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VW ID.4 vs Subaru Solterra: 10 Reasons to Pick the Volkswagen EV

The electric vehicle market is accelerating at a rapid pace, with battery prices dropping, ranges increasing, and charging infrastructure expanding. Two highly anticipated new models exemplify the surge: the Volkswagen ID.4 and the Subaru Solterra.

Both are compact electric SUVs, built to appeal to the family car market with zero tailpipe emissions. They come from established brands known for well-engineered, practical vehicles. And they have the size, features, and versatility that make crossovers so popular. But look closely and the differences become clear – differences that tilt the scale in VW‘s favor. Here are 10 reasons the ID.4 tops the Solterra as the EV SUV to buy.

1. Accessible pricing

For many shoppers, the biggest barrier to going electric is the upfront cost. While EVs can save money on fuel and maintenance in the long run, the higher sticker price deters adoption. The ID.4 does a better job bringing down that price.

The 2023 VW ID.4 starts at $38,995 for the base Standard trim with a 62 kWh battery pack and rear-wheel drive. With the $7,500 federal tax credit it qualifies for, the cost comes down to $31,495. Higher trims like the Pro ($43,445) and all-wheel-drive Pro S ($53,745) are available for those who want more range, power, and features.

In contrast, the 2023 Subaru Solterra starts at $44,995 for the base Premium trim with standard all-wheel drive (there‘s no front-wheel drive variant). The Limited ($48,495) and Touring ($51,995) trims add some luxury touches. All qualify for $7,500 in federal tax incentives, but the cheapest Solterra still ends up $6,000 more than the entry ID.4.

In a segment where every dollar counts, the ID.4‘s lower base price makes it more attainable for budget-minded families. Volkswagen‘s wider variety of trims also provides more flexibility to pick the right balance of cost and capability.

2. Superior range

Range anxiety remains one of the biggest fears about EVs. The ID.4 goes further to alleviate those concerns, with significantly more driving distance than the Solterra.

Equipped with the larger 82 kWh battery back, the ID.4 Pro RWD is EPA-rated for 275 miles of range on a single charge. The AWD version goes 255 miles. Even the smaller 62 kWh Standard model manages 209 miles. In independent tests, the ID.4 has exceeded those estimates.

The Solterra trails across the board. Its sole 72.8 kWh battery pack and standard AWD powertrain achieve only 228 EPA-estimated miles, 8-20% less than comparable ID.4 models. Some reviewers saw even less in real world tests.

For commuters pushing the daily distance, or road trippers who want to minimize charging stops, the ID.4‘s superior range provides crucial extra cushion. Over years of ownership, it adds up to substantial time and hassle saved.

3. More powerful motors

While EVs are known for quick acceleration from the instant torque of their electric motors, having more power is still advantageous for merging, passing, towing, and climbing hills. Here again the ID.4 comes out ahead.

The base ID.4 Standard uses a single rear-mounted permanent-magnet synchronous motor producing 201 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque. Pro models bump that to 295 hp and 339 lb-ft with the larger battery and optional AWD that adds a front motor.

Volkswagen says the ID.4 Pro AWD can sprint from 0-60 mph in 5.4 seconds, a swift time for an SUV. It‘s also rated to tow up to 2,700 pounds when equipped with the optional hitch.

The Solterra makes do with a pair of less potent AC synchronous motors, one per axle. Combined output is 215 hp and 248 lb-ft, and 0-60 takes around 6.5 seconds according to independent tests. Subaru also doesn‘t rate it for any towing due to the efficiency reduction.

So the ID.4 proves more muscular, especially in AWD form. Buyers who prioritize performance will prefer its peppier acceleration and higher tow rating.

4. Faster charging

Besides range, charging speed is the other key factor in EV adoption. Filling up at the pump takes a few minutes, while even fast charging requires a longer stop. But the gap is shrinking as charging rates rise, and the ID.4 is pulling ahead.

Using a public DC fast charger, the ID.4 can replenish from 5% to 80% capacity in just 38 minutes thanks to a peak 135 kW charging rate. Volkswagen has also partnered with Electrify America to provide new ID.4 owners with three years of free 30-minute charging sessions at any of its 1,800+ stations nationwide.

On a Level 2 240V home or workplace charger, the ID.4 regains 32-37 miles per hour of charging (depending on RWD or AWD). A full charge takes under 8 hours on the Standard‘s 62 kWh pack or 10-11 hours for the 82 kWh Pro/AWD models.

The Solterra‘s charging performance can‘t match those impressive figures. Its peak DC fast charging rate is only 100 kW, resulting in an 80% charge in 56 minutes. There‘s no complimentary charging offer, though a deal is in the works.

For Level 2 charging, the Solterra regains 25-30 miles per hour, and takes 9-10 hours for a full top-up. That‘s 2-3 hours longer than the ID.4 with its bigger pack.

As charging infrastructure matures, the speed to replenish matters more. The ID.4‘s clear advantage here makes it the better bet for an electric future.

5. Roomier interior

SUV buyers prioritize interior space for passengers and cargo. The ID.4 has a notable edge in both areas compared to the smaller Solterra.

The ID.4 rides on a 108.9-inch wheelbase, with an overall length of 180.5 inches. Volkswagen lists total passenger volume at 99.9 cubic feet, with 41.1 inches of front legroom and 37.6 inches rear. Cargo capacity is 30.3 cubic feet behind the rear seats, or 64.2 cubic feet with them folded down.

The Solterra has a 3.5-inch shorter wheelbase and nearly 6 inches less overall length. That translates to a tighter 95.7 cubic foot passenger area, with an inch less front legroom and nearly 2 inches less rear. Cargo room also shrinks to 27.7 cubic feet seats up and 60.0 down.

