No matter how you think of the EV industry today, every conversation is pretty much a discussion of how a new car compares to something Tesla makes. In this case, that something is the Tesla Model 3.
As the electric vehicle manufacturer to beat, it’s no surprise that Tesla is the standard bearer but it does beg the question of just how good Tesla really is compared to the competition. As Volkswagen has been making cars since 1937, they have a deep foundation with which they can start mass producing a quality EV.
Here’s a look at how these two vehicles compare to help you decide which one is right for you.
Tesla Model 3 vs. Volkswagen ID.4: A Side-by-Side Comparison
|Volkswagen ID.4||Tesla Model 3|
|Date of Release||September 2020||July 2017|
|Range||209-275 miles||272-358 miles|
|0-60 Speed||5.7 seconds (model dependent)||3.1 seconds (model dependent)|
|Charging Speed||10-80% in 30 to 36 minutes on a 240V charger||10-80% in 18 minutes, under 7 hours on a 240V charger|
|Number of Seats||5||5|
|Cargo Space||30.3 cubic feet||22.9 cubic feet|
|Self Driving||IQ.DRIVE||Enhanced Autopilot, Full Self-Driving Capability|
|Warranty||4-year 50,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty|
8-year 100,000-mile battery warranty
|4-year 50,000-mile bumper to bumper|
8-year 100,000-mile battery warranty
Volkswagen ID.4 vs. Tesla Model 3: What’s the Difference?
For the most part, car manufacturers have used the transition to EVs as an opportunity to simplify their pricing and trim levels to help eliminate consumer confusion. Volkswagen appears to be going in a direction offering not two or three different trim levels like Tesla, Hyundai, or Kia, but instead, offering nine different models.
Pricing for the base model, the ID.4 Standard, begins at $38,995 and comes fairly well-equipped. However, the starting price of the top trim level, the ID.4 AWD Pro S Plus jumps up to $55,245, a difference of over $16,000 between the two models. The higher trim does justify its price with better overall features like larger tires and a better overall aesthetic look, but offering such a dramatic range of pricing for potential buyers is a big roll of the dice for Volkswagen.
Tesla, for its part, has maintained its straightforward pricing approach since its inception. There are very few extras you can purchase so it’s very easy to come into the buying process knowing exactly what you are going to pay. The entry Rear-Wheel Drive trim level starts at $43,990 while the Performance trim level pricing starts at $53,990. Outside of these prices, you should only expect to pay more if you want a premium exterior paint color or, on the RWD model, if you want sport tires. The only other potential cost for Tesla Model 3 buyers is the non-standard choice of either Enhanced Autopilot or Full Self-Driving Capability for $6,000 or $15,000, respectively.
Like price, when it comes to range, things get a little tricky given the number of available trim levels for the ID.4. For the most part, depending on the trim level, Volkswagen buyers can expect either 209, 255, or 275 miles of range. This number varies and there is no specific methodology that shows the higher-priced models get the most range. In fact, the top-of-the-line trim, the AWD Pro S Plus, only gets 255 miles while the RWD Pro S Plus has 275 miles of range.
Out of the nine available trim levels, only two offer 209 miles, while four offer 255 miles, leaving three models to provide 275 miles of range. It’s definitely a convoluted lineup though it can be simplified if you are already decided on RWD or AWD as that will help cut the number of choices down by half.
Thankfully, Tesla’s Model 3 lineup offers a more simplified understanding of range. The Rear-While Drive model offers 272 miles of range, though that drops to 267 miles if you opt for the sport tires. The Model 3 Performance trim level offers 315 miles of range and that number stays final as there are no additional options that will impact range. In addition, the Long Range trim level, which is returning sometime in 2023, is the most premium of the Model 3 vehicles and is likely to offer around 358 miles of range on a single charge.
The good news is that no matter which Volkswagen ID.4 trim level you choose, charging is the same across the board. The even better news is that Volkswagen isn’t too far off from the competition as far as overall charging times. Using a DC Fast Charger, ID.4 owners can expect to go from 10-80% between 30 and 36 minutes depending on which energy cells the fast charger is using. On a Level 2 charger at home, powered by 11kW, the ID.4 will recharge in about 6 hours and 15 minutes for the Standard and S trim levels. All Pro trim levels will require around 7 hours and 30 minutes for a complete charge.
As a bonus, with every ID.4 purchase, Volkswagen is throwing in unlimited 30-minute charging sessions at all Electrify America stations for three years.
For Tesla, overall charging times haven’t changed much since the car was released. Using a 240V Level 2 charger at home will help you get fully powered up in around 6.5 hours. The best way to get juice for your Tesla Model 3 is at any of the company’s Supercharger stations where you can get 200 miles of charge in around 15 minutes.
