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New 2023 Volkswagen ID.3 facelift on sale from £37,115

Volkswagen’s all-electric alternative to the Golf has been given a refresh

The VW ID.3 was billed as the spiritual successor to the Golf and the original Beetle, firing Volkswagen into the electric age back in 2019. While it’s not quite matched those lofty expectations just yet, VW will be hoping the mid-life update will improve the ID.3’s fortunes. 

The new facelifted ID.3 is available to order now, with prices kicking off at £37,115. Instead of the outgoing model’s Business, Style and Tour trim levels, there’s now just two to choose from - Pro and Pro S. The Top spec Pro S costs from £42,870. 

VW says the ID.3 now has a “sharper exterior design, a more sumptuous interior and more intuitive technology”.  So serious are these new revisions that Volkswagen is referring to it as a “second generation” ID.3, even though the underlying platform and powertrain technology remain largely unaltered. The ID.3 was the first of VW’s all-electric ID range, which now includes ID.4, ID.5 and ID.Buzz.

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The initial tweaks aren’t immediately obvious but look closer and you’ll notice the updated ID.3 has fresh headlights and new tail-light clusters that create an arch-shaped motif and incorporate X-shaped brake lights. Cars equipped with Matrix-LED headlights also now feature an animation that welcomes and says goodbye to the user as they approach and leave the vehicle. There are also new exterior paint options, including the vivid Dark Olivine Green seen on the vehicle pictured here. 

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Other visual modifications include a sharper look to the front bumper sharper look and the black plastic area at the base of the windscreen has been removed altogether, replaced by a larger body-coloured bonnet. VW says the move is designed to “create an additional impression of visual lengthening”, although it’s an abrupt U-turn from the original design, which was conceived to make the bonnet look shorter and help it differentiate from the Golf

Claas-Lennard Stöhr, the ID.3’s product manager, says the tweaks are designed to move the model away from its ‘cute’ image. “With the new front end, there’s definitely a little more aggression,” he told us. “It’s still a friendly model but the sharper bumper and the surfacing on the bonnet means it’s more grown-up, a little more mature. That’s the look we’ve been aiming for.”

Interior design and dimensions

In any case, the ID.3 doesn’t change its overall dimensions – so it’s still a family hatchback measuring 4.26 metres long and 1.81 metres wide. Those dimensions continue to place the model between VW’s Polo and Golf in overall length, although the longer wheelbase allowed by the MEB architecture means that the interior space is actually closer to that of a Passat. The boot remains a match for the Golf’s, meanwhile, at 385 litres, with up to 1,267 litres if the rear seats are folded down.

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Claas-Lennard Stöhr, the ID.3’s product manager, says the tweaks are designed to move the model away from its ‘cute’ image. “With the new front end, there’s definitely a little more aggression,” he told us. “It’s still a friendly model but the sharper bumper and the surfacing on the bonnet means it’s more grown-up, a little more mature. That’s the look we’ve been aiming for.”

VW has also added an ‘Exterior Pack’ which includes a new design of LED rear light clusters on the tailgate instead of reflectors.

Infotainment and technology

The VW ID.3 has received widespread criticism for its digital and driver interfaces, but despite being able to alter the software using over-the-air upgrades, VW has elected to overhaul only some of the features in the ‘second-gen’ model. The digital instrument panel remains unchanged, at 5.3 inches across, and the vehicle continues to have a rocker switch at the side of the steering wheel for gear selection.

The bad news is that the infotainment set-up – the bone of contention for many ID.3 owners – is not receiving a full set of upgrades on this occasion. European customers will get a 12-inch central display as standard, but because the layout of the dashboard has not been changed for right-hand drive, UK buyers will be restricted to a 10-inch screen for the time being. 

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The set-up fully supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay but within VW’s own navigation software, the route planner has been updated so it schedules charging stops more effectively on longer journeys. In some cases, for example, the system may suggest two short stops at points with faster charging capability instead of one halt at a lower-powered plug.

VW is already saying, though, that a different 12.9-inch display will become standard in the ID.3 (including UK models) from the middle of 2024 – housed in a unit that also incorporates backlighting on the fiddly combined slider control for the heating and audio volume. The reason for the delay is that the facelift has been brought forward a year, whereas the upgrades in IT are on a fixed deadline and couldn’t be accelerated in line with the rest of the tweaks.

Specifications and powertrains

The core battery and electric motors of the ID.3 range remain unchanged; there’s a choice of 58kWh and 77kWh capacities, with WLTP range figures of 262 miles for the smaller batter and 347 for the larger one. The smaller battery is offered on the Pro model and offers a charging speed of u to 120kW for a recharge time of 35 minutes. The larger battery is exclusive to the Pros S and tops out at 170kW for a 30 minute recharge time.

The bigger-battery figure is actually very slightly lower than the outgoing model’s, thanks to the plusher interior and some additional features outweighing a slightly more slippery shape. VW has also said that a third, smaller battery will be available in the future. It won’t be the same 45kWh pack that featured on earlier examples of the ID.3, but it’s likely to have a similar capacity, giving a range of around 210 miles.

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VW also recently announced the ID.2all concept, which previews the ID.2 all-electric supermini that will eventually sit under the ID.3. There should be some overlap with the two in terms of powertrains with the ID.2all set to come with a 38kWh and 56kWh battery size.  

For now at least, there’s a single rear-mounted motor producing 201bhp and 310Nm – enough, VW says, for the car to reach 62mph in 7.3 seconds (in the smaller-battery edition), and a top speed of 99mph. But we already know that VW is working on a higher-powered version of the car, badged ID.3 GTX; it will get more aggressive front and rear bumpers, flared side skirts and bespoke alloy wheels, to accompany increased pace. Contrary to speculation linking it to a four-wheel-drive configuration, it will actually have a single rear motor with a beefier output, perhaps as much as 295bhp.

The updated ID.3 will continue to be made at VW’s plants in Zwickau and Dresden – but in a bid to ease supply issues that have caused limited trim-level selection and long waits over the past 18 months, additional production capacity is planned to be installed in Wolfsburg. 

Now read more about the best electric cars on sale right now...

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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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