Introduction and model history
The ID.7 will sit at the top of Volkswagen’s ever-expanding range (although in terms of price it sits alongside the ID.Buzz), and will be available (eventually) in both saloon and Tourer forms. Although Volkswagen officially refers to the ID.7 as a saloon, it’s actually a large hatchback. As part of Volkswagen’s plan to gently ease buyers from ICE models to electric, it loosely fills the void that will appear in the brand’s range when the Passat saloon disappears from the line-up next year (the new model will be estate-only).
It also marks a further and significant development of the ID design language and feel. Having launched the ID.3 with a futuristic, ultra-modern look, Volkswagen has altered its approach considerably - introducing a far more refined, conservative and traditional look that it hopes will have greater appeal with existing buyers.
Battery range and charging
The ID.7 will come with two battery size options: the familiar 77kWh pack that appears across the existing range, and a new 86kWh pack that so far has only been offered in the ID.Buzz long-wheelbase. The smaller pack will be available from launch with the larger one joining the line-up in mid-2024. In terms of charging, the 77kWh pack peaks at 170kW on a DC charger, while the 86kWh pack can accept a charge speed of up to 200kW. Expect 10-80% charge times of around 25-35 minutes on a suitable DC charger.
To address the issue of slow charging in cold weather, the ID.7 features Volkswagen’s clever pre-conditioning system that heats the battery to the perfect temperature. As with similar systems from Tesla, Mercedes, Hyundai and Kia, it works via the navigation system. Select a DC rapid charger as your destination and the battery heater will ensure that the pack is at the optimum temperature to accept a fast charge. The function can also be manually activated using the charging menu in the infotainment system.
As for range, the entry level ID.7 has a provisional WLTP figure of 382 miles while the bigger battery model is expected to come with a 435 mile WLTP figure. That would make the ID.7 one of the longest range electric cars on the market.
On our mixed driving route, which included long sections of French autoroute and mountainous A-roads, we averaged 3.2 miles per kWh. This translates to a real-world range of around 246 miles, which is some way off the official WLTP figure.
Practicality and boot space
While Volkswagen calls the ID.7 a saloon, it’s actually a large hatchback and features all the packaging and practicality advantages you would expect to find in a five-door car. Despite being lower slung than an ID.4 (it’s 105mm lower than its SUV sibling) it feels spacious and accommodating throughout the cabin. Thanks to its 2,966mm wheelbase, the cabin is 200mm longer than the ID.4 – an increase that is particularly notable in the back where passengers have plenty of legroom. Cleverly, Volkswagen has been able to retain a useful amount of foot space under the front seats so lankier rear seat passengers can slide their feet under. Try the same in a Tesla Model 3 and you’ll get squashed toes.
Headroom is good throughout (1,030mm front, 961mm rear) with the optional panoramic roof bathing the cabin in natural light. Instead of featuring a traditional roller blind to keep the sun out on hot days, the roof has an electronic dimming system called Smart Glass that turns the glass opaque at the touch of a button.
Despite the black trim and headlining of our test car, the ID.7 feels spacious and comfortable. However, although the rear can seat three, the bench is shaped into two individual seats, which means that the centre passenger is effectively sitting on a raised divider.
Further back, the ID.7’s boot is big, wide and perfectly sized for a family on the move. With the rear seats in position, the ID.7 has a luggage capacity of 532 litres, a figure that rises to 1,586 litres with the rear seats folded flat. Although the ID.4 offers a little more space with the seats up, the ID.7’s boot will still be more than big enough for most.
Interior, design and technology
Inspired by the ID. Vizzion concept car, the ID.7 follows the welcome trend towards sleeker, more aerodynamically efficient designs. Like the Hyundai IONIQ 6 and Tesla Model 3, the ID.7 is designed to slice through the air rather than bulldoze it out of the way. As a result, the ID.7’s profile is clean, simple and rather elegant. It works better from some angles than others, but hits the brief in terms of being contemporary, subtle and inoffensive. If the Hyundai IONIQ 6’s crazy details are a step too far for you, the ID.7 is probably a better fit.
Being a Volkswagen, there are some neat and well-executed details. The wraparound rear light clusters and the elegant, almost semi-circular roofline (reminiscent of the 1996 Passat) are particularly pleasing to the eye.
Inside, the ID.7 marks an even further departure from the minimalist cabins first seen on the ID.3 and ID.4. Volkswagen has worked hard to ramp up the luxury and in doing so has created a cabin that feels genuinely special. There are high quality materials throughout with contrast stitch leather trim, soft plastics and metal strips delivering a genuinely premium feel. The layout is also more conventional than on earlier ID models with a new digital display behind the driving wheel and the same conventional gear selector stalk that first appeared on the ID. Buzz.
