Volkswagen ID.3 review
The Volkswagen ID.3 is an accomplished all-electric family hatchback, but its on-board tech remains a source of contention
The Volkswagen ID.3 is an accomplished all-electric family hatchback. While it’s not a class leader, it gets the basics right, thanks to competitive pricing, decent range and a composed driving experience – all wrapped up in a practical package with a new, slightly sharper look thanks to an earlier-than-expected facelift.
Interior quality has taken some steps in the right direction, too. However, the infotainment system is as slow and irksome as ever and the touch-sensitive climate controls remain a bugbear. More software improvements, a larger central touchscreen and illuminated controls are coming in 2024, but we wish they’d arrive a little sooner.
About the Volkswagen ID.3
Before EVs took the world by storm, Volkswagen produced electric versions of its up! city car and Mk7 Golf hatchback, simply badged as the e-up! and e-Golf. It then spent a few years on the back foot in the wake of the dieselgate emissions scandal, but it’s fair to say the Volkswagen Group is once again on the march having refocused its efforts towards a gleaming electric future.
The first member of its brand-new family of ID-badged all-electric models was the ID.3 hatchback. It made its debut in 2019 and hit the street the following year, with VW hoping that the ID.3 would one day become as iconic as the original Beetle and Golf.
Since then, the company’s stable of EVs has grown to include the ID.4 SUV, ID.5 coupe-SUV, ID. Buzz minibus and ID.7 saloon. More are on the way too, the most important of which is likely to be the affordable electric supermini previewed by Volkswagen’s retro-inspired ID.2all and ID. GTI concepts.
Car group tests
- Volkswagen ID.3 long-term test: electric hatch excels as urban runabout
- Volkswagen ID.3 Pro S Tour: long-term test review
- New Volkswagen ID.3 2023 facelift review
- New Volkswagen ID.3 58kWh review
- New Volkswagen ID. X concept ride review
Used car tests
As a five-door family hatchback, which is only slightly larger than the latest VW Golf, the ID.3’s sea of rivals stretches far and wide. Among them are traditional petrol, diesel and hybrid hatches like the Golf, Ford Focus, Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.
However its closest competitors are fellow electric hatchbacks, including the long-lived Nissan Leaf, sporty Cupra Born, classy Renault Megane E-Tech, comfort-focused Citroen e-C4 and much more affordable MG4 EV.
There’s also a raft of compact electric SUVs available for similar money, most notably our 2023 Car of the Year, the Hyundai Kona Electric, and its sister car, the Kia Niro EV. Higher-spec versions of the ID.3 also come close to matching the entry-level Tesla Model 3 on price, and customers may be persuaded by the saloon’s extra size, performance and high-end image.
Volkswagen initially offered the ID.3 with a choice of no fewer than eight trim levels named City, Style, Life, Business, Family, Tech, Max and Tour, and with a choice of three battery sizes and various power outputs for the rear-mounted electric motor. Thankfully, Volkswagen has scrapped the confusing trim structure in favour of just two models: the ID.3 Pro and ID.3 Pro S.
Both versions use a 201bhp electric motor, still driving the rear wheels, and standard equipment doesn’t differ too much, either. That means every ID.3 currently comes with a 5.3-inch digital driver’s display, 10-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, heated front seats, keyless go, LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors and lots of driver-assistance tech.
The differences are that Pro-spec models are powered by a 58kWh battery that’s good for a range of up to 265 miles, while the ID.3 Pro S uses a 77kWh battery that boosts the maximum range to 347 miles. The second most important difference is the ID.3 Pro S only comes with four seats, so if you need to be able to carry five people at once, then the five-seat ID.3 Pro is the one to go for.
Volkswagen ID.3 Pro S long term test
Our chief sub-editor Andy Pringle is running the facelifted Volkswagen ID.3 on our long-term fleet. It’s the first time he’s had the keys to an all-electric car and he’s been impressed with just how simple it is to drive, with the smooth and refined powertrain making it the perfect urban runabout for him and his family.
However, despite improvements to the much-maligned infotainment system, Andy still feels it’s far from perfect and gets frustrated with the amount of time it takes for actions to be completed once he presses a button. He also thinks the quality of the interior doesn’t live up to the car’s £50k-plus price tag. You can read the full long term test here...
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Volkswagen ID.3 is an accomplished all-electric family hatchback, but its on-board tech remains a source of contention
- 2Electric motor, drive and performanceThe all-electric ID.3 is plenty fast enough for a family hatchback and feels very composed
- 3Range, charging and running costsThe ID.3 should be cheap to run day to day and range is competitive for an electric hatchback
- 4Interior, design and technologyIt looks very modern inside the ID.3, but it feels as though looks were prioritised over usability, and the infotainment system is not very intuitive
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceWith a big boot, plenty of passenger space and decent electric range, the ID.3 is a practical family car
- 6Reliability and safetyThe ID.3 comes with the latest safety kit as standard, while reliability needs to be top-notch