Slightly shorter, yet wider and taller than the latest Golf, the ID.3 is Volkswagen’s people’s car for the new zero emissions age.
On sale since 2020, VW’s first purpose-built electric vehicle – the e-Golf and e-Up were based on existed ICE (internal combustion engine) models – the ID.3 has proved popular and ended 2021 as the UK’s third best-selling electric car.
Looking like nothing else in the hatchback sector, it’s the same story inside, where it’s almost as minimalist as a Tesla Model 3. Put simply, there’s a floating 10-inch centre touchscreen, a small display ahead of the driver and a dinky twisty gear selector just behind the steering wheel.
Available with 45, 58 and 77kWh battery packs, delivering a WLTP combined range of up to 216, 265 or 340 miles respectively, VW claims the ID.3’s interior space is comparable to a Passat, its turning circle closely matches the up! city car, while off-the-line acceleration is equivalent to a Golf GTI.
Awarded Small Electric Car of the Year 2021 by What Car?, the three power outputs for the rear-wheel drive ID.3 range from 143bhp to 201bhp. We tested an ID.3 equipped with a 58kWh battery, producing 201bhp and capable of 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 99mph.
On paper it has a maximum range of 260 miles and it can be charged at home overnight via a 7kW wallbox. If you have access to an access a rapid 100kW charging station then as many as 180 miles (80%) can be added in just 30 minutes.
Like most EVs, it’s a doddle to drive. Simply select D, press the accelerator and you’re off.
There are three drive modes (Eco, Comfort and Sport), but the differences are subtle and the reality is that the ID.3 is all about comfort and extracting maximum miles from a charge, so you’re unlikely to want to drive it on the limit too often because it will drain your battery.
In fact, you can take it to an extreme and choose B mode, which increases the energy regeneration when you ease off the accelerator (thus charging the battery), meaning you rarely need to touch the brake pedal.
The ID.3 can be fun too, thanks to instant torque, and it feels faster off the line than the official figures.
There’s also plenty of grip, and while the ride is on the stiff side, the ID.3 is still perfectly comfortable.
The ID.3 feels composed on the road, though it’s no Golf in the handling department. Really, it’s in its element in town with good all-round visibility, light steering and a remarkably tight turning circle of just 10.2 metres.
Inside there’s plenty of space front and rear, with room for full-sized adults in the back.
The boot has a decent 385-litre capacity (about the same as a conventional family hatchback), rising to 1,267 litres with the rear seats flipped down.
Rear passengers get a good view of the road ahead because the seats are set slightly higher than the front ones.
More smart than plush, the interior is well laid out and there’s scope for personalisation with different colour scheme options and ambient lighting.
Sadly, virtually every function on the infotainment system (including climate control) involves a swipe or tap and there are few physical buttons. Some may prefer that, but it can take your eyes off the road.
The ID.3 is well equipped with all the latest goodies, plus safety and driver assistance systems, which helped it achieve a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP crash testing.