– Nice, France
Car discourse has led us to believe that anything below exceptional isn’t worth our attention – but I’m here to tell you that it's okay to be okay. The squeakier wheels may get the grease, but more often than not, being very competent in your role supersedes being the flashiest, fastest, or most powerful.
That said, it still sounds like I'm underselling the 2024 Volkswagen ID.7. But truth be told, the electric sedan fulfills its duties as a car well, so long as you’re cool with a car just being a car.
|Quick Specs||2024 Volkswagen ID.7|
|Motor||Single Permanent-Magnet Synchronous|
|Output||282 Horsepower / 402 Pound-Feet|
|Battery||82.0-Kilowatt-Hour Lithium-Ion (77.0 kWH Usable)|
|Range||386 Miles (WLTP)|
|DC Fast Charging Rate||175 Kilowatts|
|Base Price|| |
It makes sense that the ID.7 hits the way it does. It’s a successor to the Arteon, a sedan positioned as "nicer than the Passat," the latter being the okayest car to ever okay. While similar in spirit, the ID.7 is far superior to either in their respective heyday, it just so happens to debut during a period of high expectations for new cars, particularly in the nascent affordable BEV market.
The ID.7 joins the existing all-electric ID family as its flagship. Also built on Volkswagen's MEB platform, the sedan is powered by the company’s new APP 500 drive system, which offers higher efficiency and performance. This module is integrated into the rear axle, fitted with a pulse inverter, and linked to a dual-stage one-speed gearbox. When it launches, it’ll be powered by an 82.0-kilowatt-hour battery (77.0 kWH usable), with a more powerful follow-up unit planned for future versions. Similarly, an all-wheel drive model is on the cards, as is a wagon variant that we won’t get in the States.
Volkswagen claims the ID.7 puts out 282 horsepower and 402 pound-feet of torque, and it’s rated at 386 miles of range on the WLTP cycle. This means it outclasses the ID fam, which VW attributes to its more slippery aero along with the drivetrain improvements. At a DC quick-charging station, the ID.7 can charge at a rate of up to 175 kilowatts, regaining 127 miles after 10 minutes on the plug and able to go from 10% to 80% capacity in 28 minutes.
When it’s time to get busy, the ID.7 hustles to 62 mph in 6.5 seconds, topping out at 112 mph. The whole package rides on a MacPherson front axle and five-link rear axle supported by VW’s dynamic chassis control that optimizes the adjustable dampers for handling or comfort.
When it’s time to hit the road, the ID.7 sails off as smoothly and quietly as one would expect. In fact, the ID.7's civility is one of its strongest attributes. It’s often the case with EVs that they default to settings that favor brake regen rather than the lift-and-coast behavior that non-EV drivers find more natural. As such, the general experience by first-time EV drivers and passengers is a series of micro-inputs that can be nauseating over time.
The ID.7 manages to mitigate any such off-putting sensations in either one of its two regen levels. There’s some level always on in standard mode, but even when it’s switched to the more aggressive setting, it’s palpable but not that punchy. The only caveat is that it doesn’t really lend itself to any sort of one-pedal driving sought out by EV-savvy drivers.
Whichever mode you choose, the ID.7 carries on without much fanfare, either in busy city streets or highway stretches, with an emphasis on "any mode" here. Like most modern vehicles, the ID.7 can dial in certain levels of behavior with preset driving modes. Comfort is default and Eco is there to help stretch out the range, but those wishing to instead stretch the VW’s legs will be left wanting. Volkswagen says that Sport mode enables stiffer dampers, more progressive steering, and sharper control, but the setting seems to be as effective as a pedestrian crossing button. Maybe it does something, but there’s no way to tell.
It’s academic anyway as the friction brakes stand out as a particularly gnarly hair in the soufflé. When applied, there is a significant delay before any actual stopping takes place, long enough to trigger the hairs on the back of your neck to rise as the rear end of the car in front of you inches closer. To be fair, you can get used to it, but it’s easy to forget after not using it regularly.
In fact, the ID.7's civility is one of its strongest attributes.
