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Volkswagen ID.4 vs Chevy Bolt EUV: Which Electric SUV is the Smarter Buy?

As an automotive writer and EV enthusiast, I‘ve watched the electric vehicle market mature by leaps and bounds over the past decade. What was once a niche segment with quirky contenders like the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i-MiEV has blossomed into a hotbed of innovation. Nearly every major automaker now offers a compelling battery-powered model, none more popular than the Tesla Model 3.

But the electric SUV and crossover space is the next frontier for mass EV adoption. Consumers have signaled loud and clear that larger vehicles that balance efficiency with utility are the sweet spot. Two of the most buzzed-about entrants are the Volkswagen ID.4 and Chevrolet Bolt EUV. The ID.4 is the tip of VW‘s electrification spear while the Bolt EUV builds on the success of Chevy‘s pioneering hatchback. Let‘s take a deep dive into how they stack up.

Tale of the Tape

First, some basic specs. The ID.4 is slightly larger than the Bolt EUV in all key dimensions:

Volkswagen ID.4 Chevy Bolt EUV
Length 180.5 inches 169.5 inches
Width 72.9 inches 69.7 inches
Height 64.6 inches 63.6 inches
Wheelbase 108.9 inches 105.3 inches

The Volkswagen rides on VW‘s purpose-built MEB electric vehicle platform, while the Bolt EUV uses a modified version of GM‘s BEV2 architecture that also underpins the regular Bolt hatchback.

In terms of range, the ID.4 has a slight edge with an EPA-estimated 260 miles for the Pro RWD model compared to 247 miles for the Bolt EUV. Move up to the ID.4 Pro S RWD and range actually increases to 268 miles thanks to lighter wheels. The Bolt EUV sacrifices a bit of the standard Bolt‘s 259-mile range in exchange for its roomier interior.

Powering the ID.4 Pro models is a single permanent-magnet synchronous motor driving the rear wheels. It makes 201 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque. The Bolt EUV also uses a single motor but it drives the front wheels and makes a near-identical 200 hp and 266 lb-ft.

The pricier ID.4 AWD Pro ($43,675) and Pro S ($48,175) add a second motor up front for a healthy 295 hp and 339 lb-ft combined. No dual-motor option exists for the Bolt EUV, with Chevy likely reserving that setup for future EVs on the company‘s new Ultium platform.

Despite similar power figures and curb weights (around 4,500 pounds), the ID.4 Pro is slightly quicker than the Bolt EUV. Car and Driver clocked the RWD Volkswagen at 7.6 seconds for the 0-60 mph sprint, while the Bolt EUV took 7.8 seconds. The dual-motor ID.4 needs just 5.4 seconds, but its nearly $8,000 price premium puts it in a different league.

Battery and Charging

Supplying electrons to the ID.4‘s motor(s) is an 82 kWh lithium-ion battery pack comprised of 288 pouch cells. Only 77 kWh is usable. The Bolt EUV has a 65 kWh pack, which explains its lower range figure. But an important difference is that the Chevy uses less expensive LG Chem cells while VW opted for premium SKI units.

The ID.4 can DC fast charge at up to 125 kW, allowing it to go from 5 to 80 percent capacity in about 38 minutes under ideal conditions. With its 11 kW onboard charger, it can also fully recharge in around 7.5 hours on a Level 2 home or public charger.

The Bolt EUV maxes out at 55 kW for DC fast charging—still quick enough to add 95 miles of range in 30 minutes according to Chevy, but noticeably slower than the Volkswagen. Its 7.2 kW onboard charger means Level 2 charging takes a more languid 9.5 hours.

An advantage the Bolt EUV offers is standard DC fast charging capability. It‘s a $1,075 option on the ID.4 Pro that requires moving up to the pricier 2nd Edition or 1st Edition trims to get it included. Given that frequent road trippers will definitely want this feature, it‘s a curious omission on VW‘s entry-level model.

Interior Comfort and Utility

Slip inside the ID.4 and you‘re greeted with an airy, minimalist cabin with clean lines and high-quality materials. The centerpiece is a 10-inch infotainment touchscreen (12-inch on higher trims) with crisp graphics and an intuitive layout. A 5.3-inch digital gauge cluster provides key driving data.

Seats are supportive and offer a good range of adjustment, with optional massagers for the front occupants. The lack of a transmission tunnel frees up space for a clever center console with hidden storage. Rear seat passengers enjoy 37.6 inches of legroom—about average for a compact SUV. Cargo volume is a useful 30.3 cubic feet behind the back seats and 64.2 cubes with them folded.

The Bolt EUV‘s cabin has a more conventional design with a freestanding 10.2-inch touchscreen and an 8-inch digital instrument panel. Chevy‘s Infotainment 3 Plus interface has snappy response and logical menus. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, as is Amazon Alexa integration.

While materials aren‘t quite on par with the ID.4, everything feels solid and well-assembled. The front seats are La-Z-Boy comfortable and rear passengers will be pleasantly surprised by the generous 39.1 inches of legroom. That advantage translates to less cargo space though, with only 16.3 cubic feet available behind the rear seats and 56.9 with them down. The novel "floating" center console offers some unique storage cubbies.

Tech and Safety Features

Both EVs come packed to the gills with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and infotainment goodies. The ID.4 makes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane keeping assist standard on every model. Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality and lane centering is included on the Pro S and as an option on the Pro.

