Review: Volkswagen’s ID.4 EV Features Wireless CarPlay and a Gorgeous Infotainment System

Spread the love

While many vehicles have moved toward expansive digital cockpits in front of the driver, the aptly named “ID. Cockpit” features a remarkably small display that offers only a few key pieces of information. With no need for traditional gauges like a tachometer and engine coolant temperature, an EV can get away with some simplicity here, and the ID.4 does exactly that.

As on the Tiguan, I found that the one missing aspect with ‌CarPlay‌ was lane guidance, which does not appear on the cockpit display, while it does with the native navigation system. Second-screen navigation prompts also do not work with third-party navigation apps like Waze and Google Maps.

Other Details

Similar to the Tiguan, the ID.4 includes VW’s proximity sensing feature, which lets certain interface elements recede or disappear when you’re not interacting with the system, bringing them back to visibility as your hand approaches the screen. This includes elements like text labels on icons and ‌widgets‌, which in some cases disappear when you’re not interacting with the screen, leaving only graphics to provide a cleaner view.

I noticed on the ID.4 that this feature even extends to ‌CarPlay‌ a bit, such as with ‌Apple Maps‌ where information cards like those for search disappear after a few seconds of inactivity. Typically, you need to tap on the screen if you want to bring those back up, but thanks to VW’s proximity sensing, they automatically reappear as you reach toward the screen.

The ID.4 also supports some basic gesture controls, allowing you to wave your hand left or right to perform some functions such as swiping between home screen pages and slide-over menus. This functionality does not extend to ‌CarPlay‌, but I’m still not convinced it’s a terribly useful real-world feature, so I don’t miss its absence in ‌CarPlay‌.

As with many vehicles, the ID.4 supports voice control of many functions, and I found the functionality to be fairly flexible. By simply prefacing a request with “Hello ID,” you can control vehicle functions or receive information, and it responds to natural language queries with a broad ability for interpreting requests.

For example, you can use Hello ID to open or close the sunshade, set a navigation location, change SiriusXM stations, or even hear jokes. Simply telling Hello ID that you’re cold or hot will adjust the temperature settings a bit in the corresponding direction, and with dual microphones, the car can tell whether the driver or passenger is making the request and respond accordingly.

2021 vw id4 id lightID. Light showing current battery charge level

The ID.4 also includes VW’s ID. Light system, an LED strip that runs along the base of the windshield and which can deliver information to the vehicle occupants. For instance, it shows green while the vehicle is charging with a pulsing portion of it to indicate the current level of charge. It flashes red to alert for emergency braking, can flash green when there’s an incoming phone call, and a small portion of it lights up white on either the driver or passenger side when Hello ID voice control has been activated, indicating where it believes the person speaking is sitting.

Wireless Phone Charging and Ports
In addition to wireless ‌CarPlay‌, the ID.4 also includes a 5-watt wireless phone charger as standard equipment, recognizing the important pairing of these features. The wireless charger is a slot in the center console that mostly tucks your phone out of the way.

2021 vw id4 consoleCenter console with phone charging slot and two USB-C ports

I initially found the charger to be a bit finicky with my iPhone 12 Pro Max in an Apple MagSafe case, with the system sometimes displaying a warning that the device could not be charged and that I should remove all other items from the charging area even though my phone was the only thing in there. Once or twice the charger also failed to recognize that the phone was on the pad at all and did not initiate charging.
Things got better over the course of my time with the car, so perhaps I just got more familiar with the required positioning for the phone on the pad and it became more natural. The large size of the ‌iPhone 12 Pro Max‌ may also be reducing the margin of error for getting the phone into alignment with the charging coil, but that’s just a guess on my part.

VW tells me it has been closely tracking wireless charger performance and feedback and hasn’t seen any other signs of problems, so this doesn’t appear to be a widespread issue. Regardless, VW says it’ll be looking further into the situation to see what it can find.

2021 vw id4 rear usbRear charge-only USB-C ports

If you prefer to use a wired connection, the ID.4 is well equipped with a total of four USB-C ports: two charge-and-data ones in the center console adjacent to the wireless charging pad and two charge-only ones on the rear of the console for backseat passengers.

Wrap-up
Volkswagen is just one of many car manufacturers making a push into EVs, and the ID.4 is its most ambitious effort so far. VW has fully embraced the use of technology on that platform, and it’s fantastic to see a pairing of a modern infotainment system with standard wireless ‌CarPlay‌ and Android Auto to deliver the best of both worlds to owners.

The 12-inch widescreen display on the Pro S trim is beautiful, and I imagine the 10-inch display on the Pro trim will look nearly as good even at the smaller size. ‌CarPlay‌ looks amazing on the giant screen, and it integrates well with the native system. The second-screen ‌Apple Maps‌ navigation in the digital cockpit is simple but a great feature that I hope will continue to expand across manufacturers and models, and it looks right at home on the ID.4’s cockpit display.

Standard wireless phone charging is also something I really appreciate in the ID.4. Even though I experienced a few issues with it in my testing, I wouldn’t consider them deal-breakers for me and they may not even affect many users.

Leave a Reply