Apart from the gentle ride, the ID.7’s suspension provides some actual road feel, which is welcome, even if the sedan isn’t being pushed to drive dynamically. On the topic of pushing, the 282 hp on the rear axle never left us wanting. It’s easy to turn your nose up at the stated 6.5-second 0 to 62 time, but in the real world, it’s responsive and the acceleration is there when needed.
Volkswagen has given the ID.7 a streamlined interior to match its sharp outer shell, consisting of a prominent 15.0-inch touchscreen and a hidden-away everything else. The cabin itself is roomy and spartan, with ambient lighting providing a cool glow in the waning hours of the day. It’s fairly inoffensive, but I can see it and the accompanying backlit graphics not being someone’s particular cup of tea.
Included in the ID.7 are a number of “smart” conveniences that didn’t prove to be much of either in my time with the car. Active automatic air vents can be adjusted to maximize cabin comfort, though this is through a slider in the HVAC menu. The alternative is to converse with IDA, the ID.7’s voice command assistant, who ostensibly responds to “I’m hot/cold” which will then adjust the climate accordingly, but this never shook out during our drive. Neither did any of the other attempts at purposely utilizing IDA, though it did choose to randomly activate during idle chatter between myself and my drive partner.
Another hit-or-miss utility was the Travel Assist function that bundles a number of drive assists together for ease of use and safety. VW urged us to try out the vehicle’s automatic lane change and even overtake functions for the highway portions of our run, and while my drive partner managed to make it happen, I struggled to replicate the action.
Thankfully, this isn’t much of a critical function and things like adaptive cruise control, cross-traffic alert, and lane keep assist, to name a few, all work as intended and are welcome inclusions. For its part, the 15.0-inch infotainment screen is home to an overhauled interface thanks to vocal opposition to the previous arrangement. There are now specific access points permanently on the top and bottom of the screen, but it’s still a very busy UI that demands far more attention than it should. Unrelated, the ID.7’s automatic emergency braking is very effective.
In contrast to this large centerpiece, the driver’s display has the proportions of a king-sized candy bar, but it communicates everything it needs to, and having a simplified monitor feels refreshing these days. To make up for it, of course, is the augmented reality head-up display that expands the information provided. Along with mirroring the driver’s fixed-screen instrumentation, it throws in directional arrows when using the onboard navigation, lane markings, and warnings.
The “AR” part happens thanks to the canny way the data is projected onto the windshield. Unlike the usual ghostly image of 2D information, the ID.7 manages to display its graphics at different focal lengths to give them depth and, subsequently, the illusion of lining up with the road ahead of you.
Staying In Your Lane
There might’ve been a moment in time when the world would’ve been awestruck with the ID.7, but today the VW sedan is a solid mid-pack runner, and that would be just fine if the competition wasn’t more dynamic (BMW i4), award-winning (Hyundai Ioniq 6), or pre-packaged with a fervent fanbase (Tesla Model 3). It’s also worth mentioning how anything that isn’t SUV-shaped these days is automatically thrust into an uphill battle.
The ID.7’s success hinges on the as-of-yet-unannounced pricing and the company’s positioning. Attaching the word "premium" to this car has me concerned that the VW hive mind might be overreaching into the luxury space a smidge.
On its own merits, the ID.7 is a highly competent EV that’s well suited to the task of being a daily driver. Its sleek exterior is sharp yet conservative and avoids the pitfall of looking bland. And the right paint job makes a world of difference, even with the limited available color options. Inside, the ID.7 is spacious and livable, where it lets the tech stand out for itself. Overall, it’s hit or miss. When it works, it’s quite neat, but when it doesn’t, it's very distracting.
Lastly, the driving experience is smooth no matter which level of regen is applied. Though it makes no claims to be a barnstormer, the sportier settings seem to be a damp squib while all drive styles suffer from the spongey brake behavior. The ID.7’s worthiness to grace your driveway truly depends on the bottom line as it is very much a car bought out of pragmatism rather than passion.
Gallery: 2024 Volkswagen ID.7 First Drive Review
2024 Volkswagen ID.7