Zap-Map verdict: “The VW ID.3 is spacious, has a good range, and offers quick recharging times. It’s a fantastic all-rounder.”
- ● OTR: £35,215
- ● Category: Hatchback
- ● Tax: £0 VED – 0% BIK
- ● Cost to charge: £9.30
- ● Emissions: 0 g/km CO2
- ● Cost per mile of range: £135
Volkswagen ID.3: Range & charging
Volkswagen’s ID.3 is ushering in a new era for the company, with the launch of the electric-only ID. sub-brand. The MEB platform that underpins the ID.3 is going to feature widely on electric models across the VW Group, so Volkswagen’s approach is a forecast as to how the German brand and its group stable-mates will get on in the next generation of electric cars.
There is one configuration available:
- ● VW ID.3 1st Edition – 150 kW – 58 kWh – 260 miles
The 260-mile official range from the VW ID.3 is class leading, with really only two family-sized hatchbacks – in the shape of the Nissan Leaf and Hyundai Ioniq Electric – available as challengers. The Leaf e+ has an official range of 239 miles, whilst the Hyundai’ s smaller battery sees a range of a little under 200 miles quoted. Granted, the Kia e-Niro is available with a range of almost 300 miles on a charge, but it’s a crossover rather than a conventional hatchback.
What is encouraging too is that the official range is pretty realistic. At the end of my time with the car, I reckoned on a range of 249 miles over a variety of driving routes. That covers urban, countryside and motorway work, all during chilly weather, so drivers should feel confident in VW’s claims for the ID.3’s driving range.
The brake energy recuperation system allows for drivers to opt between D and B settings, the latter providing strong brake energy recuperation.
However, ‘one-pedal’ driving – where the energy recuperation deals with just about all of the EV’s braking requirements – will take a serious amount of concentration in real-world conditions. It’s curious since some other EVs allow for this, and the previous mid-sized electric hatchback from VW – the e-Golf – had a flexible and highly effective multi-setting system for maximum efficiency. The ID.3’s means there’s less for the driver to do, but equally the ID.3’s regeneration will ultimately prove less efficient. Considering the quoted range and the accuracy of it in day-to-day driving, this will put few buyers off I’m sure.
This is carried out via a CCS inlet, and VW ID.3 drivers can recharge at up to 11 kW on AC units or 100 kW on ultra-rapid DC points. On the fastest points, VW quotes a top up of 180 miles of driving range in 30 minutes, and from most public and home points, the ID.3 will take around eight hours for a charge from almost empty.
The VW ID.3 on the road
For a Volkswagen – builder of that excellent all-rounder the Golf – it should come as no surprise that the ID.3 is excellent all round to drive. The comfort and refinement on offer is very good, though there are more comfortable family hatchbacks on the market. Likewise performance is good, but there are faster models available to buy. It is the blend between the two that VW so often gets right, and does so again here.
What’s the VW ID.3 like to drive?
The ID.3 rides well on the motorway, cossets drivers against poorly surfaced city streets, remains agile in car parks, and is good fun down a country road. There are better hatchbacks for each of these sectors, but I can think of few – if any – that would match the ID.3 when judged across all of them . . . and one of those comes from VW.
Performance is brisk rather than rapid, with the 150 kW electric motor capable of pushing the ID.3 from zero to 62ph in less than eight seconds. As is often the way with electric cars, shorter busts of acceleration at slower speeds make the ID.3 feel a little quicker than that, but the VW isn’t going to fulfil the needs of Traffic Light Grand Prix drivers.
Then again, how often does that scenario happen? The 150 kW available, put through the rear wheels, is more than enough for day-to-day driving.
VW ID.3: Comfort & Practicality
Volkswagen reckons that the ID.3 has the exterior dimensions of a Golf but the interior practicality of a Passat. While no doubt there are facts and figures to back this up, in reality, it’s not quite the same. However, the fact that the ID.3 even comes close says a lot about how well the car is packaged. The battery is in the floor so seat space is unhindered. Head and leg room are both excellent, and the boot is a very useful size. The ID.3 is a practical car then, and will make quite a case to become the only car required on a driveway for a family.
Design and functionality
The interior is not bedecked in buttons, which makes for a clean design throughout. However, functionality is always better through a dedicated button, so the ID.3 loses a few marks here. Despite that, the VW has a good infotainment system that’s responsive, and there’s a shortcut ‘tray’ beneath the screen itself. VW is pinning its intentions on natural voice commands to circumnavigate the lack of physical controls in places. Seats are comfortable throughout, and the driver gets some nice details, such as the digital instrument panel and drive select controller mounted to its right.
VW ID.3: Tech & Specifications
Options are few for this 1st Edition, and there are no other choices of trim yet – though this is due to change significantly. A range of trim options, as well as the addition of a larger 77 kWh battery are on their way, followed shortly after by more powerful models and a smaller capacity battery. Currently, buyers will get:
- Climate control
- Adaptive cruise control
- 19-inch alloys
- Parking sensors front and rear & rear parking camera
- Keyless entry and start
- Heated steering wheel
- Lane assist
- ID. Light
- Natural voice control
- LED headlights
- 10-inch infotainment system with DAB, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity
- Digital driver’s instruments panel
The VW ID.3 has instantly become the best electric family hatchback in its class – and one of the best cars in the sector, electric or otherwise. Its range is long enough for the vast majority of buyers, and quick recharging times mean long trips will be simple. And all this is before options become available allowing buyers to pick powertrain and trim specifications to match their needs or budgets. Although not outstanding in any particular field, the VW ID.3 is outstanding in being very good across all fields.
The VW ID.3’s rivals
Nissan Leaf The best-seller is similarly sized, but has a shorter range and is less practical.
Hyundai Ioniq Electric Extremely efficient, but the range and charging speeds can’t compete with VW.
Kia e-Niro The ID.3’s closest electric-only challenger is a crossover, so not really a rival at all.
All information above correct at time of publication. Official economy figures, pricing, and tax rates supplied by the manufacturer. Cost to charge based on 0-100% charge at home on a tariff of 16 p/kWh.