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.
Equipment, options & accessories
As of February 2022, the ID.3 is only available in Life trim with the Pro Performance powertrain, priced at just under £36,000. There’s also a limited number of optional extras on offer at the moment, including a heat pump, a mains charging cable and various different alloy-wheel designs. Standard equipment on the regular line-up, offered before February 2022 and likely to return later in the year, is as follows:
Life cars feature a 10-inch screen, wireless smartphone charging, LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, parking sensors, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. Style is only available with the entry-level Pure Performance electric motor and battery. But it builds on the Life trim’s kit with upgraded 18-inch alloys, Volkswagen’s IQ.Light LED matrix headlights, 30-colour interior ambient lighting and tinted windows, as well as keyless entry and a reversing camera.
Family comes with matrix LED headlights and a panoramic glass roof, as well as two-zone air-conditioning, a rear-view camera and keyless access. Max includes all the kit from the other trims, along with an augmented-reality head-up display and adaptive chassis control. It’s only available with the 201bhp Pro Performance electric powertrain.
The flagship Tour sees seating capacity drop from five to four to fit the larger battery, but the equipment pack is generous, with an augmented-reality head-up display, matrix LED headlights, the full suite of driver-assistance systems and 19-inch alloy wheels all included.
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 sharp and it’s responsive, so it’s fairly easy to use. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity are standard, as well as built-in sat-nav.
Early examples didn't have wireless phone charging, even as an option, but it's available now. 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.
Sadly, the design of the system results in frustration when you’re trying to adjust the climate control or the radio. It’s simply not as easy to fine-tune these things using a touchscreen as it is with buttons, as you have to take your eyes off the road for too long to touch the right option.
Upgrades introduced as part of a March 2022 software update included enhanced parking assistance that can select and drive into parallel or bay parking spaces completely autonomously, improvements to the augmented-reality head-up display, refinements to the sat nav including precise lane positioning and lane-changing instructions and better recognition of voice commands than before. Many of these features will also be added to existing ID.3s by means of an over-the-air (OTA) software update.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe 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?
- 2Range, battery & chargingThe Volkswagen ID.3 offers a choice of three battery sizes and all 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 has a powerful electric motor, so it almost feels like a hot hatchback from behind the wheel
- 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