The Bolt EUV matches that safety suite and goes a step further with standard adaptive cruise on all models. A particularly nice perk is Chevy‘s Super Cruise hands-free driving system, which can take over steering, braking and acceleration duties on over 200,000 miles of pre-mapped highways in the US and Canada. While not fully autonomous (you still need to monitor the road), it works impressively well and greatly reduces fatigue. VW has no answer for it—yet.

Where the ID.4 fights back is with its trick augmented reality head-up display (HUD). Available on the Pro S, it projects a 3D representation of the road ahead complete with navigation prompts and other helpful data. It can even highlight pedestrians or cyclists it detects to improve situational awareness. The Bolt EUV has a more basic HUD and while functional, it doesn‘t have the same wow factor.

On the infotainment front, ID.4 offers wireless charging and wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, built-in navigation, voice control, and a Harman/Kardon premium audio system with an amp and subwoofer. 4G LTE Wi-Fi is available as an option.

Bolt EUV keeps up with wireless charging and CarPlay/Auto as well as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Its available Bose system sounds great too. But its party trick is an integrated Google interface that lets you handle maps, media, and vehicle functions with natural voice commands. It can also automatically download over-the-air updates to improve functionality.

Charging and Energy Impact

Keeping the ID.4 juiced up will cost you less than the average EV thanks to an EPA combined efficiency rating of 104 MPGe for the Pro and 97 MPGe for the AWD models. Based on average residential electricity rates of around 13 cents per kWh, expect to pay $550 – $600 a year to drive 15,000 miles. If you can schedule charging for off-peak rates that can drop closer to $400.

On paper the Bolt EUV is even more efficient at 115 MPGe combined, translating to $550 in annual fueling costs to cover the same distance. Just remember that the Chevy has a smaller battery so it will need to be plugged in slightly more often.

Speaking of plugging in, all ID.4 buyers get 3 years of unlimited charging at Electrify America‘s growing network of public stations. While most people do the vast majority of charging at home (80-90%), this is a nice perk for occasional road trips or for folks who live in apartments or condos. Chevy doesn‘t have a comparable program.

It‘s also worth noting the ID.4‘s battery is guaranteed to retain at least 70 percent of its original capacity for 8 years or 100,000 miles. The Bolt EUV has the same 8 year promise but without a minimum capacity guarantee. If you plan to keep your EV for the long haul, that‘s something to think about.

On the manufacturing side, both VW and Chevy have pledged to power their US production facilities with renewable energy by 2030 and 2035 respectively. The ID.4 is currently built in Germany but production is shifting to VW‘s Chattanooga, Tennessee plant in 2022. The Bolt EUV is built at GM‘s Orion Assembly in Michigan, which already uses a significant amount of clean energy.

The Road Ahead

Volkswagen and Chevy both have ambitious plans for an electric future. VW has pledged to launch 75 pure EVs globally by 2029 and is investing over $40 billion to get there. The ID.4 is the first of many MEB-based models destined for the US including the ID.Buzz electric microbus and a flagship sedan previewed by the ID.Vizzion concept.

Over at GM, the automaker has committed $35 billion to launch 30 new EVs worldwide by 2025. The Bolt EUV is something of a stopgap until the first wave of Ultium-based models arrive, which will include electric versions of the Chevy Equinox, Blazer, and Silverado pickup. Cadillac also has multiple EVs in the works starting with the 2022 Lyriq SUV.

While neither the ID.4 nor Bolt EUV are their respective brands‘ most technologically advanced or longest-range offerings, they are crucially important. These are the electric vehicles designed to convince mainstream buyers that the future is now. Their success or failure will be a key measure of how quickly the transition from gas to electrons will happen in the world‘s two largest auto markets.

The Verdict

As an EV advocate and admitted tech geek, I‘ll readily acknowledge my bias towards electric vehicles. But taking a step back and evaluating the ID.4 and Bolt EUV objectively, I believe both are exceptionally compelling options for the average car buyer. While the current supply shortage has limited discounts, their sticker prices are getting close to comparable gas models even before factoring in lower operating costs.

The Bolt EUV is hands down the value leader, with a starting price thousands less than the ID.4. While down slightly on range and charging speed, it still has enough juice for the daily needs of most drivers. And with standard DC fast charging and available Super Cruise, it‘s plenty capable of longer trips. For buyers who prioritize a low monthly payment, the Chevy is hard to beat.

The ID.4 feels like the more complete package though. Its bigger battery, quicker charging speeds, and free Electrify America access give it an edge in touring ability. The cabin materials and overall refinement are a clear step above as well. And while pricier, most buyers will still be eligible for the full $7,500 federal tax credit. Over a 3-year lease, that benefit alone cuts the monthly cost significantly.

My pick would be a Pro S RWD model ($45,690 including destination). It offers the best blend of range and features without quite breaking the bank like the AWD versions. The brilliant glass roof, massaging seats, adaptive headlights and AR display are all worthwhile additions. If you live in a wintry climate though, the extra traction of AWD is likely worth the price premium.

Bigger picture, the ID.4 and Bolt EUV are a glimpse at an electrifying future quickly approaching critical mass. Both Volkswagen and Chevy have placed multi-billion dollar bets on battery power and a lineup of models building off these platforms is just around the corner. The ID.4 is VW‘s beachhead into an electric America. The Bolt EUV sets the stage for GM‘s 21st century revival. Let the games begin.