In-depth reviews

Volkswagen ID.3 review

The Volkswagen ID.3 is an accomplished all-electric family hatchback that’s a pleasure to own and drive

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

  • Good looks
  • Decent range
  • Refinement
  • Some cheap interior trim
  • Fiddly infotainment system
  • Heavy

The Volkswagen ID.3 is an accomplished all-electric family hatchback. It gets the basics right with competitive pricing, desirable looks and great levels of comfort - all wrapped up in a practical package with a usable, real-world range.

On-board tech is also a plus point, but the touch-sensitive infotainment screen could divide opinion and some might find the harder interior plastics slightly disappointing. Nonetheless, the ID.3 is an outstanding electric car and stands apart from its less-proficient rivals. 

About the Volkswagen ID.3

After spending a few years on the back foot in the wake of its dodgy diesel emissions scandal, it’s fair to say the Volkswagen Group is once again on the march having redirected its forces towards a gleaming electric future.

Spearheading the advance is the ID.3, the first of a new-generation of ID-badged all-electric models. The crisply-styled family hatchback has already been joined by a new and larger SUV model called the ID.4, and we’re promised many more to come. Indeed an electric ID.1 supermini has been confirmed for 2025, while the funky-looking ID.Buzz people-carrier - inspired by the old Type 2 Microbus - will hit the road next year.

As the first of the new wave of electric VWs, the ID.3 has to be good, particularly as VW has expressed a hope that it will one day become as iconic as the original Beetle and Golf.

It’s fair to say the Golf has been the benchmark in the hatchback sector for decades, so as the first battery-powered production VW the ID.3 certainly has a lot to live up to.

Aside from peerless green credentials, the ID.3 also has to deliver in the areas that matter most to customers - providing good value for money, while maintaining the levels of quality and reliability the manufacturer has built its reputation on. 

So has the ID.3 succeeded? The short answer is, yes, most definitely. Practicality and passenger space are both up to standard. There are superior levels of comfort and refinement, while the latest on-board tech and generous standard equipment mean that the case for choosing an ID.3 is pretty compelling. Despite the ID.3’s hefty weight of around 1,700kg, its 201bhp electric motor provides more than enough power to make swift progress and, of course, there’s the typical instant acceleration that comes with pure electric drive.

As an electric five-door family hatchback, a little bigger than a Golf, the ID.3 pulls its rivals from various sectors of the market. Buyers of traditional petrol, diesel or hybrid hatches like the Golf, Ford Focus or Toyota Corolla might be tempted. 

Alternatively, those set on an electric car will be considering models like the similarly-sized Nissan Leaf or the smaller Renault Zoe supermini. There’s also a raft of electric SUVs for similar money, most notably the impressive Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric. Finally, higher-spec versions of the ID.3 push towards the Tesla Model 3 in price, where customers may be persuaded by the US car’s extra size, pace and high-end image.

Three battery sizes are on offer for the ID.3; the mid-spec 58kWh version was initially available for most cars from launch, providing around 260 miles of range. The biggest 77kWh variant is included in the top-of-the-range model, while the entry-level 45kWh battery was added from 2021.

Volkswagen calls the 58kWh battery and 201bhp motor set-up, Pro Performance, while the 77kWh version is named Pro S. Volkswagen initially offered the ID.3 in a choice of no fewer than eight individual trim levels named City, Style, Life, Business, Family, Tech, Max and Tour. From 2022, buyers will have a more straightforward choice of Life, Family, Max and Tour.

The smallest 45kWh battery now only comes with the Life trim, while everything else except the Tour gets the 58kWh power pack. Only the flagship Tour comes with the 77kWh top-of-the-range battery.

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