Volkswagen ID.3 Review
The Volkswagen ID.3 is a 5-seat, 5-door hatchback designed from the ground up to make electric driving available to a wider audience.
Electric cars are sometimes criticised as being too expensive. Despite all their advantages – zero tailpipe emissions, very cheap to run, great performance – some electric models remain out of reach due to their high headline price.
Volkswagen are past masters at creating vehicles with mass appeal. Think Beetle and Golf. The clue is in the title: "Volkswagen" in German literally means the "people's car".
The ID.3 won't be the cheapest EV on the market, but it is a prime example of VW's secret formula: quality, reliability and price combined in perfect harmony.
VW ID3 Review Sections
Select's rating score* - 4.5 / 5
Even though the Volkswagen ID.3 has only just been launched in the UK, VW has been making lots of them at their Zwickau factory in Germany for several months already.
They have taken this approach in order to meet global demand, likely to be very high. Over time, several variants of the ID.3 will be offered, all with different battery sizes, range and performance characteristics.
At the moment, the ID.3 is available in just one configuration: 1st Edition. It comes with a 58 kWh battery and an official range on a single charge of 260 miles.
There are four exterior colours to choose from and three interior styling options. Otherwise, the spec is fixed, but full of goodies to entice you into the VW electric world.
|Model||Volkswagen ID.3 1st Edition|
|Battery size (usable)||58 kWh|
|Official WLTP range||260 miles|
|0-62 mph||7.3 seconds|
|Top speed||99 mph|
|AC charging maximum||11 kW (AC)|
|DC charging maximum||100 kW (DC)|
We pick out plenty of features in the review below, but here are some brief highlights:
- Excellent battery range: The ID.3's battery will cover all but the most extreme daily driving needs. Once back at home at the end of the day, you just plug in, go to bed, and wake up to a full 'tank' of electricity.
- Interior space and practicality: It doesn't look that big on the outside, but in reality it's spacious inside, and comes with lots of storage areas, hatches, and cubby holes to deliver a truly practical, user-friendly EV.
- A capable all-rounder: It's not a feature as such, but we love how VW has put together a highly competent overall package with no obvious weaknesses. It's a similar approach to the Golf – if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
This VW electric car performs very well in its segment.
The ID.3 1st Edition has a usable battery capacity of 58 kWh. Is that a lot or a little? It's actually pretty generous. By comparison, the new Renault Zoe has a 52 kWh battery and the Peugeot e-208 comes with a 45 kWh pack.
In addition, the engineering and software systems supporting the VW ID3's battery are first-class. For every kWh of storage, you get roughly 4.5 miles of range. The official WLTP range is therefore a very impressive 260 miles.
It's worth remembering, though, that real-world range in an EV is often less than the official range. Read our Range Guide for further details.
What about performance? Acceleration from 0-62 mph takes 7.3 seconds and the top speed is 99 mph. So it's not Tesla-quick. But the power delivered by the electric motor – VW call it a Pro Power motor – is reassuringly instant, a trait of most electric cars. The data-sheet says 204 BHP which is the equivalent of 152 kW.
At higher speeds, you notice how quiet the ID3 is. VW have done a great job at sound insulation for both road, wind, and electric motor noise.
There are four driving modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual. Eco makes the car less responsive, but provides maximum range on a single charge. Sport unlocks all of the ID.3's electric power, but range will suffer in proportion. Comfort mode sits in the middle, and Individual allows you to tailor the settings to your heart's content.
The first edition ID.3 comes with lovely 19-inch 'Andoya' alloy wheels. They have been designed with aerodynamics in mind and help you eke out a few more miles' battery range.
The 1st Edition ID.3 comes with excellent charging capabilities.
The ID3 has a 'CCS Combo Type 2' charging port. You use a standard Type 2 plug for home/work AC charging, and a bulkier CCS/Type 2 plug at rapid DC charging stations. If you want to know more about EV charging in general, see our Charging Guide.
- Maximum charging rate: 7.4 kW
- Electricity supply type: AC
Assuming you get a dedicated home charging point installed, every hour of charging will add approximately 33 miles of range. This table shows longer charging permutations and timings:
|Battery state of charge||Time to charge|
|from 20% to 80%||4 hours 42 minutes|
|from 0% to 100%||7 hours 50 minutes|
- Maximum charging rate: 11 kW
- Electricity supply type: AC
If there is a 3-phase electricity supply at work, and with the right type of charging point, the ID.3 can be charged at 11 kW. This means you can add about 49 miles’ range in an hour.
