Volkswagen ID.3 Review & Prices
The Volkswagen ID3 is an electric car with an impressive range and great interior space. It’s not as plush as a Golf, though, and some of the buttons and switches are annoying to use
What's not so good
Find out more about the Volkswagen ID.3
The Volkswagen ID3 is a fully electric hatchback that can be thought of as a Golf for the new era. Its design and underpinnings are completely different to the Golf’s, though, and VW likes to say that its arrival here in the UK is about as significant as a certain Mr Armstrong’s arrival on the moon.
Okay, that’s probably overselling it by some distance; but this battery-powered five-door family hatchback – which has a Tesla-busting range of nearly 340 miles – has already scooped our Best Family Electric Car gong at the 2021 carwow Car of the Year awards. The ID3 is already off to a flying start.
It’s up against some stiff competition, with the likes of the Nissan Leaf, Hyundai Kona Electric and the fantastic Kia e-Niro already proving popular with electric car customers. But as competent as those cars undoubtedly are, none look quite as funky and personable as this electric Volkswagen.
That said, the colour choices – mostly greys and silvers – aren’t quite as bold as its exterior styling, but they all contrast smartly against the black roof and tailgate. You get 18in steel wheels with plastic covers as standard on all models apart from the Style and range-topping Tour versions (18in and 19in alloys are order of the day here, respectively), but 20in wheels are available optionally.
We think the 58kWh ID3 is the pick of the bunch. Make sure to check our deals page for the best prices!
In the cabin Volkswagen has gone for a minimalist look, so there’s very little in the way of physical switchgear. A large 10.0-inch touchscreen infotainment unit dominates the dash top, along with a smaller digital instrument display that can be controlled with the buttons on the steering wheel.
Passenger space is really pretty excellent, and the boot is a good size too. There are also a fair few storage cubbies dotted around the place, which always come in handy. Our only real gripe with the interior is the basic quality of the materials. We’re used to Volkswagens with plenty of soft-touch surfaces and smart-looking glossy trim finishers, but the ID3 goes a bit too heavy on hard, dull-looking scratchy plastics in places.
The ID3 is now available with three different battery packs. With the smallest pack, the ID3 has a claimed range of 217 miles, while the largest pack ups that to 336 miles. Those battery sizes are tied to different power outputs for the electric motor, too. Depending on which one you choose, the ID3 will kick out 145hp, 150hp or 204hp. So far, we’ve only driven the faster 204hp models – and they’re really easy to get along with. Acceleration is instantaneous, so you can zip in and out of gaps in the traffic with ease
The ID3 can feel a bit firm and uptight over the odd lump or bump, but with a bit of pace on it settles down to become a comfortable motorway cruiser. It handles pretty tidily too, with good grip levels and accurate steering. Forward visibility is great, but a small rear window restricts the view out the back slightly. You get plenty of clever safety kit as standard too, such as adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist.
All up, the Volkswagen ID3 is a really likeable and easily recommendable family EV. If it sounds like it’s right up your street, head on over to our deals page to see how much you could save on a new ID3.
The Volkswagen ID.3 has a RRP range of £36,195 to £36,195. However, with carwow you can save on average £1,776. Prices start at £34,419 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £374. The price of a used Volkswagen ID.3 on carwow starts at £30,000.
Our 3 most popular versions of the Volkswagen ID.3 are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|150kW Life Pro Perform 58kWh 5dr Auto [120kW Ch]||£34,419||Compare offers|
While the Hyundai is more expensive, it’s a bigger car with a more spacious interior – it also comes with more equipment as standard. The Cupra, meanwhile, has a spicier image with sharper looks served up by its sporty body kit. Having said that, the ID3 gets more standard kit, including keyless entry.
The Volkswagen ID3 is an easy and relaxing car to drive, although it feels heavy and unexciting on country roads
The Volkswagen ID3 comes into its own in town. Its regenerative brakes – which slow the car automatically when you take your foot off the accelerator – mean most of the time you can drive using one pedal while adding charge to the battery.
