Volkswagen's New 2022 ID.4 EV Has One Major Design Flaw But I Think I Fixed It

Illustration for article titled Volkswagen's New 2022 ID.4 EV Has One Major Design Flaw But I Think I Fixed It
Photo: Jason Torchinsky

I’ve got an ID.4 for a few days here, and I’ve been giving Volkswagen’s first purpose-built, MEB-based EV for America a try to see how I like it. So far, I’m pretty impressed, though there is one design issue that really bugs me, especially when considered in context of VW’s heritage. The good news is that I pretty much solved it in about five minutes with some trash and cutting shears, so if I can just get VW to listen, I think it can make this right. I’ll explain.

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The issue is that the ID.4, despite being a battery electric vehicle with the battery pack under the floor and the motor assembly down low at the rear, lacks any sort of front trunk.

Yes, there’s a good-sized cargo area at the rear, but that’s not the point. The point is that VW could have given the ID.4 a front trunk, and it didn’t bother putting in the effort, and that drives me clamshit. And, really, it should be driving VW clamshit as well. Why? Well, two reasons: First, for decades it was the world’s leading builder of vehicles with trunks up front, and second, everyone else seems to have managed to squeeze a frunk into their new EVs.

Look at the three big recent electric crossovers to be announced or on the market in the past year or so: the Tesla Model Y, Ford Mustang Mach-e, and, Volvo XC40 Recharge — they all somehow figured out how to find room under the hood for little but useful trunks.

Here, look:

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Photo: Ford (well, modified by me), Volvo, Tesla

None of those are huge, but they’re all useful for smaller baggage or charging cords or holding drinks or snacks or whatever. It’s usable space, and car-buyers deserve all of that they can get.

Under the hood of the ID.4, though, we see this:

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Photo: Jason Torchinsky
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Okay, we have HVAC systems, the car’s thermal management equipment, various reservoirs, and so on. All necessary stuff, and it’s got to go somewhere, but the other EVs have this crap, too, and they manage to package it and include a storage area.

Here, look under the trunk liner of a Tesla Model 3:

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Screenshot: YouTube
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Same stuff! Just crammed in a bit better to leave room people can use. And, looking under that VW’s hood, I can see a large plastic framework thing that absolutely seems like it could be compacted a bit and useful volume extracted.

But it’s already been engineered and built and crash-tested and all that. I get it. But even with everything exactly as it is under the ID.4 hood, I still think a front trunk is possible, and so to prove it I got a bunch of that metallic bubble wrap stuff used as thermal packaging, some shears, and went to town to make a quick, crude trunk liner, so I could see what kind of space is possible under there.

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Here’s what I ended up with:

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Photo: Jason Torchinsky
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It’s shallow, sure, but come on, that’s an absolutely usable amount of space! Let’s test it by throwing in a little backpack and the charging cable:

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Photo: Jason Torchinsky
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No problem at all! Oh, shit, wait, lemme stuff the charging cable in its little bag. I forgot.

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Photo: Jason Torchinsky
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There! And, yes, I closed the hood and it closed just like normal, no issues at all. Really, this is a way better place for that charging cord, which is normally stored in an under-floor compartment at the rear, which means if you had the car loaded with luggage or lumber or whatever, and you wanted to charge it with that cord, you’d have to take crap out to get to it. That’s lousy.

If you had a little front trunk, well, you’d have no problem at all. And you could!

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Now, before you try and tell me that this trunk is too shallow, allow me to remind you of a trunk that Volkswagen happily sold for years, the rear trunk of a Type 3 Karmann-Ghia:

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Photo: Volkswagen, Cars from UK
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That trunk was pretty shallow, too, but still useful, and I bet plenty of blankets and garment bags and any number of other flattish items happily nestled in there, nice and toasty over that flat-four engine.

If VW was okay with the Type 34 Ghia it should absolutely be okay with a trunk like one it could provide in the ID.4.

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If that doesn’t convince you, then how about this — check out the trunk on a DeLorean:

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Photo: DeLorean
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I’m pretty sure the ID.4 could beat that without any major engineering changes at all.

As for why Volkswagen didn’t take the steps needed to make this happen, despite building cars with front trunks for about seven decades, that I have no idea.

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Maybe it figured the ample cargo room at the rear was enough. Maybe it felt it would be too weird? Maybe, as our own David Tracy suggested, it has something to do with pedestrian impact rules? I don’t know why anyone would listen to David about anything safety-related anyway, though, so I bet it’s not that.

Volkswagen should, at the very least, offer an optional plastic insert that fits into the under-hood area and forms a wide, useful space, maybe about 4 to 6 inches deep or so. A place for the charging cords, laptop bags, blankets, folding chairs, deflated rafts, board games, books, whiteboards, charcuterie platters, whatever.

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Photo: Jason Torchinsky

Pizzas, even! You could park your ID.4 and open the hood and have two large pizzas in there, ready to for happy devouring while hanging out by the car.

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This is an easy fix, Volkswagen! Just make a trunk insert available! If you don’t, some enterprising aftermarket maker will, and they’ll get all the money. Hell, maybe I’ll buy a 3D printer and do it myself! You don’t want that, do you?

Do you?

Don’t be left behind at this one thing you should be better at than anybody. Get a front trunk in this thing. I know you can.

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!: https://rb.gy/udnqhh)

DISCUSSION

stevenzissou
Steve Zissou

Are you...are you giving full image credit to Ford for a photoshopped image that turned a frunk full of chilled shrimp into a cockfight?