In-depth reviews

Volkswagen ID.3 review - Interior, design and technology

It 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

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Interior, design and technology Rating

3.5 out of 5

Find your Volkswagen ID.3
Offers from our trusted partners on this car and its predecessors...
Or are you looking to sell your car?

When it was unveiled in 2019, the Volkswagen ID.3 had a friendly face, but the brand decided to give the electric five-door hatchback a more aggressive look as part of its mid-life facelift. It also received a new front bumper and the black panel at the base of the windscreen has been removed, which makes the bonnet look longer and better proportioned. Tweaks to the rear include revised tail-lights with an X motif when illuminated. Overall, the changes are relatively subtle, but they help give the ID.3 slightly more kerb appeal.

The very minimalist interior of the ID.3 has been a source of constant criticism since the car launched in 2020, with the cheap-feeling materials, infuriating touch-sensitive climate controls and fiddly infotainment system bringing the car down. However Volkswagen appears to have recognised those flaws, because it took on customers’ feedback when designing the updated ID.3’s cabin.

The basic design itself hasn’t changed, but the ID.3’s updated interior is now vegan-friendly, with foam-backed surfaces on the dashboard, larger, softer surfaces on the doors and a “high proportion” of recycled materials, according to VW. We feel perceived quality has taken a big step in the right direction, and that the ID.3 now feels more deserving of its near-£40,000 price tag.

The level of standard equipment is good, with all cars coming with LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, keyless start, climate control, ambient lighting, heated front seats, a wireless charging pad and plenty of safety kit, such as adaptive cruise control.

Individual optional extras include a heat pump, 30-colour ambient lighting and carpet mats, with more bundled together as part of packs. For instance, the Interior Pack and Interior Pack Plus include an augmented-reality head-up display and extra sound insulation, and the Exterior Pack and Exterior Pack Plus add matrix LED headlights, among other features. Finally, the Driver Assistance Pack and Driver Assistance Pack Plus both include a rear-view camera, but the latter adds Volkswagen’s semi-autonomous Travel Assist system.

The ID.3 is available in several colours, including eye-catching Costa Azule blue and Dark Olivine Green. Entry-level Pro-spec cars come with 18-inch alloy wheels as standard, while Pro S models ride on 19-inch rims, and a set of 20-inch wheels is available for both.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The ID.3 will be fitted with a larger 12.9-inch central screen from the middle of 2024, but for now even facelifted models come with the same 10-inch screen (and the same fiddly, non-backlit climate controls) as the original car. The 5.3-inch digital driver’s display also remains, and gives only the most essential information, such as your speed and cruise control settings.

The infotainment system itself is something of a mixed bag. First, the good points; it’s very neatly laid out, and the main menu functions are split into eight large tiles on the display, so it’s quite simple to find the page that you need. The latest version of the ID.3’s software is also less buggy than earlier iterations and features a more intelligent e-route planner for the sat-nav that VW claims is better for long journeys, thanks to info on traffic and charging-station availability.

Need to sell your car?
Find your best offer from over 5,000+ dealers. It’s that easy.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard-fit too, along with the built-in sat-nav and wireless smartphone charging.

However, the system has its flaws. The tech tends to lag when you make swiping motions on the mapping screen, and generally it isn’t as responsive to taps as we’d like. Some of the layouts in the sub-menus are a little less well structured, and some features, such as the tiny ‘On’ switch in the corner of the screen to activate the climate control, give the impression it’s been designed with appearance put ahead of overall usability. What’s more, some of the pages are simply redundant. For instance, the driver-assist home page offers nothing but an image of the car along with a tiny shortcut to reach the actual settings.

We also have some reservations about the general ergonomics of the functions surrounding the ID.3’s touchscreen. In particular, the temperature controls, which are positioned under the touchscreen. These are far too easy to accidentally nudge when you're attempting to use the screen and, given that they’re not backlit, it's even more difficult to adjust them at night. Thankfully, the climate controls will be illuminated when ID.3 gets its new larger screen in 2024.

Most Popular

‘Forget leasing a car, a cut-price van should be your next everyday vehicle’
Opinion - Fiat Scudo

‘Forget leasing a car, a cut-price van should be your next everyday vehicle’

With some huge savings to be had, Mike Rutherford thinks a van could be the perfect vehicle
3 Dec 2023
Deal of the Day: Spacious Skoda Superb is a peerless estate for £223 a month
Skoda Superb Estate - front tracking

Deal of the Day: Spacious Skoda Superb is a peerless estate for £223 a month

The Superb is one of our favourite estates and our Deal of the Day for Monday 4 December
4 Dec 2023
New Renault 5: price, specs, launch and on sale dates
Renault 5 EV concept at 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed

New Renault 5: price, specs, launch and on sale dates

Renault’s reborn Renault 5 will start from €25,000 in Europe, suggesting a circa-£30k price in the UK. It's due on sale in the summer of 2024. Here's …
1 Dec 2023