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New Volkswagen ID.3 2023 facelift review

We get behind the wheel of revised Volkswagen ID.3 EV, which has enhanced interior quality and upgraded tech

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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Verdict

The updates to this new ID.3 are so subtle that you might not register them all. But that doesn’t detract from what remains an appealing EV. It’s far from a class leader, but as more rivals emerge, the ID.3’s position as a solid mid-pack runner has been cemented – and these upgrades only boost its appealing blend of qualities even further. We’d have liked the new screen tech sooner and even more software improvements, though.

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The Volkswagen ID.3 is the car that took the German firm into its third era, following on from the Beetle and the Golf. It was a revolution for VW, focusing on software and tech for this bespoke EV. But it was also not without its flaws, because it was late, felt rushed to production and featured buggy software at launch.

To address many of these issues, revolution has turned to evolution with this updated ID.3, which focuses on improved quality inside, more advanced software and a subtly revised design.

But let’s start with that first point – could you have imagined a decade ago the Golf being outdone when it comes to quality by cars from the likes of Kia? But that’s what happened, so the revised ID.3 now features some double-stitched leather on the dash and doors, backed by soft foam where plastic was present on the original model.

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Styling changes mean the ID.3 looks a little more premium outside, too, thanks to the removal of the black panel at the base of the windscreen. This new model gets a more conventional one-piece bonnet, so it appears longer and better proportioned, while the front bumper has reprofiled air intakes. VW says the ID.3 has a drag coefficient of 0.26, maximising range.

At the rear, the revised light units now feature an X motif when illuminated, with LEDs that run onto the bootlid. However, overall, the changes are minimal.

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When it comes to the software – the original ID.3’s big Achilles heel – VW says this new car features the latest iteration of its infotainment (with over-the-air update capability so it’ll keep on getting better), which includes a more intelligent e-route planner for the sat-nav that’s said to be better on long journeys, thanks to info on traffic and charging-station availability. Improved voice control features, too.

It’s a shame, then, that UK cars don’t benefit from a revised screen set-up; the new ID.3 still comes with the same 10-inch screen (and the same fiddly, non-backlit climate controls) as the original car. A larger 12.9-inch central screen will be available from the middle of next year. The 5.3-inch digital driver display also remains.

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We’ve no doubt that VW has improved much of the ID.3’s infotainment back end, but the interface is still not the most intuitive to use and our car was a little sluggish to respond to some inputs. However, it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto fitted as standard, so we can see why owners might still prefer to use these systems. Car-to-grid charging capability is a cool tech feature though.

Our Pro S test car (which is no longer distinguishable by badges on the front wings) features the same 77kWh battery as has been available previously. But with charging topping out at 170kW for a rapid recharge in 30 minutes, flexibility should be good. Go for the 58kWh Pro and charging speed is capped at 120kW. The small and big-battery cars offer claimed ranges of up to 266 and 347 miles respectively.

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We saw efficiency of around 4.5 miles per kWh on our mixed test route, albeit with no higher-speed running, which is not bad.

The improvements to the ID.3 very much focus on digital rather than physical, so the new car is not much different to drive. It means that, with 201bhp and 310Nm of torque from its rear-mounted motor, the ID.3 Pro S feels as sharp as ever at low speed, punching forward on a surge of easily accessible torque that tails off (albeit not completely) as you move beyond 50mph. It also means the car rides relatively nicely over country roads and on the motorway, but it also displays the same bumpiness over really bad roads in town.

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The steering remains positive and direct, but the negatives are also still the same – the ID.3’s B mode could be even stronger because the level of regenerative braking isn’t as strong as in some rival EVs.

On the subject of rival EVs, at £42,870, this Pro S model is significantly more expensive than its closest competitor, the MG4 EV Trophy Extended Range, which costs £36,495 and also gets a 77kWh battery, offering a claimed range of 323 miles.

That car is not without its flaws either, but the ID.3 doesn’t beat it by much when it comes to space and practicality, with a similar level of room in the rear (unchanged over the original ID.3) and a boot capacity that remains at 385 litres.

Volkswagen is offering a £3,000 deposit contribution on PCP finance until 2 October, though, and for the money the ID.3 Pro S gets lots of kit as standard. The roster includes 19-inch wheels, LED lights (matrix LEDs are available as an option, along with an augmented-reality head-up display), wireless phone charging, all-round parking sensors, heated seats, plus lots of driver- assistance and safety tech.

Model:Volkswagen ID.3 Pro S
Price:£42,870
Powertrain:77kWh battery/1x e-motor
Power/torque:201bhp/310Nm
Transmission:Single-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
0-62mph:7.9 seconds
Top speed:99mph
Range:347 miles
Charging:170kW (10-80% 30mins)
On sale:Now
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Sean’s been writing about cars since 2010, having worked for outlets as diverse as PistonHeads, MSN Cars, Which? Cars, Race Tech – a specialist motorsport publication – and most recently Auto Express and sister titles Carbuyer and DrivingElectric

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