The infotainment system is also much improved. It runs the fourth generation of Volkswagen’s infotainment software and during our brief time with the car was flawless with fast menu changes and slick execution of commands. Helped by a larger 15-inch display, the graphics are clear, easy to navigate. Volkswagen has clearly listened to criticism of earlier systems (of which there was plenty) and has created a much improved set-up. Another small but significant change is the introduction of back-lighting for the volume and temperature sliders that sit just below the screen. Where drivers previously had to guess where the controls were at night, they now glow gently. At last.
Volkswagen’s clever augmented reality head-up display is also fitted as standard. This overlays graphics and instructions onto the windscreen to deliver more accurate navigation. In reality, it works pretty well with bright graphics and easy-to-follow instructions. It’s just a shame that Volkswagen’s in-built mapping is a little below par, with clunky graphics that don’t have the clarity or intuitive feel of Google or Apple maps.
To further boost comfort levels, the. ID.7 comes with a new generation of ergoActive seats that come with new massage functions, along with heating and cooling systems. They offer up to 14 adjustment options along with an automatic climate setting that uses temperature and moisture sensors in the seats to detect the cooling and or heating requirement. Three special modes can also be selected: maximum heating, maximum ventilation or maximum drying.
Buyers can choose between ergoActive comfort and premium seats with the latter coming with new pelvis cushions that pummel your backside to keep you feeling fresh on long hauls. The effect takes a little getting used to, especially when combined with the heating and cooling function. That said, we found the seats to be exceptionally comfortable on our two hour route. If you struggle with a bad back, they could well make a big difference on longer hauls.
The ID.7’s heating and ventilation system has also been ratcheted up a notch. It debuts a new smart system that starts working when the key holder approaches the car, which gives it a few seconds head-start in getting the cabin to your pre-set temperature.
The ID.7 is, of course, loaded with safety and assistance systems, almost bafflingly so. Travel Assist can take over steering and distance control should you require it, although the driver is required to hold the wheel at all times. Which rather limits its usefulness. More helpful are the parking assist systems which can slot the ID.7 into tight spaces with the driver in the car or remotely via the Volkswagen app.
Motors, performance and handling
To date, all ID models have used the same drivetrain hardware to deliver power to the road. The ID.7 is the first model to feature Volkswagen’s second generation motor and inverter (the piece of kit that converts the DC energy of the battery into AC energy for the motors).
The new rear mounted motor generates 210kW and 545Nm of torque and features a number of improvements over the previous design. A number of gearbox components have also been friction-optimised and reinforced to ensure that the motor runs as efficiently as possible. In use, the new motor delivers sharp acceleration and a helpful wadge of overtaking torque when needed. However, our disappointing consumption figures (3.2 miles per kWh on our test route) suggest that the improvements haven’t bought quite the leap forward in efficiency we were hoping for.
In terms of dynamics, the ID.7 uses the same architecture as other ID models with MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link axle at the rear. That said, Volkswagen has improved the bushes on the rear axle (the component that links the suspension to the body) in an effort to deliver a quieter, smoother ride.
On the road, the ID.7 feels incredibly composed with a pliant ride quality and direct steering. Body roll is well controlled and despite its size, the ID.7 never feels unwieldy. The controls are well weighted, with the steering providing plenty of feedback and the brakes delivering a solid pedal feel. Our only gripe is that the B mode regenerative braking could be a little more powerful. While the new motors have given B mode a little more bite than on other ID models, the 7 isn’t a car that offers true one-pedal driving.
Running costs and pricing
Volkswagen will launch the ID.7 in the UK with a Launch Edition that features a carefully curated equipment list. Early customers (ordering by 2 January 2024) will also qualify for a free Ohme wall box. Buyers who already have a box get £750 charging credit (valid for 3 years) from WeCharge.
The launch model comes with a £55,570 price tag, which pitches it against alternatives including the Tesla Model 3, Polestar 2, BMW i5 and Hyundai IONIQ 6. To lure in company car drivers – which are likely to make up the vast majority of buyers – the ID.7 will launch with a punchy PCP deal that undercuts several rivals, along with a deposit contribution of £3,000.
Comfortable, beautifully made and refined, the ID.7 feels like the first ID product that truly embraces the qualities buyers have come to expect from the brand. It feels like Volkswagen doing what Volkswagen does best – something the first ID.3 didn’t. The elements of ID that needed fixing – primarily the infotainment system – have been overhauled while the new motor and improved suspension give the ID.7 a genuinely luxurious feel. Our only quibble is the efficiency, which seems a long way off the official figures. We’ll reserve judgement on those until we can get a longer, more representative run in the car when UK models arrive early next year.