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Premium Member
Happy owner of a blue ID.4 First Edition
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1,392 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
VW's choice to install rear drum brakes on the ID models gets a lot of flak from underinformed auto journalists, car enthusiasts, and the general public. Let's prove them all wrong:

First of all, these drum brakes are quite high tech, and not at all the cheap items we have seen on older cars and still see on some lower end cars today. More detail in this thread.

Second, Continental estimates a 150,000 km service interval. Compare that to needing new brake pads at maybe half that interval on an EV with rear disks. VW stated somewhere (sorry no link) that the drums should last the life of the vehicle.

Third, and this is data that we haven't compiled before: Braking distance is not compromised by using rear drums. In fact, the ID4 beats many competitors with disks.
Motortrend measured 119 ft from 60 mph to zero. So let's compile a table:

VW ID.4Toyota RAV 4Toyota RAV 4 PrimeKia Sorrento / Hyundai Santa FeMazda CX-5Consumer Reports Small SUVHonda CR-V
119 ft131 ft127 ft125 ft136 ft132 ft128 ft

I'll take my rear drums, thank you very much! My grandkids and their parents will be happy too.
 

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Registered User
2021 ID.4 Pro, Glacier White
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1,069 Posts
Keep in mind that all you need is enough braking power to maximize the traction the rear tires provide . . . . and on an ID.4, much of that braking power is provided by regeneration, so the drum brakes don't need to be stellar to add enough to max out the tire's traction. My 2012 Mitsubishi iMiEV's are the same - RWD with drum brakes on the rear and discs up front
 

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Super Moderator
ID.4 1st Edition
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4,259 Posts
I too have had a "panic stop" in the ID.4 and it really did stop on a dime. No worries with the front disc/rear drum setup. Well done VW!

As ChristophW well cites these aren't your father's/grandfather's drum brakes. The drum pad friction material in particular is far advanced. And as we've oft cited given that the rear brakes don't shoulder as much of the braking load as the front in any vehicle, and particularly in the ID given motor regenerative braking, having the rears effectively closed off from the environment is a plus.

As Don well cites any braking is ultimately only going to be as good as the slowed (ABS)/stopped tire friction. Very low tread/bald tires won't stop well no matter how good the brakes. And of course Winter ice ...
 

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Super Moderator
2021 FE Mythos Black
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2,502 Posts
I think I remember the decision to go with drums in the rear had to do with the fact that drums would be more effective than disks when the brakes haven't been used for a period of time. The rear brakes would get very little use in normal driving situations because of regenerative braking, so drums were the best choice.
 

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Registered User
Enthusiastic 1st Edition Owner
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3,906 Posts
I was riding mountain bikes when discs were getting popular. It was easier to convert a fork than a frame, and many of us began riding "mullets," discs in front and V-brakes (rim brakes) in the rear.

It was low rent, but completely functional. Discs simply allowed the rear wheel to lock up more easily. V brakes were fine out back. All of the modulation and power was with the front wheel. The rear just wants to skid.

It's a little different for daily driving. I'm nowhere near as aggressive on my car brakes as I am on my bike. That's one of the reasons rear wheel regen works as well as it does – that wouldn't fly on a bicycle where there is a much more aggressive shifted forward weight bias during a hard stop, to the point the rear wheel lifts off (100% forward weight bias).

The ID.4 brakes have been excellent. They only suffer from a soft pedal feel, which is too bad, though that doesn't prevent them from stopping or modulating well. The pedal only feels more "truck like" than the dainty, lightweight car that it pretends to be.
 

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Registered User
Glacier White AWD Pro S Gradient
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198 Posts
The ID.4 brakes have been excellent. They only suffer from a soft pedal feel, which is too bad, though that doesn't prevent them from stopping or modulating well. The pedal only feels more "truck like" than the dainty, lightweight car that it pretends to be.
Totally agree RE:brake feel. A bit soft, and also an odd feeling when they switch over to friction from regen. At least that's what it feels like to me.
 

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Registered User
Pro S Gradient RWD White / Black
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526 Posts
Even my previous ICE cars had jammed rear brake pads (disc) quite a few times. Well time will tell but I am looking forward to not worrying about the rear brakes.
 
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