What’s not so good is the EV’s stiff suspension, which means it’s harder over bumps than a lighter conventional equivalent like the Volkswagen Golf, although the ID3 is still pretty comfortable. The tight turning circle means it is more manoeuvrable than cars like the Kia e-Niro and Tesla Model 3 and you get excellent visibility through the large windscreen and bonus quarter light windows on the edges of the dashboard.
Downsides? Well, the rear window could do with being a little bit deeper, but you do get a reversing camera as standard and, even if you do reverse close to another car, the ID3’s automatic emergency brakes – which work going forwards and in reverse – should save you from impact.
On the motorway
The Volkswagen ID3’s stiff suspension seems to transmit road noise into the cabin, but otherwise, it’s a relaxed cruiser that suffers from no engine noise (because there’s no engine) and very little wind noise thanks to its slippery, efficiency-boosting shape.
All models also come with active cruise control as standard so the ID3 can accelerate and brake automatically, as well as gently keeping itself in lane on the motorway. Go for the optional Assistance Pack Plus, which includes Travel Assist, and the ID3 can more or less drive itself on the motorway and in queuing traffic, although you will have to keep your hands on the steering wheel.
On a twisty road
With its engine mounted at the rear turning the back wheels, the Volkswagen ID3 could be a zero emissions Porsche 911, but is it?
Well if you stick its Drive Select system into Sport you get zippy acceleration but the way it feels in bends isn’t quite so encouraging. You see, the ID3 is a heavy car – at 1,800kg it weighs about 500kgs more than a Volkswagen Golf – and it feels lardy in corners although, because its heavy batteries are mounted low in the floor, it doesn’t lean excessively and it grips the road well enough. But the lifeless steering doesn’t encourage more enthusiastic driving.
Factor in suspension that jiggles about, meaning the ID3 never feels truly settled and, it’s fair to say, Porsche can rest easy knowing the Volkswagen is pleasant and comfortable to drive, but not much fun.
The Volkswagen ID3 is spacious for its size and the cabin has a generous helping of handy features, but the 77kWh models only get four seats
The driving position of the Volkswagen ID3 is spot on. As you’d expect of a modern VW, you get plenty of adjustment for your position, so whether you’re tall or small, getting comfortable behind the wheel isn’t going to be a problem. It’s even better because the instrument binnacle moves with the steering wheel so whether you have it low or high, the screen is exactly where you want it. It’s a feature the Peugeot e-2008 could do with copying. Even the gear selector behind the steering wheel – an idea VW itself nicked from the BMW i3 – is perfectly intuitive.
But not everything is perfect. The headlight controls – usually positioned to the right below the steering wheel in other VWs – are found to the left of the wheel in the ID3, closer to most people’s weaker hand and in a place that makes it easy to accidentally knock the car’s indicators.
It’s a shame because the ID3 is otherwise very practical. You’ll fit big bottles in its door bins, the centre console has two large cup holders and storage for your phone with wireless charging, plus there’s a large bin between the seats with two USB-C plugs. Even the front seats’ armrests are the kind of thing you’d expect to find in a posh SUV like a Range Rover. Anything that isn’t so good? Well, the glovebox is small because it also accommodates the fusebox – a Peugeot trick you’ll wish VW hadn’t adopted.
At least the back seat is almost as good for features as the front. It also has large door bins, USB-C charging sockets, map pockets on the backs of the front seats and cup holders moulded into the rear centre armrest, although this does mean it’s not that comfortable for your arm. Got long, thin luggage to shift? Don’t panic, you also get a ski flap to feed it through from the boot.
Space in the back seats
The ID3 has a roomy back seat. Even with a six-foot-tall driver sitting up front, you’ll have plenty of knee room if you’re the same size sitting behind. There’s also loads of headroom and the VW’s flat floor means there’s loads of room for your feet. The seats also don’t have the unnaturally high position you often get from EVs because their batteries are hidden under the floor. Even your middle-seat passenger will have plenty of head and foot room, although it’s worth noting that 77kWh battery models only have two rear seats.
