We test-drove the ID.4 late last year, and we came away with mixed feelings. It's roomy, practical, and easy to drive, but the Achilles' heel is the infotainment system and car controls. Frankly, VW's MIB 3.0 modular infotainment matrix software is so painful and frustrating to use that we would never buy the car for ourselves. Yes, they're that bad. First of all, the screen is dull. Secondly, just about everything is controlled through the touchscreen. Third, there are way too many layers and non-sensical operating procedures that it's just plain distracting from the driving experience. Now, the brand has heard user frustrations and will make some important changes for 2023.
Apparently, the frustrating lack of responsiveness will be improved. The system will respond more quickly to touch inputs, and there will also be OTA updates to make it unnecessary to go to the dealer for those changes. While this alone won't make the MIB great, any improvements over the existing system will be welcomed. Even a slight delay means you'll wait unnecessarily to operate a function while you're driving at highway speeds, a big no-no. Let's hope they also change the stupid, small, square home button on the left side of the screen (below).
To make things worse, the climate controls don't illuminate at night, which we find completely unacceptable, as if VW ran out of money for some lighting elements or just forgot about them because they didn't do any testing in the dark. That has got to be fixed, and it's possible that this could be part of the updates to the interior tech. We also hope that the brand gets rid of some of the capacitive touch buttons that are positively frustrating to use. Finally, those touch buttons below the climate control sliders are kinda stupid. The "CLIMA" button that is somehow supposed to appease those who don't want to use the touchscreen. The font is too small, and, what, they couldn't fit the whole word in there?
VW Brand chief Thomas Schäfer promised continuous updates over the next couple of years, and hopefully most (if not all) of the frustrating aspects of the car's interior will get weeded out. As Schäfer explained to CAR Magasine, buyers and testers we so annoyed and angry that the Volkswagen Group Board got involved in monthly meetings about the in-car technology.
The MIB 3.0 overhaul will start in the next months with a software update, but the specific changes have not been specified. We do know that all of the slider controls will get backlighting (thank you!), and the ID.4 will also get new steering wheel buttons. There will also be new physical buttons that may replace some of the haptic feedback buttons. What a welcomed relief that should make the ID.4 more attractive to buyers. Too bad for those who already own it.