Car review – Volkswagen ID.3

All or nothing

The ID.3 must be a success for the carmaker to remain at the top and its first 'new' EV must do what the Golf did before: define a segment.

 

New reference model

VW hopes the ID.3 will become a new reference model – one that will make electric driving accessible, no less, becoming the benchmark for the compact electric family car. The offering is limited at launch to the 1st Edition with the 58-kWh battery and 426km of range. An entry-level and range-topping model will follow later with 45kWh (330km) and 77kWh (549km) of lithium-ion cells, respectively. The launch version produces 204hp and 310Nm and with its 58kWh has a theoretical driving range of 426 kilometres (WLTP). During our test, it consumed 16kWh/100km, making a driving range of up to 350 kilometres look more realistic. It sprints to 100km/h in 7.3 seconds and gets back to speed swiftly thanks to the instant torque.

 

Concept and ease of charging

The electric motor sits in the back and drives the rear wheels, giving the front wheels plenty of room to rotate, resulting in an incredibly handy 10.2-metre turning circle. All in all, it drives sprightly and smoothly and you do not feel that you are in a 1,800-kg car.

Charging at home or on the go can be done at up to 11kW with a three-phase charger. Fast charging is possible with the 58-kWh battery at up to 100kW. The 77-kWh version can handle up to 125kW, but for the 45-kWh battery the charging speed is limited to 50kW, unless you tick the option box to increase it to 100kW.

 

Everything digital

Inside you can tell this is not a Golf but a completely distinct model with very modern looks – a model that has taken digital to the extreme, with virtual sliders and buttons. We miss physical controls and especially a conventional volume dial for the radio would have been welcome.

A nice digital touch is that you do not need to press the start button at all to bring the car to life. Simply sit down in the driver's seat with the key in your pocket, put the car in “D” and drive... When you get out of the car, the ID.3 switches everything off automatically.

Hard plastics but very spacious

The finish is all right although the interior has too many hard plastics that feel low-quality, making it a less convincing proposition than the Golf. The wheelbase is 15 centimetres longer than the latter, giving you much more interior space. The boot is also larger, boasting 385 litres. There is no extra boot in the front to store charging cables.

Body: Of course there is no engine noise, but wind and suspension noises are also kept out of the ID.3 very well, creating a zen-inducing atmosphere. Sporty driving is possible with the ID.3 but you do notice that the steering is a bit vague. On the other hand, it does not lean in corners thanks to the expertly adjusted damping and the low centre of gravity.

The traditional Golf has to meet the wishes of people who are not ready for an electric car. If you are, the ID.3 is a valid choice worthy of its VW badge.

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      + Driving comfort and interior space

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      + Silence on board

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      + Wonderfully small turning circle

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      - Hard plastics in the interior - Touch screen ergonomics