Volkswagen clearly has designs on its electric ID.3 succeeding the Golf in middle class families’ affections, in a similar way to that car’s long ago supplanting of the Beetle.
The ID.3 has been around for about three years and has yet to create the much loved vibe of its two famous predecessors. It has sold strongly and garnered generally positive press, but there were also some negative comments about the quality of the car’s interior. For many years Volkswagen has traded on cabins that feel posh, so the ID.3’s insides have been given a makeover.
World of interiors
The casual observer might struggle to tell the difference, but may of the plastic surfaces people touch are less un-yielding and ‘scratchy’ than before, ditto many of the fabrics used for items like seat trim, which commendably, is made from 71per cent re-cycled plastic.
Styling wise nothing much has changed inside the ID.3, and it didn’t need to. The compact digital instrument display looks much as before, as does the adjacent switch to the right of the steering wheel which makes the car go forwards and backwards and actuates the parking brake. This is quickly mastered and intuitive to use.
The centrally mounted, ten-inch touch screen hasn’t changed physically, but most of its functions are now quicker off the mark, so less screen finger-stabbing is involved than before, a feature in the original ID.3 that drew opprobrium. One excellent feature of the car is its roominess, particularly for a trio of rear seat passengers, who have plenty of head and legroom. With the rear seat up, boot space is an OK 385 litres. Fold them down and this rises to 1,267 litres.
Sport the difference
Outside, the ID.3’s Golf-like profile remains, but there is a series of small scale visual alterations. The front bumper has been re-shaped to cleave the air more effectively, the bonnet is now all of a piece, ditching the slightly fussy looking black crescent it had, and that lived in front of the windscreen. The number of badges has been reduced, which is no bad thing, there’s a chrome strip running above the doors, and the tail lamps have been given more LEDs, so are capable of twinkling more than before.
Out and about
There are two trim levels, Pro and Pro S, sold in 58 and 77kWh battery forms. Whichever one you go for the car is powered by a single electric motor which lives with the back axle. We drove an ID.3 Pro with the smaller battery (which saved a bit of weight), powered by a 204 PS motor.
The ID.3 went quickly and quietly about its business, in a way that would flag up any interior creaks and squeaks, but there were none, there was also a lack of wind noise and the squat, low profile tyres kept the noise down too.
The car’s ride characteristics were never less than firm, so don’t expect to be cosseted on poor road surfaces, but the payback for sometimes jiggly progress was a lack of body roll on bends, tidy cornering and light, accurate steering. In fact, the ID.3 is quite an engaging car to drive and would be a confidence inspiring companion on London’s clogged, traffic calmed roads.
VW offers a range of options packs with names like ‘Exterior Pack’ and ‘Interior Comfort Pack Plus’ which will set you back £1,725 and £4,085 respectively, and would quickly bump up the car’s not inconsiderable price.
Standard kit includes a driver alert system with a driver fatigue facility, speed sensitive cruise control with radar distance monitoring and city emergency braking, curtain airbags, twin zone air conditioning and rain sensitive, automatic wipers.
These are eminently sensible features in an eminently sensible car, one that might not have the distinctive character of a Beetle or a classic Golf but to be fair, most modern cars are fairly anti-septic things. It makes up for this through mix of quietness, practicality and space for people. The ID.3 has been subtly burnished so that the slightly cheap feeling interior and clunky screen controls are both better than before. There really isn’t much wrong with this car now at all.
Volkswagen ID.3 Pro 57 kWh 204 PS
Top speed: 99mph
WLPT combined range: 266 miles
CO2 emissions: 0g/km