Volkswagen ID.3 interior, dashboard & comfort
The Volkswagen ID.3 feels well built, but the interior has a few too many cheap-looking plastic surfaces for our liking
The Volkswagen ID.3 is part of a new generation of cars with barely any physical buttons in the cabin. Almost all controls are contained within the touchscreen display on the dashboard. This is both good and bad – it means the cabin looks neat and tidy, but can make functions frustrating to access while driving.
There’s a small gear selector, but everything else – the navigation, climate control, audio and other functions – is controlled on the touchscreen. There’s also a tablet-like screen behind the steering wheel, which takes the place of traditional dials and shows lots of useful information.
Volkswagen ID.3 dashboard
An interesting feature of the ID.3's dashboard is the 'ID. Light' bar that runs along the bottom of the windscreen. It can change colour in certain situations, flickering white when you're giving a voice-activation command, blue when giving sat-nav directions, green when a phone call is incoming, and red when the driver-assistance technology is warning of a possible hazard.
Material quality of the dashboard is a letdown, though. Despite all the high-tech kit, it’s clear Volkswagen has cut corners with the materials to keep the ID.3's price down – the plastics look a bit too cheap considering the asking price of the car. It’s a strange combination of modern screens and disappointing materials.
Thankfully, it seems Volkswagen will be addressing some of these issues when it gives the ID.3 a mid-life facelift later in 2023. As well as the use of more high-quality and partly sustainable materials inside, the refreshed dashboard will receive a larger 12-inch central touchscreen that’ll come as standard across the range - the same as its Spanish sister car, the Cupra Born.
Equipment, options & accessories
As of January 2023, the ID.3 is only available in three trim levels: Business, Style and Tour. The latter is available exclusively with the Pro S drivetrain (77kWh battery and 201bhp motor) and comes only as a four-seater, so you’ll need to decide whether it’s a worthy trade-off for this version’s 339-mile range. The ID.3 Business and Style on the other hand come with the Pro Performance setup (58kWh battery and 201bhp motor) and offer around 260 miles of range.
The entry-level ID.3 Business starts at close to £40,000 at the time of writing, but gets a decent amount of standard kit, including 18-inch alloy wheels, Matrix LED headlights, a 10-inch touchscreen, seven-inch digital driver’s display, reversing camera, adaptive cruise control, ambient lighting and keyless entry and start. Plus, 120kW rapid charging capability.
Upgrading to Style specification will add around £3,000 to the ID.3’s price tag. In exchange you get a lot of extra luxuries such as a panoramic sunroof, augmented reality head-up display and ergoActive front seats.
Then there’s the four-seat ID.3 Tour, priced at nearly £47,500 – More than a base Tesla Model 3 at the time of writing. As well as the larger battery, this model comes as standard with 20-inch alloy wheels, 135kW rapid charging capabilities, and extra safety systems like lane assist, traffic jam assist and emergency assist.
There’s a very limited number of optional extras on offer at the moment, including a mains charging cable, a tool kit and tyre sealant, carpet mats and just four paint colour choices. We expect more options and trim levels to become available again after the ID.3’s facelift later this year.
Infotainment, apps & sat nav
The 10-inch touchscreen display in the middle of the dashboard is the main way you control the ID.3's functions. The panel is well positioned, the graphics are pretty sharp and the main menu functions are split into eight large tiles, so it’s quite easy to find what you need. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity are also standard, as well is built-in sat-nav.
However, the system has a tendency to feel a little laggy when swiping through menus or the navigation screen, and generally isn’t as quick to respond to commands as we’d like. That’s especially true when compared to the Google-powered system in the Renault Megane E-Tech, which is far more snappy, innovative and user-friendly.
The ID.3’s touch-sensitive sliders for the cabin temperature and media volume are also a bug bear for us. You can easily nudge them when trying to use the touchscreen above, and because they’re not backlit, adjusting anything at night with them is very difficult. Volkswagen is set to fix the latter with the upcoming ID.3 facelift, however.
Early examples didn't have wireless phone charging, even as an option, but it's now standard across the range. There’s also a smartphone app for use outside the car, which can pre-heat or cool the interior, control charging and let you see how much range you have left.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback isn’t without its faults, but it’s a solid electric family car that’ll take most things in its stride
- 2Range, battery & chargingThe Volkswagen ID.3 currently offers a choice of two battery sizes – both promise enough range and charging capability to keep most buyers out of trouble
- 3Running costs & insuranceThe Volkswagen ID.3 should be much cheaper to run than an equivalent Volkswagen Golf for most drivers – especially company-car users
- 4Performance, motor & driveThe Volkswagen ID.3 is quiet, refined and easy to manoeuvre around town, but not the most exciting EV to drive
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfort - currently readingThe Volkswagen ID.3 feels well built, but the interior has a few too many cheap-looking plastic surfaces for our liking
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityThe Volkswagen ID.3 has enough room for a family and their luggage, but it's not the most spacious electric car of its type
- 7Reliability & safety ratingThe Volkswagen ID.3 is likely to be reliable, but there’s very little data yet. It does have a five-star safety rating, though