Public rapid charging
- Maximum charging rate: 100 kW
- Electricity supply type: DC
For longer journeys, where the VW ID.3's maximum range on a single charge is less than your trip distance, you will stop at motorway service stations and recharge at a 'rapid charger'.
You can add about 75 miles of range with 20 minutes of charging on a standard 50 kW charger. Faster charging stations are now being rolled out (see table below), but the ID.3 can never charge faster than its 100 kW internal limit.
|Rapid charger speed||Battery state of charge||Time to charge|
|50 kW||from 20% to 80%||42 minutes|
|150 kW||from 20% to 80%||21 minutes|
|350 kW||from 20% to 80%||21 minutes|
This 1st Edition VW ID3 comes with a complimentary one-year subscription to 'We Charge'. This gives you 2,000 kWh, or £500, of free charging at certain public charging stations. The high-speed Ionity chargers are part of this network, although not many have been built out yet in the UK.
Finally, as with all EVs, you benefit from regenerative braking technology, AKA 'regen'. As you lift your foot off the accelerator, the car will slow down by putting the electric motor into reverse to charge the battery. So, slowing down in an EV = top up your range. The default setting for regen is D, though you can increase the effect by selecting B mode.
The ID.3 has a very efficient battery management system. The upshot? It's cheap to run.
The amount of money you save on fuel depends on your home electricity tariff, as most EV charging is done at home.
If you charge your ID.3 1st Edition on an inexpensive, off-peak rate, you can achieve remarkable fuel savings. Let's say your annual mileage is 10,000 miles. You could be spending only £112* a year on electricity to run your car. Our Electricity Tariff guide explains how it works in more detail.
* based on 10,000 miles with a battery efficiency of 4.48 miles per kWh (260 miles range divided by 58 kWh usable battery capacity) and an off-peak charging rate of 5p per kWh.
The VW ID3 is a 100% electric car and has no tailpipe emissions.
Opting for a fully electric car has many advantages, not least a cleaner, greener driving experience. As the ID.3 doesn't even have an exhaust, it can't emit CO2, NOx gases, or any of the particulate matter associated with diesels.
As this VW electric car runs on electricity, in order to be completely environmentally friendly, you just need to ensure you charge its battery (sourced from South Korean battery giant, LG) with electricity from renewable sources whenever possible. There are several UK electricity suppliers that have 'renewable energy' tariffs for home and work.
The First Edition launch specification delivers a very accomplished interior.
The VW ID3 is not ultra-luxurious inside, but the overall design language is inviting and functional. To show this car is something different to the norm, Volkswagen flashes a snazzy LED light across the dashboard at start up.
The driver is presented with an information cluster behind the steering wheel (leather, heated), with a larger touchscreen located centrally, angled towards the driver. Drive, Neutral, Reverse and Park are selected by twisting the end of an extension to the driver's cluster, from where you can also adjust the level of regenerative braking (see Charging section above). We go through the features of the screens in the Technology section below.
A deep dashboard, coupled with a large windscreen, aids visibility and creates a roomy, airy feeling. The (heated) seats are simple, but comfortable, and central armrests come in handy on longer journeys.
The centre console is large and practical: trays where you can put smaller items like mobile phones, 2 x cupholders, 2 x USB-C sockets, plus another covered area with storage that stretches all the way to the back of the seats.
Materials are a mixture of textures, combining soft and hard plastics with high gloss black, and a 'microfleece' for the seats. The overall impression is one of modernity, simplicity and style.
In the back, there's space for three passengers, two more USBs, side storage bins, etc. We explore the roominess of the back row in the Practicality & Boot Space section below.
There's also an ambient lighting system with 30 colour options, plus tinted glass in the rear.
The VW ID3 ticks all the technology boxes for an EV in this segment.
Let's start with the central 10-inch touchscreen. VW call it the Navigation Pro. They haven't gone down the Tesla route and eliminated every single button. They combine touchscreen input with buttons and sliders, covering the following functions:
- Satellite navigation
- Two-zone air conditioning
- Seat heating
- Parking cameras and sensors
- Digital radio reception (DAB) and other media
- Bluetooth mobile phone interface
- Sound system
- Ambient lighting
- We Connect ID. app
- Voice control activated by saying "Hello ID"
The driver's display behind the steering wheel shows critical data, such as:
- Simplified navigation instructions
- Remaining battery range
- Gear selection
- Trip distance
There is also a separate, mini input pad to the left of the driver's cluster on the dashboard, controlling external lights and the heating of the windscreen and rear window.
Additional tech in the 1st Edition VW ID3 includes:
- Head up display (HUD)
- Adaptive cruise control
- Dynamic road-sign display
- Electric, foldable wing mirrors
- Lane Assist function
- Keyless entry & start up
- Matrix LED headlights, with automatic headlight control
- Parking sensors front and rear
The VW ID3 has been described as Golf-size on the outside, and Passat-size on the inside.
