Volkswagen Shows Off ID. 4 Interior, Reinvents The Gear Selector (Again)

The interior looks plenty modern, but EVs haven't nailed down the "shifter", it seems

Volkswagen is preparing its first electric car for the U.S. market, the ID. 4, with sales set to begin this month. The car is already in production in Europe, and before it arrives over here VW showed off exactly what its interior will look like. Not just sketches, but actual, realistic images as to how the ID. 4 will redefine the brand for the electric era.

In short, there’s nothing about its interior that would put any typical Volkswagen buyer off. It has a steering wheel with touch-capacitive buttons like the new Golf. It has a large infotainment display perched atop the center stack. Apart from common controls that are still relegated to buttons, like the cluster of light controls on the left side of the IP, the 2021 Volkswagen ID. 4 carries forward a minimalist design. Some say the German automaker is taking a Tesla-like approach, though I’d argue the car is pretty standard Volkswagen (with all familiar benefits that brings) — except for one feature you’ll use every time you get in the car.

The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 has one obvious quirky feature

Look down at the center console, and you’ll notice two large cup holders and some storage. That’s because the normal gear selector has gone, which isn’t unusual in itself for an EV. Typically, manufacturers move it onto a steering-wheel mounted stalk, as is the case with Teslas and the Mercedes-Benz EQC. Jaguar uses a push-button system, which again you’d come to expect. The BMW i3 arguably has the weirdest method of the bunch, mounting the gear selector on a chunky stalk with a rocker switch at the end.

The 2021 Volkswagen ID. 4 more or less takes the same approach as the i3. This time, however, the gear selector is mounted as a big, black piece of plastic beside the digital instrument cluster. On the right-hand side of the screen itself, you can see the forward, neutral and reverse indicators. The automaker already spearheaded the change with the ID. 3 hatchback, but we won’t see that car here in the U.S.

Mind you, I’m not saying that design choice is a bad one. As it stands, though, it seems we still have some way to go before EVs hit on a common standard, as conventional cars did with a console-mounted shifter.

If you’re curious about how it works, you simply rock the switch forward (away from you) to engage drive or the more aggressive “B” regen setting, then tilt it back toward you to put it into reverse. The parking brake switch is a button at the end of the stalk.

Another new feature: ID. Light

The video above actually shows another feature coming to the new Volkswagen ID. 4: ID. Light. A light strip below the windshield will react to various situations. The resulting lighting effects will provide the driver information without having to look at the infotainment screen, such as flashing green when answering a call. It also signals to the driver that the ID. 4’s drive system is ready or when the car’s locked or unlocked. The video demonstrates ID. Light in the ID. 3 hatchback, but the ID. 4 crossover will use the same system.

The 2021 Volkswagen ID. 4 also features 30.3 cubic feet of rear cargo space, the automaker says. That sort of space is slightly less than a Tiguan, but the car itself is also slightly smaller than a Tiguan as well. It appears to be comparably sized to the Tesla Model Y, though Tesla does not publish cargo space with the rear seats in place (it’s 68 cubic feet with the seats down).

Ordering for the 2021 Volkswagen ID. 4 will open up in the U.S. in September, with a $100 refundable deposit required to make a reservation.