VW ID.7: Impressive limo-length EV with a big range – and price tag

It’s a sign of the price increases across the motoring world that this VW family saloon starts at €57,000

VW ID.7

Do you recall a time when a new family saloon cost €30,000?

It wasn’t that long ago. Back in 2020 – a mere four years ago – the VW Passat saloon started at €27,245 for the 1.6-litre TDI diesel. Splash out for the highest specification Highline with the 2-litre 177hp diesel and dual-clutch DSG automatic, and you were leaving €40,980 with the dealer. –

Fast forward four years and the loyal VW family saloon buyer is now faced with choosing either the sleek Arteon, starting at €50,350, or the new all-electric ID.7, priced at €56,490.

Certainly, we’ve seen inflationary rises in the last four years, but this is at a pace far removed from the average employee pay rise.

It’s true that saloon sales have suffered at the hands of SUVs, but even here the prices have risen. A motorist changing from their four-year-old Passat may think to follow the market trend and move into something like a Tiguan. But even then, you are starting at €49,820.

This is not to single out Volkswagen: virtually every brand has undergone similar monumental price hikes over the past four years. And to soften the financial shock, there are a few features on the ID.7 that are worth noting. For starters, there is the size.

With the ID.7 you are getting a much bigger car than even the load-lugging Passat Estate. In fact, it’s longer than the cavernous Skoda Superb Estate. And that’s with this fastback version: there’s an ID.7 estate on the way.

VW ID.7

The ID.7′s size is only appreciated when you park it up in town. The footprint of this car is not far short of an Audi A8. This is a limo-length car, the ideal five-seater EV taxi. There is enough rear-seat legroom to allow a couple of basketball stars to stretch their legs, and as for the boot, we loaded three long fence posts into our test car, and they didn’t trouble the front-seat occupants.

Then there is the array of tech, starting with a big 15-inch infotainment screen that finally sees VW overcome most of the foibles and gremlins that haunted the first iterations of software on its ID.3.

The big screen certainly helps with the controls, though the ID.7 still suffers from the same lack of physical buttons – rather than silly sliders – that VW has installed across its range.

There’s also the funky new glass roof that features the electro-chromatic panel, which can go from clear to opaque at the touch of a button. It’s perhaps not as smart as the one on the Renault Scenic, but it’s more than a temporary thrill to impress the neighbour.

But it’s not the tech that will be the talking point for family buyers, it’s the space. We continually found ourselves coming back to the rear-seat legroom as the main talking point of this car.

And the benefits of its size aren’t just rewarded in the cabin. That extra length means room for more battery modules, in this case a 77kWh battery pack. It’s the same as in other ID models, but in this variant compared with the bulkier others, the sleeker lozenged-shape saloon delivers better energy economy. We’ve mentioned before the importance for EV drivers to consider their economy rates in kWh/100km, just as we always did with petrol and diesel cars and their mpgs or l/100km.

As a rule of thumb 20kWh/100km or above is thirsty, so the fact we were seeing figures as low as 16kW/h in our ID.7 reveals how impressive this VW can be when driven with a light right foot.

VW ID.7

VW claims a range of up to 600km on a full charge, and certainly 450km-plus seems like an achievable figure. And if range is your dealbreaker, then a 83kWh battery pack version with an official range of 700km is due to arrive soon.

In that regard, the ID.7 has a lot going for it. Masses of space, decent range, smart styling and some nice tech touches. It’s also incredibly comfortable to clock up those kilometres, the hefty battery pack and that big cabin seem to float along over the imperfect surfacing of Irish roads.

The main bugbear with the ID.7 is that you do tend to float along on it, rather than engage with it. As with many EVs you really get a sense of riding on, rather than in, the car. Stick the ID.7 on some of tighter and twisting Irish rural roads and it really starts to show its size. It’s a big car and it feels it.

VW ID.7

If your motoring life is spent on motorways and urban routes, then this will not be an issue and it’s a natural habitat for ID.7. But if you regularly drive more challenging back roads in your Passat, then you are going to notice a difference. It’s also not helped by a brake pedal feel that doesn’t bite as sharply as we would have liked, though it is something you get used to.

The electric motor, driving the rear wheels, puts out 286bhp and for a big car, it’s relatively quick in a straight line, hitting 100km/h from a standing start in under seven seconds. But it’s never overtly quick and the sense of the car is that it’s DNA is that of a cruiser.

All that said, there’s a lot going for the ID.7 and you certainly get a lot of car for that hefty price. But it’s still going to come as a shock to current Passat owners when they start looking at prices.

And then there are its rivals, ranging from the Tesla Model 3 to Hyundai’s Ioniq 6 and BYD’s Seal. None of them match the ID.7 for space and arguably that big-car comfort, but they are certainly more competitively priced.

The last four years has seen seismic changes to the automotive world and that’s reflected on our forecourts. It has also seen models such as the Passat no longer offered to Irish buyers.

Many an Irish family motorist, distracted by little things like the Covid pandemic and then the cost-of-living crisis, may not have kept pace with the changes over the last four years. They are in for a bit of a shock when they hit the showrooms – and it won’t simply be with the plethora of plugs.

The ID.7 will pleasantly surprise, certainly in terms of spaciousness, but the big price tag is hard to overlook at a brand that still considers itself a serious contender in the mainstream market.

Lowdown: VW ID.7

Power: 77kWh battery pack supporting an electric motor that puts out 286bhp and 550Nm of torque.

0-100km/h: 6.5 seconds

Range: 615km (WLTP)

Our rating: 3/5

Price: €56,490 (€63,725 as tested)

Verdict: Impressively spacious, sleek saloon that delivers hefty range – but at a very hefty price

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