In-depth reviews

Volkswagen ID.3 review

The Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback is an electric family car that promises to be as big a breakthrough as the Beetle and Golf before it – but is it a true revolution?

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£30,180 - £41,910
Fuel Type:
Electric

Pros

  • Good to drive
  • Decent range and power
  • Stylish but not flashy looks

Cons

  • Weak regenerative braking
  • Interior quality disappointing
  • Only one model available so far
DrivetrainOfficial rangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge time
Pro (58kWh battery)260-263 miles9hrs 15mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)33mins (10-80%, 100kW)
Pro Performance (58kWh battery)258-263 miles9hrs 15mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)33mins (10-80%, 100kW)
Pro S (77kWh battery)336 miles12hrs 15mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)36mins (10-80%, 125kW)

The ID.3 is a very important car, both for Volkswagen and for drivers. Mainstream VW models such as the Beetle and Golf defined how we saw family cars in their respective eras, and that’s what the company hopes will happen here, too.

Unlike the e-Golf and e-up!, there won’t be versions of the ID.3 with petrol or diesel power – it was designed purely for electric motors and batteries. The model range at the moment spans 58 and 77kWh batteries for claimed ranges of around 260 and 336 miles respectively. A cheaper version with a 45kWh battery for a 205-mile driving range will join the line-up in due course.

There's useful 100kW rapid-charging capability (rising to 125kW with the larger battery) and an 11kW on-board charger for swift home charging (as long as you have three-phase power).  The 'Pro' drivetrain has a 143bhp electric motor, while the 'Pro Performance' and 'Pro S' make 201bhp, enough for doing 0-62mph in a nippy 7.3 seconds. The ID.3 is rear-wheel drive because the motor is at the back, although it still drives more like a normal family hatchback than a sports car.

The ID.3 is agile and good to drive, and while it can't disguise its weight, the powerful motor helps it to feel more energetic than an equivalent Golf with a petrol or diesel engine. Its tight turning circle helps make city driving a breeze, and it’s comfortable as well. Even on 19-inch wheels, the ID.3’s suspension is soft enough to keep big bumps in the road from causing too much discomfort. It’s quieter inside than the e-Golf was, too, because less road noise comes into the cabin.

Speaking of the cabin, the ID.3’s interior is merely okay. We wish there were fewer cheap-looking plastic materials, as the car is pretty expensive. At least the smart, modern look goes some way to counteracting that impression. Equipment includes digital dials and a responsive and feature-packed touchscreen sat-nav. It has the all-important Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone connectivity, and there’s even a phone app to help with energy management and to schedule charging.

The Volkswagen ID.3 may never generate the kind of fanbase that Tesla has built, and it seems a stretch to think it’ll be as successful as the Beetle was – but it’s a really competent and sensible electric-car choice. It’s reasonably priced, practical and good to drive, with enough range for most users to never have any issues. For a more detailed look at the Volkswagen ID.3, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...

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