Driver Assistance and Safety
Unlike Tesla, Volkswagen has opted against a more autonomous approach for its ID.4 vehicle and instead focused more on driver assistance. To that point, Travel Assist is equipped with all ID.4 models and helps speed up or slow down as necessary with a little help from the car when using Adaptive Cruise Control. On top of that, you’ll find more standard features like active blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, rear traffic alert, park distance control, park assist, area view, dynamic road sign display, and more. All of these features have combined to help the 2022 Volkswagen ID.4 earn a 2022 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ honor.
For its part in safety and driver assistance, Tesla has gone all in on jumping ahead with autonomous driving. Between Enhanced Autopilot or Full Self-Driving Capability, Tesla Model 3 owners have the option of essentially asking their car to drive itself. This could include things like auto lane changes, summoning the vehicle, auto parking, or navigating while on autopilot. Full self-driving allows the Tesla, in theory, to be mindful of both traffic lights and stop signs and to act as if it were a human driver stopping and going as a human would.
It’s certainly not perfect but when combined with the Model 3’s eight cameras, airbags that surround the driver and passengers, and one of the most reliable body structures ever put into a sedan, it’s not surprising that the Model 3 has also earned a Top Safety Pick+ award from IIHS.
While it’s pretty clear that the Volkswagen ID.4 and Tesla Model 3 are very different vehicles, nowhere is that more transparent than the interior of each vehicle. Even as it’s far more modern by traditional Volkswagen standards, the ID.4 does take things up a notch with a large 12-inch touch screen. Navigation is standard as is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with a 5.3-inch digital display gauge right above the steering wheel. Rest assured there are still plenty of physical buttons including those on the steering wheel and underneath the large display. It’s a clean layout overall but it still retains the feeling of a non-electric vehicle which might be a negative for potential buyers.
The Tesla Model 3 takes an entirely different approach with its interior and, for the most part, it’s been a home run with shoppers. Just about every function of the vehicle save for window controls, door handles, and shifting gears is handled through the large 15-inch touchscreen. Tesla’s Model 3 experience has really helped shape the future of vehicle interiors and is still growing in features including the recent addition of the Valve Steam store for more games that can be played while waiting for your Model 3 to charge. Even if it took a few years for Apple CarPlay to arrive, the Tesla Model 3 is years ahead of Volkswagen and the ID.4 in terms of interior and infotainment experience.
Volkswagen ID.4 vs. Tesla Model 3: 5 Must-Know Facts
- There are only two models of the Tesla Model 3 to choose from (three later this year) but the Volkswagen ID.4 offers nine different options.
- The Volkswagen ID.4 and its different trim levels offer a wide range of 209-275 miles of range while the Tesla Model 3 offers between 272 and 315 miles of range.
- Tesla has gone all-in on autonomous driving with its Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability while Volkswagen has focused more on driver assistance features.
- The Volkswagen ID.4 starts at a lower price of $38,995 while the lowest price on the Tesla Model 3 begins at $43,990.
- Both cars offer large networks for charging with the Tesla Supercharger network and Volkswagen provides buyers access to Electrify America.
Volkswagen ID.4 vs. Tesla Model 3: Which One is Best for You?
At the end of the day, if you have to choose just one electric vehicle out of these two options, the Tesla Model 3 is on paper, the more logical choice. The value for the price, features, and large supercharger network all make it a bigger leap into the EV world. Add to that the understanding that the RWD Tesla Model 3 offers only three fewer miles of range compared to the higher-end of the Volkswagen ID.4 lineup is all the reason you need to spend thousands less without sacrifice.
Volkswagen ID.4 and Tesla Model 3: Recent Updates
Here are some updates the Volkswagen ID.4 and the Tesla Model 3 have received since February 2023:
- A 12-inch infotainment screen is now standard on all models.
- A base trim is now available that is more affordable.
- A heat pump is available on all trims, which helps improve efficiency in cold weather.
- The performance of the infotainment system will be improved with a new software update.
Tesla Model 3:
- Continued software updates have been gradually rolled out that improve the performance and functionality of the car.
- The “Tesla Theater” is a new feature that allows passengers to watch movies and TV shows on the car’s infotainment system.
- The performance of the Autopilot driver assistance system was improved.
Volkswagen ID.4 and Tesla Model 3: What’s Next?
Both Volkswagen and Tesla are working on developing new features for their EVs. They haven’t announced any updates yet, but here are some updates we might see in the next six to 18 months:
- A battery upgrade that will increase its range to over 300 miles is expected.
- A new software update is expected that will add new features. These features include a 360-degree camera system and a more advanced driver assistance system.
Tesla Model 3:
- Major over-the-air software updates are expected that will add several new features. These features include a heat pump, a more powerful infotainment system, and improved Autopilot functionality.
- A battery upgrade that will increase its range to over 350 miles is also expected.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Grzegorz Czapski/Shutterstock.com.