Volkswagen ID.3 (2020) Review

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Volkswagen ID.3 (2020) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
A Volkswagen ID.3 will slot into your life as perfectly as, well, a petrol or diesel Golf. It's an excellent all-round package that combines a comfortable interior with low running costs and an enjoyable driving experience.

+Superb introduction to electric cars. Easy and relaxing to drive (but also fun). Priciest models can travel 336 miles between charges.

-Some of the interior plastics feel a little flimsy. Pricier than a Nissan Leaf.

Insurance Group 19

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.

Looking for a Volkswagen ID.3 (2020 on)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

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.

Ask Honest John

Which electric car is right for me?
"I have a BMW X1 automatic on a lease that expires this November. I would like to replace it with an electric car, which needs to be large enough to transport golf clubs and trolley, or take 3 passengers and have a range of 200+ miles. The car needs to be stylish. My husband says we should wait for at least a year to buy an electric car but I then have the problem of what to do when my lease ends. Any advice please including cars I should consider? I do not want a large car, something slightly smaller than the X1 would be preferable."
A Volkswagen ID.3 should have enough range and a big enough boot for your needs, also worth giving the larger ID.4 a look – it more closely matches the size of your X1. I'd also recommend the Kia Soul EV and the Hyundai Kona EV. Most small EVs – cars like the Mini Electric and the Honda e – won't have the boot space or range you need, however, it's worth checking out the Peugeot e-208, which has a long range for a small EV, though can't guarantee your kit will fit.
Answered by Russell Campbell
How do I stop electricity theft from my home charging point?
"I've ordered a Volkswagen ID.3 as my next company car and I'm planning to install a home charging point on my driveway. However, I'm a bit concerned about the possibility of opportunist electricity theft when I'm away from home. Can you advise how I could secure my socket from unapproved use?"
Electricity theft isn't a common issue – it'd take quite a brazen EV driver to park on your driveway and use your charger without permission. That said, some providers do offer an optional lock. Pod Point, for example, can supply a lock (with two keys) for £39 when ordered with its home charge points.
Answered by Andrew Brady
I need to replace my car as I live within the expanded ULEZ. Are there any new regulations coming up that should inform my decision?
"I commute around 40 miles each day from South London to Surrey on a mixture of roads. I have a 2009 Audi Q5 2.0-litre diesel auto. It has served me well and now has 120,000 miles on the odometer. Unfortunately, I live within the expanded ULEZ. So from October this year, I will need to pay the daily charge. I need to change my car to something similar. I don't want to find myself in the same position in a few years where I need to change a perfectly good car due to new regulations. Should I buy a petrol car, a hybrid or a full EV? My budget is similar to what the Audi cost, so around £40k. I don't mind buying a nearly new/used car. Are you aware of any new regulations that may be on the horizon that should inform my decision?"
Beyond the expanded ULEZ zone and the 2030 deadline for the sale of new petrol/diesel cars, we're not aware of any upcoming legislation changes. Any modern petrol, hybrid or even diesel car should be a safe purchase. Your choice comes down to personal preference, really, as any should be able to cope with an 80-mile round trip commute. Do you have off-road parking at home with access to electricity? If so, an electric car could work. £40,000 will get you a Volkswagen ID.3 with a range of up to 336 miles.
Answered by Andrew Brady
I do a regular 220-mile trip. Which electric cars could manage this mostly-motorway journey?
"I'm totally confused about actual as opposed to claimed electric car ranges. 80% of my travel is short urban trips, which would be ideal for an electric vehicle. The trouble is the other 20%. This consists primarily of a regular 220-mile (primarily motorway) journey that I like to do non-stop all year round, and hence with the heater/aircon switched on. Once I leave the motorway, there's a 30-mile urban journey to finish. What electric car would I need to achieve this? Are there any offerings either available now or in the near future which I should consider? Many thanks."
Electric cars are great around town and increasingly capable of longer trips. You'll find that the range drops off quite heavily at speeds above around 60mph, though. A Volkswagen ID.3 Tour can officially cover up to 336 miles on a charge so, with some careful driving, a 220-mile journey should be doable fairly comfortably. The electric charging infrastructure is improving rapidly if you do need to stop for a quick top-up. Alternatively, consider a hybrid vehicle.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What does a Volkswagen ID.3 (2020) cost?