Fitting a baby seat? Then the ID3’s spacious back seat makes this relatively easy, as does the car’s raised height and easily located ISOFIX child seat mounts, which have hinged covers that you won’t lose. The ID3 also has ISOFIX points on the front passenger seat.
The Volkswagen ID3 has a 385-litre boot – four litres more than you get in the latest Golf – which means it can carry up to five carry-on suitcases at once. The boot has a usable square shape and it comes with features like tie-down hooks for your luggage, hooks for your shopping, and a 12V power socket. Folding the back seats down is easy – you press a couple of buttons on the seats – but you’ll need to specify the optional adjustable boot floor to get a flat load floor and a smaller load lip.
The interior of the Volkswagen ID.3 has a refreshing design and eye-catching colour combinations, but it doesn’t feel as well built as models like the outgoing Golf
The Volkswagen ID.3 looks very high-tech on the inside and it also has a modern feel with large windows and a flat floor making it feel light and airy in a way a conventional hatchback like a Volkswagen Golf cannot match.
The VW’s controls are separated into two pods – one on the centre of the dash and the other behind the steering wheel – giving the interior a minimal fuss-free design. It’s like having your own blank canvas, which is cool because you can have the cabin finished in a variety of vibrant colours including blaze orange or go for an ultra-modern white finish.
But while the design has leapt forward, the ID3’s build quality feels like it has taken a step back. Okay, so the centre section of the dashboard is made from squidgy plastics, but the rest of the cabin plastics – on the doors and lower sections of the dashboard – feel brittle, scratchy and cheap.
And the deeper you dig, the more signs of cost-cutting you find. Like the glove box lid that doesn’t fit flush with the dashboard, the wobbly centre console and the rearview mirror shroud that feels like it could fall off at any minute. Even the felt lining of the door bins feels like it has been rationed out. A Tesla Model 3 feels more sturdy.
On the upside, the VW’s infotainment screens are bright and colourful and come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but you’ll not be so keen on the touch-sensitive buttons used to adjust the ventilation system temperature and volume. They’re fiddly and also unresponsive. Even the touch-sensitive buttons on the steering wheel are a pain – you can touch them like a touchscreen or press them like a button, but often it’s not clear which action is needed.
Anything else? Well, there are the bugs… VW’s had various issues with its new cars and the ID.3 carwow drove was no different – its active cruise control and lane assist gave up the ghost mid-drive for no apparent reason.
The Volkswagen ID3 is available with three battery options – 45kWh that’s good for just over 200 miles, 58kWh with a 260-mile range and 77kWh that should be good for up to 340 miles – significantly better than the Hyundai Ioniq 5’s 315-mile maximum range.
You also get three motor options. The basic motor has 126hp and gets you from 0-62mph in 10 seconds, next is a 150hp version that does 0-62mph in nine seconds and then there’s a 204hp option that’s good for 0-62mph in just over seven seconds.
As a result, no ID3 feels slow away from the lights, although if you want the rocketship performance EVs are famed for, you might be better off with the Hyundai Ioniq 5 which can get from 0-62mph in as little as 5.2 seconds. Or go for an overtly sporty but very pricey EV like the Kia EV6 GT – it does 0-62mph in a scarcely believable 3.5 seconds officially, although that’s a conservative figure.
As a zero-emissions electric vehicle, the ID3 is free to tax in the first year and every year after that.
The Volkswagen ID3 was awarded five stars for safety when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP in 2020, so you can expect it to be very safe. Standard kit includes multiple airbags, automatic emergency brakes that can stop the car autonomously if they sense an imminent collision, active cruise control that can brake and accelerate for you, and lane assist that gently steers the car in lane. The ID3 comes with an alarm as standard, which has an interior motion sensor that can be deactivated via the infotainment screen.
The Volkswagen ID3 is too new to have appeared in owner satisfaction surveys but generally speaking, Volkswagen performs averagely. Having said that, the ID3’s simple electric motor should be more reliable than a petrol or diesel, doesn’t require fluid changes, plus the ID3’s regenerative brakes should translate into less brake wear. The ID3 has only been recalled for one fault – a missing bush in the steering column.
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