- Smart design and easy to drive
- Decent driving range between charges
- Deceptively spacious
- It feels heavy on twisting lanes
- Interior looks cheap in places
- Lights panel is poorly positioned behind the steering wheel
The ID.3 was Volkswagen’s first purpose-built electric car offered with a choice of battery packs, along with well-equipped trim levels.
It’s a neatly-packaged, five-door hatchback that is very easy on the eye and boasts a wealth of on-board technology too.
It is built on the all-new modular electric drive matrix called MEB and by 2029 the VW Group aims to sell 20 million vehicles built on that platform.
Starting from a blank canvas has numerous advantages. For example, the ID.3 is a similar size to the Golf, with a wheelbase and interior space comparable to a Passat. The turning circle resembles that of the tiny up! while the off-the-line acceleration is similar to a Golf GTI. Factor in a very decent driving range and competitive price-tag and the ID-3 is quite the all-round package.
Customers can choose between three battery packs – a Pure 45kWh, Pro 58kWh or Pro S 77kWh – and these offer combined driving ranges of 216, 264 and 340 miles respectively. In addition, trim levels are called Life, Family, Max and Tour with the majority also available in a high-end Pro Performance set-up.
The five-door ID.3 boasts a distinctive design with modern styling. It features a short bonnet, attractive curves, LED front and rear light clusters, illuminated door handle recesses, tinted rear windows, body-coloured bumpers, a black roof and boot, along with 18-inch Aero steel wheels.
The interior is clutter-free and ultra-modern with a 10-inch colour touchscreen and a plethora of on-board creature comforts. These include sat nav, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, DAB digital radio, a seven-speaker sound system, heated seats and a heated steering wheel. There is also a Car2X system that enables vehicles to share important data about road hazards.
A virtual assistant system is brought to life by saying “Hello ID” and this can be used for all manner of functions, such as turning up the temperature, changing the radio station and much more. You can even say: “I have a cold bottom” and the seat heater will be activated!
The ID.3 premiered the ID Light system which was a first in the automotive sector. A narrow light stretches the length of the lower windscreen and offers gentle prompts to the driver. For example, it moves to the left when the navigation instructions are saying “turn left”, flashes green if a phone call is received or glows red when emergency braking is necessary. It is also handy when the ID.3 is being charged as the green light builds from left to right indicating the level of charge and this can be viewed from outside the car.
My only criticism was the location of the lights panel awkwardly positioned behind the steering wheel.
On The Road
Handling & Performance
Our rear-wheel drive ID.3 in Life Pro Performance trim was powered by a 58kWh battery delivering 204PS and 310Nm of torque. It could complete the 0-62mph sprint in just 7.3 seconds and topped out at a limited 99mph. But possibly the most important stat is the driving range of 258 miles between charges.
Like most EVs, the ID.3 is quick out the blocks with instant acceleration. The gear selector is a smart rocker switch behind the steering wheel and it also has a B mode for added regenerative braking in city driving.
There are drive modes called Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual to alter the reactions of the car with Sport adding a nice edge to the performance.
The ID.3 is quite a heavy vehicle weighing in at 1,812kg and that is fairly noticeable when fizzing through twisting country lanes where it doesn’t quite match up to its hot hatch styling.
It cruises with ease at 70mph though, but you will see the range drop quicker if it is driven in an over-enthusiastic manner (as is the case with all EVs to be fair).
However, it is beautifully balanced with excellent grip and a composed ride quality. The highly-effective suspension system smooths out any bumps in the road and occupants are well protected from outside noise thanks to the top-quality insulation.
Space & Practicality
The five-door VW ID.3 stretches 4,261mm in length, is 2,070mm wide (including mirrors) and 1,568mm tall. These dimensions are very similar to the VW Golf and the interior space also impresses.
There is ample room for four occupants – five at a bit of a squeeze – and the rear leg, head and elbow space are also generous, with the flat floor proving beneficial to the rear, middle seat passenger.
And the boot is also generously-sized with a 385-litre capacity. Drop the 60:40 split-folding rear seats and that limit increases to 1,267 litres with a variable boot floor along with a number of alternative storage compartments scattered throughout the car.
These include a deep central cubby with sliding cover, a compact glovebox, practically-sized door pockets, non-slip trays, height-adjustable fold-down front armrests, a handy net in front of the central console and a wireless charging pad.
There are two USB-C charging ports up front and a further two in the back to keep devices charged.
The back doors open nice and wide offering easy access to any child seats and there are Isofix anchor points to the front passenger and two outer rear seats.
The VW ID.3 in Life Pro Performance spec, as tested, costs £36,990, although the price was bumped up to £37,865 due to upgraded upholstery and an additional three-pin main charge cable.
Unfortunately, the Government’s financial incentives for buying an electric car are no longer in place, but with zero carbon emissions, there is no road tax fee and the vehicle is exempt from any Congestion Charge or low emission zone expenses.
In addition, there are attractive rewards for any business owners with a Benefit in Kind tax rating of two per cent.
When it comes to the day-to-day practicalities of charging the ID.3, it is worth checking with your electricity supplier to see if there are certain times during the day when tariffs are lower and plan to boost the battery then.
It takes approximately 30 minutes to add 180 miles to the ID.3 via a 100kW DC rapid charger. It can also be charged via a 7.2kWh wallbox which takes nine and a half hours to 100 per cent.
The VW ID.3 Life Pro Performance, as tested, sits in insurance group 30.
The VW ID.3 is quite the complete all-rounder. It looks the business, drives beautifully without being too aggressive. It is well equipped, practical and delivers an impressive range between charges.
Factor in the wealth of safety kit and driver assistance aids, that all contributed to the car being awarded a maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating and it’s easy to see why this model is proving so popular.