No doubt this Tardis effect will make the ID.3 popular with Dr Who fans. But, seriously, it is indeed very spacious inside despite a relatively small external form factor (4,261 mm long and 1,809 mm wide).
By not having a bulky internal combustion engine to deal with, the wheel base is long, with just a small overhang at the front. Combined with the 'skateboard' battery design of the MEB platform, the ID.3 feels agile, with a great turning circle, and remains pretty flat around the corners with a low centre of gravity.
Headroom is fine for adults in both front and back, with legroom especially good in the front. You can fit three adults in the back, but the middle seat is a little narrow. On the other hand, the floor is completely flat so the middle passenger can sit comfortably. There is door storage for rear passengers, along with two more USB-C slots.
The boot is well-sized, offering 385 litres with the seats up. You can also lift up the boot floor to reveal more space underneath, plus there's an extra cubby hole for smaller items like charging cables.
If you're a keen skier, or need to transport other long items with room for two in the back, there is a 'ski hatch' that connects the cabin to the boot. With all the seats down, the cargo volume is 1,267 litres.
Volkswagen, as you would expect, has given the ID3 lots of safety features.
The car has been tested officially by the independent Euro NCAP organisation and has secured a top 5-star rating. NCAP also awarded the ID3 very high sub-ratings, for example 89% for Child Occupant safety, 88% for Safety Assist, and 87% for Adult Occupant.
Safety aids include:
- Driver and front passenger airbags, with passenger airbag deactivation
- Automatic emergency braking (Front Assist), including cyclist and pedestrian monitoring
- Anti-theft alarm with interior monitoring, towing protection, and back-up horn
- eCall: emergency call control system
- On-coming vehicle braking tech when turning, with swerve support
- Isofix child anchors for the two outer rear seats and front passenger seat
There is only one trim level on offer at the moment, but it's well specced.
As we've seen in the sections above, this first 'ID' VW electric car launches in the UK in a fixed 1st Edition form. The online configurator is therefore very straightforward. Here are the only options you can select:
External colours: As standard, the ID.3 comes in a solid Moonstone Grey, with a contrasting black upper section on the rear of the car. For an extra £620, you can upgrade to the following metallic paints: Glacier White, Makena Turquoise or Manganese Grey.
Interior: Inside, the ID.3 comes decked out with a Platinum Grey interior. You then have to choose one of the following variations: (a) Grey decorative inserts and Black central control unit, (b) Grey decorative inserts and White central control unit, or (c) Safron Orange decorative inserts and White central control unit.
Accessories: Finally, there are three basic packs on offer: Protection Pack for £176 providing front and rear rubber mats, a transparent load sill protector, and a load liner for the boot. Style Pack costing £407 offering high-gloss, black mirror caps (for cars without Side Assist), and an LED exterior mirror turn signal. Travel Pack at £1,427 giving you a transport hitch (bicycles and storage boxes only), and a Compact III bicycle carrier.
The competition is hot in this segment of the market.
A quick recap: the VW ID.3 is an all-electric, 5-seat, 5-door hatchback with an on the road (OTR) cost of £35,880, and an official battery range of 260 miles. Direct electric competitors are:
- Kia e-Niro 3: £33,850 OTR and a range of 282 miles
- Kia Soul EV: £34,295 OTR and a range of 280 miles
- Hyundai Kona Electric: £35,900 OTR and a range of 280 miles
- Nissan Leaf e+: £33,295 OTR and a range of 239 miles
- Renault Zoe (Rapid Charge): £30,995 OTR and a range of 238 miles
These EVs represent stiff competition for the ID.3.
If you're looking for something a bit larger, VW is soon to bring out the ID.4 SUV. It's the ID.3's big brother. Deliveries will probably be in the first quarter of 2021.
Volkswagen have delivered a first-class, well-rounded electric car.
The VW ID.3 has been carefully designed to appeal to a wide audience. It's not a shouty, outrageous EV, but rather a solid, competent performer. Its stylish looks and spacious interior – coupled with Volkswagen's reputation for reliability – will no doubt make the ID.3 a best seller.
Where to next?
- Go to our main ID.3 lease page.
- Looking for a great car lease deal? Check out our incredible range of Special Offers.
- Want to know more about leasing? Take a look at our comprehensive Leasing Guides.
- Interested in everything electric? Why not catch up on all the latest Electric News.
* Score based on Select’s unique meta score analysis, taking into account the UK’s top six leading independent car website reviews of the Volkswagen ID.3.