The latest MEB-based EV from Volkswagen has leaked, and oh boy, this thing is ugly in all the right ways.
This is the new Volkswagen ID.6, and photographs of it have been released in Chinese regulatory filings, Electrek reports. The photos also leaked on Twitter and Reddit, and the EV they reveal looks so uncool it loops back around and is cool again.
If the ID.3 is a compact and the ID.4 is a crossover, then the ID.6 is a full-fledged SUV, at least in the common 2020 usage of the term. For the past few years, SUVs have been little more than bigger crossovers. That’s been unfortunate for body-on-frame fans, but when it comes to EVs, I think it’s a viable shift in the segment.
The ID.6 has plenty of room as a seven-seater, and not just as a nod to the VW Roomzz, which was unveiled in Shanghai in 2019. The ID.6 is based on that design, and the lineage is clear. But it kind of sucks to see a cool design diluted for the sake of mass production.
If the ID.6 follows the dimensions of the design it’s based on, it should be at the top of the current range (as its name would suggest) for passenger volume. And VW has landed on a sensible naming scheme, which is a lot better than the what the concepts were given.
The current production design looks interesting, however, and it strays slightly from the design of the other ID family members while keeping some resemblance. The headlights have certain angles going for them; the ID.6 is most handsome when seen head-on.
The ID.6 base model will be outfitted with a 75 kW (100 horsepower) RWD drivetrain. The upgraded model, the ID.6 X, will double that with an AWD drivetrain producing 150 kW (201 HP). The new EV will reportedly carry the same 82 kilowatt-hour battery slated for the Roomzz, which VW stated had a range of 450 kilometers (WLTP) or about 451 km.
Not only is that a pretty wide disparity between the ID.6 models, but it’s also a low number for what is supposed to be the largest of the new MEB-based cars. As a reference, the ID.3 produces roughly 200 HP but it’s a much smaller car. There has to be some interplay here with the size of the ID.6 and its range and motor output. It’s very possible VW is prioritising range over output.
But the only thing truly wrong with the ID.6 is the colour. A car like this needs a colour that can live up to its awesome premise. EVs have finally stopped being awkward but quirky little cars, so why are we still painting them in bland tones? It’s more baffling that this is a Volkswagen finish, too, given its surprising recent EV colours and past practices.
Much of the time I’m drawn to practical small cars, but when I need room to carry passengers, a larger car is a good luxury. In some ironic way, I think this new ID.6 makes the ID.4 redundant. In a line-up with all three IDs, I would be between the 3 and 6, but such a comparison is only possible in a market where all three would be sold simultaneously. The U.S. is unlikely to be such a market.