Volkswagen ID.3 Pro S Tour: long-term test review

First report: the impressive Volkswagen ID.3 EV joins our fleet fresh from winning an award from our sister title

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Verdict

I’m loving life with our award-winning Volkswagen ID.3. While every EV driver is different, for me, a 300-odd-mile range feels enough, because it allows me to all but completely ignore the UK’s patchy rapid charging network. In Tour specification, this car comes with all the kit you need, too.

  • Mileage: 5,369
  • Efficiency: 3.7 mi/kWh

When we get thrown the keys to a new long-term test car, it’s customary to take a while to let things bed in. What you think after a day or two can change dramatically over the weeks or months that follow.

But my new Volkswagen ID.3 was afforded no such luxury. Less than a week after it arrived, it was thrust into action with a run to Suffolk, where it joined the annual Car of the Year line-up for Auto Express’s sister title Carbuyer.

Alongside sports cars and SUVs, the ID.3 was judged the Best Small Company Car, as it was in the Auto Express New Car Awards in July. And it’s easy to see why. The demise of diesel is well documented, with strong EV incentives meaning business users are flocking to battery-electric cars in their droves. Paying just one per cent Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax makes a model like the ID.3 – if it suits your motoring life  – a no-brainer.

Quickly comparing my ID.3 – a top-spec Pro S Tour variant, with the big battery and loads of kit – alongside a similarly equipped Golf (1.5 eTSI R-Line 150 DSG), shows how much the average company car driver will benefit. A higher-rate tax payer could save over £3,000 per year in BiK alone – or more than £9,000 over the course of a typical lease.

The age-old argument about range anxiety is beginning to fall on deaf ears, too. With more and more models now capable of 300 miles on a charge (the ID.3 Tour will do 340 miles officially, or around 290-300 miles in real-world driving), I’ve found very little need to rely on the patchy public charging infrastructure.

I’ve driven a lot of ID.3 models since the car was launched, and have always been keen to run one on the Auto Express fleet. Due to the nature of my job and the fact that I don’t have a driveway at home where I can just plug the car in, it made sense to opt for the biggest battery, which for the time being means I was forced to choose the most expensive Tour specification.

I’d be lying to suggest this is the sweet spot in the range – that accolade goes to either the entry-level Life or well equipped Family variants – but it does come with a long list of standard kit. As well as that large battery and plenty of range, Tour models get 19-inch alloy wheels, two-zone climate control, a head-up display, and keyless entry.

My car also has a few options, including 20-inch wheels and a heat pump. We hope the latter will help preserve that long range through the colder months to come.

Frustratingly, however, Tour models lose the rear bench in favour of two separate seats in the back; Volkswagen tells us a five-seat layout is due later this year. Boot space is on par with that of a petrol Golf, but with the boot floor in its top position, I’m forced to remove one wheel from my daughter’s buggy in order to get it in.

However, all this pales into insignificance when you switch the thing on and take it for a drive. The ID.3 is over 500kg lighter than my previous fleet car, a Mercedes EQC, and its lower centre of gravity means it feels much more agile as a result. And while the VW’s 201bhp might not sound like that much, the power delivery is instant and grip is good. Refinement, on the whole, is fine too, although those big wheels do generate more road noise than I’d like at speed.

So far, then, I’ve been enjoying the ID.3’s engaging handling, efficient powertrain and long range, plus its spacious cabin and minimalist design. There’s a lot to assess in the coming months, but so far, I’m loving life with the UK’s Best Small Company Car.

Model:Volkswagen ID.3 Pro S Tour
On fleet since:September 2021
Price new:£38,815
Batt/motor:77kWh/1x e-motor, 201bhp
CO2/tax:0g/km/£0
Options:Glacier White paint (£645), 20-inch Sanya alloy wheels (£595), energy-efficient heat pump (£1,000), carpet mats – front and rear (£110)
Insurance*:Group: 30/Quote: £539
Mileage/mpg:5,369 miles/3.7mi/kWh
Any problems?None so far

*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.

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