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
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.
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
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.
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.
In this review
- 1Volkswagen ID.3 reviewThe 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 technology - currently readingIt 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