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Practical crossover SUV design combines with advanced technologies in first all-electric vehicle.

COURTESY PHOTO: VOLKSWAGEN - The 2022 Volkswagen ID.4 is an attractive all-electric compact crossover SUV, offering practicality with advanced fuel saving technology.The 2022 Volkswagen ID.4 is an affordable all-electric compact crossover for buyers who want to balance the current styles and technologies. It combines the practicality of an SUV with the emerging technologies that appeal to those who want to be ahead of the curve.

Skyrocketing gas prices are increasing interest in all-electric vehicles, especially the more affordable ones. But potential buyers with little previous experience are likely to be confused by the different kinds of information in the ads and reviews, like varying charging times and ranges provided by different size battery packs.

COURTESY PHOTO: VOLKSWAGEN - The boxy design of the 2022 Volkswagen ID.4 is practical and the compact crossover SUV is available with all-wheel-drive.

There's a simpler way for first-timers to consider EVs, however. Most existing owners recharge their vehicles at home overnight and rarely even think about driving more than the easily attainable average range of about 250 miles on a full charge. You don't really need to know how fast an EV with recharge from 10% to 80% capacity at a public fast charger if you will never — or at least hardly ever — use one.

So when focusing on the "vehicle" half of EV, there are two basic styles to consider, conventional and futurist.

Some EVs look and drive like normal cars and SUVs. They include the redesigned Nissan Leaf sedan and the Chevy Bolt EV and Bolt EUV crossovers. Others are more advanced, including the wildly designed Hyundai IONIC 5 and Kia EV6.

COURTESY PHOTO: VOLKSWAGEN - The interior of the 2022 Volkswagen ID.4 combines traditional quality with advanced technologies for a new experience.

The 2022 Volkswagen ID.4 bridges the divide between the two styles. On the outside, it is an attractive but otherwise conventional crossover SUV. But on the inside, the ID.4 is all high-tech, with an infotainment system that ditches knobs and switches in favor of a touchscreen, touch-sensitive buttons and voice controls.

The result should appeal to motorists who don't want to look flashy while still indulging in technologies that are far more advanced than those found in typical family cars. Although the ID.4 departs from the corporate gas-powered VW crossover look on the outside, it is not much different than the newest Korean ones. The interior is what will separate the cautious from the adventurous buyers. They controls take some study and practice, but such technologies are likely to become more common in the future.

COURTESY PHOTO: VOLKSWAGEN - Three adults can fit comfortably in the back of the 2022 Volkswage ID.4.

The ID.4 was introduced last year as the brand's first long-range EV sold in this country. It is now available in several different configurations, including rear-wheel-drive, optional all-wheel-drive, and with different battery packs that deliver between 250 and 280 miles of range on a full charge. Power begins at 201 ponies and tops out at 295. Fast charging is standard.

Safety is a top priority in the ID.4. Every version comes with the company's IQ.DRIVE advanced driver assistance technology. Features include Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring; Blind Spot Monitor; Rear Traffic Alert; Adaptive Cruise Control; Lane Keeping System; Travel Assist; and Emergency Assist. In addition to IQ.DRIVE features, the ID.4 includes Dynamic Road Sign Display; Park Distance Control; and High Beam Control.

COURTESY PHOTO: VOLKSWAGEN - The infortainment system in the 2022 Volkswage ID.4 takes a little getttng use to because of the lack of conventional knobs and buttons.

Over a week of test driving, the two sides of the 2022 ID.4 became clear. My Pro S AWD version was fast off the line and very smooth over most road conditions, although a little unsettled when the road got really rough. The boxy but attractive crossover SUV design was distinctive without being polarizing. Several strangers came up and asked me what the ID.4 was without even knowing it was an EV.

The interior was also very roomy for a compact, especially the rear seat, and the cargo space was impressive. Most materials were up to Volkswagen's high standards, including the leather-like seats.

The controls and infotainment system required some research and practice, though. Part of that was my fault. I started driving the ID.4 without reading the manual or watching any of the instructional videos. It took me a few blocks to figure out how to turn on the radio and several more to adjust the volume. That's not Volkswagen's fault. For an affordable car company, it is pushing the edges with the ID.4.

COURTESY PHOTO: VOLKSWAGEN - Cargo space in the 2022 Volkswagen ID.4 is good for a compact crossover SUV, esepcally with the rear seat folded down.

Some reviewers have called the infotainment system a "deal breaker." I disagree. Automotive technology is evolving — especially with electrified vehicles — and consumers shouldn't be afraid to keep up with it, even if there is a learning curve.

The EPA rates the ID.4 at between 250 and 280 miles of range, depending on whether it has one or two motors and the expanded battery pack. Base prices stretch from around $35,000 to $47,000 before available financial incentives that include a $7,500 federal tax credit and an Oregon rebate of up to $5,000.

COURTESY PHOTO: VOLKSWAGEN - Most owners of all-electric vehciles recharge at home overnight, reducing the need to depend on public charging stations.

The biggest factor in deciding whether to buy a 2022 Volkswagen ID.4 these days is whether you can find one. All affordable EVs are in short supply now because of increasing demand and supply chain problems. If you're considering going electric and can find one, buy it and consider yourself lucky.

A previous Pamplin Media Group preview of the Volkswagen ID.4 can be found here.

2022 Volkswagen ID.4 AWD Pro S

Base price: $35,000 (RWD before incentives)

Price as tested: $48,175 (before incentives)

Type: Compact crossover SUV

Powertrain: Dual electric motors (295 hp)

Range: Up to 285 miles

Transmission: Direct drive

EPA estimated mileage equivalent: 98/88

Overall length: 180.5 inches

Curb weight: 4884 pounds

Final assembly: Mosel, Germany

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