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
£29,815 - £39,860
Fuel Type:
Electric

Pros

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

Cons

  • Weak regenerative braking
  • Interior quality disappointing
  • Fiddly infotainment
Battery sizeRangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge time
45kWh*214-216 miles7hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)31mins (5-80%, 100kW)
58kWh258-264 miles9hrs 15mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)33mins (10-80%, 100kW)
77kWh*340 miles12hrs 15mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)36mins (10-80%, 125kW)

* currently unavailable due to semiconductor chip shortage

The ID.3 is a very important car, both for Volkswagen and for drivers everywhere. 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 are no versions of the ID.3 with petrol or diesel power under the bonnet – it was designed purely for electric motors and batteries.

Ordinarily, the line-up spans 45, 58 and 77kWh battery models, for claimed ranges of between 214 and 340 miles. However, due to semiconductor chip supply issues in the automotive industry, there's currently only one version of the ID.3 available to order in the UK. This pairs the Life trim level with the mid-range 'Pro Performance' drivetrain (a 201bhp electric motor and 58kWh battery) for a range of up to 264 miles.

That normally slots in mid-way through the line-up, which usually kicks off with the 45kWh-battery 'Pure Performance' model, offered in Life and Style trim levels with a 148bhp electric motor. Next up is the 'Pro', with a 143bhp motor and larger 58kWh battery, plus the choice of Life or Family trim levels.

Then there's the Pro Performance, which retains the 58kWh battery but ups power to 201bhp. Normally, this is available in Life and Family trim, too, but as noted above, Life is the only available choice for UK buyers at the moment. Finally, there's the Pro S, which gets the largest 77kWh battery for an impressive 340-mile range and comes in its own 'Tour' trim level – but is also unavailable to order at the moment.

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. There's useful 100 or 135kW rapid-charging speed depending on battery size, as well as an 11kW on-board charger for swift home charging (as long as you have three-phase power).

Volkswagen's electric car is agile and entertaining to drive, and while it can't completely 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 makes 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 (above) is merely okay. We wish there were fewer cheap-looking plastic materials, as the car is pretty expensive to buy. At least the smart, modern look goes some way to counteracting that impression. Equipment includes digital driver's 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 smartphone 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 nonetheless. It’s reasonably priced, practical and good to drive, with enough range for most people. For a more detailed look at the Volkswagen ID.3, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...

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