While compact on the outside, the ID.4 feels a class larger inside thanks to excellent packaging and the space efficiency of its dedicated EV platform. The Solterra‘s cabin is adequate but noticeably less airy. Families will appreciate the VW‘s extra room to stretch out.

6. More premium features and tech

Both electric SUVs offer compelling tech features, but the ID.4 has more of them, especially on higher trims. Some key advantages:

  • 12-inch touchscreen (vs 8-inch)
  • Augmented reality head-up display
  • Panoramic fixed glass roof
  • Power folding door mirrors
  • Heated windshield and washer nozzles
  • Hands-free power liftgate
  • Illuminated grille and light bar
  • 30-color ambient lighting
  • Sliding, reclining rear seats
  • Massaging front seats

The Solterra offers some nice touches like a digital rear-view mirror and panoramic sunroof on upper trims. But overall the ID.4 feels a step above in premium features and high-tech delights. It has more opportunity for surprise and delight.

7. Sleeker styling

While the ID.4 isn‘t a style icon like a Tesla, it‘s an undeniably handsome vehicle, with clean lines, balanced proportions, and a solid stance. The smooth front end, sculpted sides, and full-width LED light bar convey a sense of sophistication and solidity.

In contrast, the Solterra‘s angular sheet metal and busy fascias come off as fussy and forced. The slitted headlights and chunky plastic cladding suggest an identity crisis between rugged and futuristic. In a recent comparison test, reviewers said "its design drew far more ire than praise."

Styling is subjective, but Volkswagen has a long history of tasteful, well-proportioned designs that age well. As a fresh entry in an emerging segment, the ID.4 makes a better first impression.

8. Proven platform and powertrain

The auto industry‘s pivot to EVs is happening fast, and not every first effort will be a home run. Automakers are learning in real time, and partnering to share costs and technologies.

The Solterra is the product of one such joint venture between Subaru and Toyota. While both are respected brands, it‘s their first dedicated electric vehicle. The Solterra is closely related to the Toyota bZ4X, and the two share a new platform, batteries, and motors. Initial reviews have revealed some teething issues like inconsistent regenerative braking and drive modes.

The ID.4 benefits from Volkswagen‘s multi-year head start in engineering compelling long-range EVs. It uses the same advanced MEB architecture and powertrain as the ID.3 hatchback, which has been on sale in Europe since 2019. Those core EV components have been refined and road-tested extensively.

Battery and software are two of the trickiest elements to get right in a new EV. The ID.4‘s more mature tech gives confidence that it will function smoothly. Being the guinea pig for new EV models isn‘t for everyone.

9. Higher self-driving potential

Both the ID.4 and Solterra offer advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) to reduce fatigue and avoid hazards on the road. But the ID.4‘s potential for future self-driving upgrades looks more promising.

Using a suite of cameras, radar, and ultrasonic sensors, VW‘s IQ.DRIVE can automatically steer, accelerate, and brake the ID.4 on highways, even in stop-and-go traffic. It includes hands-free lane centering, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, automatic forward emergency braking, and more. Over-the-air updates allow new features and refinements to be added.

The Solterra‘s assists are capable, but more limited. Its lane tracing and dynamic cruise only work above 19 mph and can‘t cope with stop-and-go situations. Subaru pre-wires the Solterra for self-parking, but the feature itself is "coming soon." Reviewers have found its systems jerky and unnatural in use.

While both EVs are still far from autonomous, the ID.4 shows more advancement in driver aids. It feels like a stepping stone to the future.

10. Lower expected ownership costs

Owning an EV should provide substantial savings in fuel and maintenance costs over a comparable gas vehicle. But some EVs are cheaper to run than others. Based on third-party data, the ID.4 looks like a better long-term value than the Solterra.

The EPA rates the ID.4 Pro RWD‘s efficiency at 107 MPGe combined. At the national average electricity price of $0.14 per kWh, that equates to $550 in annual charging costs.

The Solterra is rated at 97 MPGe combined, working out to $600 per year in electricity. So the ID.4 saves $50 annually, or $500-750 over the typical length of ownership.

On the maintenance front, EV service costs are already 30-50% less than gas vehicles on average, due to fewer moving parts and fluids. But the ID.4 may widen that advantage.

VW‘s electric motors use a permanent magnet design that‘s simpler and more durable than the Solterra‘s AC induction motors. That lowers the risk of expensive failures outside the warranty. VW also has a much wider dealer and service network for easier access to parts and repairs.

Finally, depreciation is the single biggest cost of vehicle ownership. Here the ID.4 may hold another advantage, as VW‘s track record for long-term reliability and resale value is stronger than Subaru‘s in recent years. ALG and Edmunds both rank VW higher than Subaru for retained value after 5 years.

While future costs are never certain, signs point to the ID.4 being the more economical EV to own and operate. Buyers should consider that in their decision.


The Subaru Solterra is an admirable first effort at an electric SUV, with decent range, standard AWD, and some slick tech features in a compact package. But the VW ID.4 overshadows it in almost every aspect that matters most to EV shoppers.

With its superior range, power, charging speed, interior space, styling, pricing, and self-driving capability, the ID.4 feels like the more complete and compelling EV. Its dedicated platform, proven powertrain, and lower operating costs also make it a wiser long-term bet as electrification accelerates.

For buyers in the fast-growing electric crossover segment, the ID.4 is the clear choice over the Solterra. It goes further toward making EVs accessible, practical, and desirable to the mass market. Volkswagen has done its homework and delivered an EV that pushes the industry forward.