Volkswagen ID.3 review

The Volkswagen ID.3 is an electric family car that's being compared to the Beetle and Golf before it – but is it a true revolution?

Volkswagen ID.3
£35,880
Electric

Pros

  • Good to drive
  • Decent range and power
  • Stylish but not flashy looks

Cons

  • Weak regenerative braking
  • Interior quality disappointing
  • Only one model available so far
Car type Official range Wallbox charge time Rapid charge time
Electric 261 miles* 9hrs 15mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)* 30mins (10-80%, 100kW)*

*Figures for ID.3 1ST Plus model

The ID.3 is an important model, both for Volkswagen and for drivers. Mainstream Volkswagen models such as the Beetle and Golf defined how we saw family cars in their respective eras, and that’s what the company hopes will happen here, too.

Unlike the e-Golf and e-up!, there won’t be versions of the ID.3 with petrol or diesel power – it uses a design that's purely for electric motors and batteries. The only model at the moment has a 58kWh battery and a claimed range of 260 miles. It has useful 100kW rapid-charging capability (an 80% top-up takes 30 minutes) and an 11kW on-board charger for swift home charging.

The launch model has a motor that makes 201bhp and 310Nm of torque, so it can go from 0-62mph in a nippy 7.3 seconds. It’s rear-wheel drive because the motor is at the back, although it still drives more like a normal family hatchback than a sports car.

The ID.3 will eventually be offered in a wide range of variants, with shorter-range, entry-level versions to take on the Nissan Leaf and Renault ZOE. More expensive, longer-range models could even tread on the Tesla Model 3’s toes.

Three battery sizes will eventually be offered: 45, 58 or 77kWh, with the smallest offering a driving range of 205 miles and the largest taking the car just over 340 miles before needing a charge. 

The ID.3 is agile and good to drive, and while it can't disguise its weight, the powerful motor helps it to feel more energetic than an equivalent Golf with a petrol or diesel engine. Its tight turning circle helps make city driving a breeze, and it’s comfortable as well.

Even on 19-inch wheels, the ID.3’s suspension is soft enough to keep big bumps in the road from causing too much discomfort. It’s quieter inside than the e-Golf was, too, because less road noise comes into the cabin.

Speaking of the cabin, the ID.3’s interior is merely okay. We wish there were fewer cheap-looking plastic materials, as the car is pretty expensive. At least the smart, modern look goes some way to counteracting that impression.

Equipment includes digital dials and a responsive and feature-packed touchscreen sat-nav. It has the all-important Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone connectivity, and there’s even a phone app to help with energy management and to schedule charging.

The Volkswagen ID.3 may never generate the kind of fanbase that Tesla has built, and it seems a stretch to think it’ll be as successful as the Beetle was – but it’s a really competent and sensible electric-car choice. It’s reasonably priced, practical and good to drive, with enough range for most users to never have any issues.

For a more detailed look at the Volkswagen ID.3, read on for the rest of our in-depth review.