Volkswagen ID.3 (2020) Review
Volkswagen ID.3 (2020) At A Glance
The Volkswagen ID.3 is the first of many new electric vehicles being launched by Volkswagen Group in the coming years. While it lacks the gimmicks of rivals, it’s a thoroughly convincing all-round package that could make it the perfect introduction to electric cars. A wide choice of trim levels and battery sizes means there’s an ID.3 to cater to all buyers, too - from the budget-conscious to high-mileage would-be Tesla buyers.
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What would you convince you to buy an electric car? Maybe the ability to play Mario Kart via the infotainment system, perhaps - or ludicrously quick acceleration. Being able to travel as far as you would in a diesel vehicle would be another selling point, or a price tag that puts it in-line with petrol models.
The ID.3 doesn’t do any of these things, yet Volkswagen claims it’s revolutionary. Ready to have the same impact on motoring as the original Beetle did, the brand reckons, with the ID.3 launched as the first in a long line of ID-badged electric vehicles.
It certainly looks pretty cool. From its smiling face without a front grille to the polka-dot decals and bold colour palette, there’s no mistaking this for the eighth-generation Golf. But neither will it turn heads in the same way as the Honda E or even the (now venerable) BMW i3.
It’s similarly modern - yet inoffensive - inside. You’ll find a digital instrument cluster tacked onto the steering wheel column, while a gear selector is positioned alongside it. There’s a 10-inch navigation system in the centre of the dash which is smart but unrevolutionary (and, just like the latest Golf, it’s a little too reliant on touchscreen controls for our liking).
Things start to become a little more impressive when you start the ID.3 up and go for a drive. Of course, you don’t actually have an engine to start up and, unlike other EVs, you don’t even have to press a start button. Just select ‘drive’ on the twisty gear selector, hit the accelerator pedal and away you go.
It’s all the things we’re used to from electric cars: easy, relaxing, even surprisingly fun. The ID.3’s electric motor is positioned in the back (a nod to the aforementioned Beetle), driving the rear wheels. That means the front wheels don’t have to handle anything other than steering; it’s incredibly nimble around town and surprisingly agile out of it.
The ID.3’s performance isn’t a match for the Tesla Model 3, but instant acceleration means it’ll feel lively enough for the majority of buyers. Of course, heavy use of the accelerator will impact range, so you’ll soon learn to get your enjoyment from driving conservatively and eeking out as many miles from a charge as possible. Not that you really need to do that with a 205-mile range (from the mid-range model).
While we don’t quite buy into the hype that the Volkswagen ID.3 is going to change the automotive landscape (the Nissan Leaf has been on sale since 2011 and offers broadly the same package as the ID.3), we do think the ID.3 is one of the most appealing electric cars on sale today. It follows the same format as the Volkswagen Golf - it may not excel in any particular area, but its gimmick-free approach and generally excellent all-round package means it’s an ultra desirable electric car.
Looking for a second opinon? Why not read heycar's Volkswagen ID.3 review.