showcases new technology that's designed to make it more user-friendly than the systems seen in other VW products of late. It's still fiddly and imperfect, but there are now configurable taskbars that make it easier to navigate, yet VW persists with touch-sensitive sliders for volume control and temperature control. The company knows drivers don't like them, though, and they're expected to phase them out in coming products.

But the touchscreen isn't the only tech in the ID.7's cabin. There's a tiny instrument display, supplemented by a massive head-up display that projects onto the windscreen. The system uses augmented reality technology to project data in such a way that it looks as though it's in the real world, so lines in the road can be picked out, and arrows can show you where to turn to follow the navigation system.

Then there's Ida. That's the on-board voice assistant, which can perform certain functions using voice commands, and is designed to converse quite naturally with the driver. It's quite a disobedient system, and it's soon to be 'enhanced' with AI tech, allowing it to offer more answers to questions and converse even more naturally.

But arguably the best bit, and certainly one of the most effective parts, of the ID.7's interior is the ambient lighting system. With a selection of different colour settings, it makes quite a difference to the car's ambience, and customers can set their favourite through the screen. It's surprising what a difference a change of colour can make to the ID.7's interior.

Practicality

Given its size, perhaps we shouldnít be surprised to find plenty of space in the ID.7. The boot is massive, at 532 litres, and that volume will only grow when Volkswagen brings out the estate version. Admittedly, thereís no Ďfrunkí under the bonnet, and right-hand-drive examples have a pitifully small glovebox, but there is a lot of passenger space, with ample room for two in the front ó you wonít find yourself elbowing your passenger ó and sufficient room for two more in the back. Legroom is particularly good, and while headroom isnít brilliant for exceptionally tall rear-seat passengers, itís more than good enough for 95 per cent of the population.

Performance

For the time being, just one powertrain is available for the ID.7, and it's dubbed 'Pro'. That combines an 82kWh battery (of which 77kWh is usable) with a 286hp electric motor that drives the rear wheels. That means it's good for 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds, and it tops out at 112mph. More importantly, the system offers a long electric range of 384 miles on a single charge, and our test suggested drivers should achieve well over 200 miles without trying. Drive economically, and that might extend closer to 300 miles. And because you get 170kW charging, the car can be recharged from five per cent to 80 per cent in less than half an hour, assuming you can find a charger that will deliver power that quickly.

However, the Pro is due to be supplemented by a Pro S model, with a bigger battery of 86kWh usable capacity, offering even greater range. And VW has also promised that version will get 200kW charging for equally rapid charge times, while those who want performance can probably expect a go-faster GTX model with a two-motor all-wheel-drive system to arrive at some point.

Ride & Handling

Although it may be powerful, the ID.7 is not the last word in sporting intent. The car is heavy ó it weighs around 2.2 tonnes ó and the suspension is very much set up for comfort over handling. And it delivers on that front, with a very mature ride at all speeds and particular waftiness on the motorway. Admittedly, some sharper imperfections in the surface will catch the car out slightly, with the weight and the large alloys taking their toll, but itís generally a comfortable thing.

Itís inert, though. The steering has very little feel and even the extra weight added in Sport mode doesnít make it any more engaging. And though itís rear-wheel drive, the electronics step in the moment thereís some slip from the rear wheels. That said, for most drivers, the ID.7 will hustle along perfectly acceptably, with decent body control allowing you to drive quickly without making your passengers feel too ill, and enough agility to corner at pace.

The only catch is the brake pedal, which is even more devoid of feel than the steering. Itís true that it balances the needs of the regenerative braking system and the conventional brakes, but itís very heavy, which normally means the brakes are very responsive. But not in this. Instead, the brake pedal needs to move quite a way before the (considerable) might of the brakes is unleashed, and that erodes confidence somewhat. Particularly at the initial braking point, when smaller movements elicit very little response.

Value

At launch, the ID.7 range is simple, with just the Pro Launch Edition on offer. But when the car is established, there will be the Pro Match tested here, which comes in at £51,550. Admittedly, it comes with plenty of equipment, including the head-up display, massive touchscreen and heated and ventilated seats. All that stuff is standard, so there's really no need to go mad with the options or more upmarket models, but £51,550 is a lot of money, particularly when the cheapest BMW i4 costs around £1,000 less, and a mid-range Polestar 2 comes in at less than £49,000.

Verdict

There's a lot going for the ID.7. Its long range, reasonable efficiency and spacious cabin will all play well with customers, and the fact it looks quite attractive should help, too. But for a £50,000 car to succeed, it has to do more than just tick boxes, and while (so-so infotainment system aside) the ID.7 is very competent, it just doesn't have the allure of the slightly cheaper Polestar 2 and BMW i4.



James Fossdyke - 25 Jan 2024



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2024 Volkswagen ID.7 Pro Match 77kWh. Image by Volkswagen.2024 Volkswagen ID.7 Pro Match 77kWh. Image by Volkswagen.2024 Volkswagen ID.7 Pro Match 77kWh. Image by Volkswagen.2024 Volkswagen ID.7 Pro Match 77kWh. Image by Volkswagen.2024 Volkswagen ID.7 Pro Match 77kWh. Image by Volkswagen.

2024 Volkswagen ID.7 Pro Match 77kWh. Image by Volkswagen.2024 Volkswagen ID.7 Pro Match 77kWh. Image by Volkswagen.2024 Volkswagen ID.7 Pro Match 77kWh. Image by Volkswagen.2024 Volkswagen ID.7 Pro Match 77kWh. Image by Volkswagen.2024 Volkswagen ID.7 Pro Match 77kWh. Image by Volkswagen.








 

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