View the VW ID.4 his week.

How much is not having to buy gas worth to you?

That question can be answered by comparing the VW ID.4 electric crossover with VW’s two otherwise similar small crossovers, the Tiguan and Taos — neither of which is electric.

And for that reason, they cost about $12,00 to $15,000 less to start — and come standard with twice as much range.

On the other hand, they’re not electric and you can’t fuel them up at home.

And that may be worth less to you.

What It Is

The ID.4 is a compact-size, two-row (five-passenger) electric crossover that’s a few inches longer on the outside than a Taos and not quite as long on the outside as the Tiguan.

The ID.4 is also electric, and it’s the only rear-wheel-drive crossover (or otherwise) VW sells. The base trim comes standard with 208 miles of range and stickers for $38,995 to start.

This version of the ID.4 comes only in the rear-drive layout.

The Pro gets you a stronger battery and more range (275 miles). All-wheel drive is available, but it knocks 20 miles off the VW’s range.

A top-of-the-line Pro S with AWD and 255 miles of range lists for $55,295.

What’s New for 2023

In order to make the ID.4 more affordable, VW has lowered the base price of its little electric crossover by $2,240 less than last year. The catch is the price cut costs range. Last year’s $41,235 base trim ID.4 came standard with 250 miles of range.

What’s Good

Costs less (to start) than it did.

More room inside than in the Tiggy and bigger on the outside than a Taos.

A bargain compared with a Tesla Model Y ($49,990 to start, $52,990 with its optional “long-range” battery).

What’s Not So Good

Still costs almost $40,000 to start, which is a lot for a small crossover.

Base battery model isn’t especially quick and doesn’t go very far.

AWD-equipped models are quicker but don’t go much farther, either.

Under the Floorpans

The base rear-drive ID.4 has a new, less-powerful 58-kilowatt-hour battery pack that costs less but also costs you range, which is just 208 miles now.

VW offers that with the Pro trim, which can go as far as 275 miles. But you’ll pay $5,000 more for the additional range. And if you buy AWD, which comes with a second motor driving the front wheels, the VW’s range slips to 255 miles.

Also, AWD isn’t available with the lower-performance (and lower-cost) 58-kilowatt-hour battery that comes in the base trim, which is RWD only.

On The Road

With the dual motor drivetrain (and stronger battery pack), the ID.4 is capable of impressive burst of instantaneous acceleration.

But the catch is that making use of the latent potency it possesses will rapidly sap whatever charge you’ve got left. This use-it-and-lose-it business is one of the unresolved paradoxes of EVs, especially ones like the ID.4 that are, ostensibly, not meant to be race cars.

At The Curb

VW chose to go with conventionally crossover exterior styling, which is a plus if you don’t want to make a big deal about driving an electric car.

It’s inside where you’ll see the differences — and use them, too.

For example, the way you engage Reverse or Drive is by rotating the top right section of the main LCD instrument cluster that “floats” on top of the steering column. Backward (toward you) to get Reverse, forward to get Drive. This eliminates center console clutter and also makes sense — even for a non-EV — because in most new vehicles, the transmission’s ranges are engaged via drive-by-wire rather than by cables.

For Park, push the button located on the side of the section of the instrument cluster you rotated for Reverse and Drive.

Almost everything else is controlled via the second, larger LCD touchscreen off to your right.

The Rest

Interestingly, the ID.4 has no “frunk” — or trunk, upfront — if you buy the dual-motor/AWD version. The second motor takes up the space. Also, there’s no 12-volt power point, so you can’t plug in accessories that use that kind of interface without an adapter.

The Bottom Line

The ID.4’s main draw is probably its low price relative to other EVs in the class such as the $42,995 Mustang Mach-E and the $52,990 Tesla Model Y — and especially relative to the new (and $43,190) Nissan Ariya and Kia EV6 ($48,700). Neither of the latter two go much farther, either. The Ariya’s standard range is 216 miles; the EV6’s is a not-much-better 232 miles.

The problem is none of them go very far as they come. You have to pay thousands more for a little more range — and even then, you haven’t got much. That means more time spent charging.

But at least with the VW, you’ll be spending less money.

Eric’s latest book, “Doomed: Good Cars Gone Wrong!” will be available soon. To find out more about Eric and read his past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at