VW ID.3 review (2024): The newly improved electric hatchback

The Volkswagen ID.3 hasn’t been out for too long and yet, the German automaker has already updated its fully electric hatchback. There are minor changes from the exterior, a revamped interior and an updated infotainment system. It’s otherwise identical to the original model that we reviewed in early 2021.

When the ID.3 was reviewed we found it to be an excellent all-rounder and it received our Best Buy award. However, there’s now a lot more competition in the EV space, with some manufacturers even slashing prices to others offering compelling alternatives that are feature-packed.

If you’d prefer to watch a review of the Volkswagen ID.3, head on over to our YouTube channel.

Volkswagen ID.3 price & competition

Indeed, when we reviewed the ID.3 in 2021 it cost £29,990, making it a tempting proposition for prospective customers. It’s now a lot more expensive, with prices for the entry-level Pro starting from £37,115, and rising to £42,870 without options for the Pro S – the former has a 58 kWh battery pack, while the latter has a larger 77 kWh capacity.

A detailed breakdown of the differences can be found below (click to expand):

Find the best VW ID.3 deals

It’s disheartening to see a large price hike, but the cost of electric vehicles has generally risen over the years, which is due to inflation and the scrappage of the Government Plug-in Car Grant (PICG).

With that said, there are alternatives you might want to consider: the BMW i4 from £49,995; the Hyundai Ioniq 6 from £47,040; the Polestar 2 from £44,950; the Tesla Model 3 from £42,990; the Honda e from £37,395; the Cupra Born from £36,475; the Smart #1 from £35,950; the Vauxhall Corsa-e from £33,930; the GWM Ora Funky Cat from £31,995; the Peugeot e-208 from £31,345; the Mini Electric from £31,000; the Renault Zoe from £29,995; the Nissan Leaf from £28,995; the Fiat 500 Electric from £28,195; and the MG4 EV from £26,995.

Read next: Cupra Born review: Better than the VW ID.3?

Volkswagen ID.3 exterior review

At the time of writing and in the UK, there are only two trims available, which are the Pro and Pro S. As mentioned, the biggest difference comes in the form of the vehicle’s battery capacity. Other than the alloys, they’re otherwise identical.

In the Pro, you’ll find the 18″ ‘East Derry’ wheels while in the Pro S the 19″ ‘Wellington’ comes fitted as standard. The latter is available as a £1,120 option in the Pro, while the 20″ ‘Sanya’ will cost £1,580; the larger alloys cost £560 in the Pro S.

It’s great to see that Volkswagen has done away with the rather ugly 18″ ‘Aero’ steel wheels, which we had fitted to our press vehicle in 2021 – pictured below in grey. Instead, you’ve got stylish alloys giving the ID.3 a sportier and more appealing look from the side.

The front of the vehicle is arguably where the biggest aesthetic changes have occurred. The bonnet is now seamless with that rather off-putting black trim removed in its entirety. The front bumper also has a sleeker design with cut-outs on either side giving it a more aggressive stance. As for the rear, it’s largely similar to its predecessor, however, the taillights now extend further into the central portion of the tailgate; passive reflectors have been replaced with working LEDs.

As for your colour choices, it comes in ‘Moonstone Grey Black’ as standard. While looks are subjective, we find the grey tone a little bland. Volkswagen does, however, have the ‘Grenadilla Black Metallic’ finish available for an additional £710. Should you want a two-tone finish, it’ll also cost £710 for the ‘Costa Azule Metallic Black’, ‘Glacier White Metallic Black’ and ‘Scale Silver Metallic Black’, while the ‘Dark Olivine Green Metallic Black’ and the pictured ‘Kings Red Premium Metallic Black’ will set you back an extra £860.

Read next: Hyundai Ioniq 6 review: Better Than Tesla, BMW & Polestar?

Volkswagen ID.3 interior review

But it’s not the exterior that takes centre stage, but rather the interior of the new ID.3. Volkswagen has upgraded the materials throughout the cabin to give its hatchback a fresher and more luxurious feel; there’s less harsh plastic, more squishy material towards the dashboard and superior stitching work throughout.

However, make no mistake, the ID.3 still can’t compete with some of its newer rivals and isn’t radically different from its predecessor. Still, it’s a step in the right direction. Furthermore, it’s great to see that the cabin is mostly comprised of recycled materials – 71% to be more precise.

Despite the updated look, the German automaker has retained the rather fiddly capacitative touch sliders for your climate controls and media volume, which are located by the slightly angled centre-weighted display. Equally, the part-haptic touch controls on the steering wheel are frustratingly still present as they are prone to accidental input when cornering. We wish the manufacturer had opted for traditional physical buttons, instead.

On that note, the rear windows also need to be initiated by pressing the ‘Rear’ touch button located on the driver’s door. This will then make the two physical levers found below it operate the rear windows only – baffling and completely unnecessary.

Thankfully, you still have two traditional stalks behind the steering wheel and an intuitive gear selector located to the side of the 5.3″ instrument cluster. On the subject of technology, the smaller panel will display navigation data alongside key driving information.

Should you want to bolster the experience, you’ll want to add the Augmented Reality Head-up Display (AR HUD) – it shows warning lines, such as when you’re veering off-piste, and with the use of the built-in navigation system, can indicate the direction you need to be in via projected arrows. While the AR HUD is an excellent addition, it’s only available within the ‘Interior Comfort Pack’, which will set you back a hefty £2,325. This does, however, add a few other useful features, such as the 30-colour ambient lighting system, more ergonomic and heated front seats, and a laminated, heated and sound-insulating windscreen.

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What does come as standard, however, is a 10″ infotainment system that supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in both a wired and wireless format – the instrument cluster and HUD also display navigation data from these third-party operating systems. Interacting with the display is easy as the menu system is smartly laid out. More importantly, it’s a bit more fluid than its predecessor and yet, it’s still intuitively laid out.

What is rather odd, is that in the UK, the new ID.3 still sports a smaller 10″ display, rather than the larger 12″ panel featured in the Cupra Born. European ID.3 models have a larger 12.9″ fitted as standard; we’ve been told that the UK models will inherit the bigger screen in 2024.

While that might not bother certain individuals, it is infuriating that there are no rear speakers as standard in the new ID.3; you’ve got five speakers at the front of the cabin only. This was a real complaint of ours when we originally reviewed the ID.3 and it would seem that many were equally surprised by Volkswagen’s decision making.

So much so, that the automaker took on feedback to offer a relatively inexpensive pack to add rear speakers to its cheaper trims. This has now disappeared altogether. Instead, if you want to add rear speakers and upgrade to the Beats audio system, you’ll have to spend a whopping £4,085 on the Comfort Pack Plus in the Pro trim, or £2,530 in the Pro S. Why isn’t there a cheaper option or rear speakers included as standard? Well, our guess is as good as yours, however, according to the press material “Volkswagen has adopted a simplified approach to the offer of options on the ID.3”, but it’s a step too far, especially given almost all of its rivals offer more compelling audio options.

Read next: Tesla Model 3 review: Should you buy into the hype?

Volkswagen ID.3 storage review

What is also rather poor from the manufacturer, is that the glove box has not been optimised for right-hand drive vehicles. This is due to the positioning of the fuse box in left-hand drive vehicles, which means that there is less space to utilise in this compartment. Thankfully, there is plenty of storage within the cabin.

At the very front, you’ve got a small area with a mesh holder, towards the centre console there are two cupholders, a small storage bay, and a slopped area for your smartphone – the secondary non-slip area doubles up as a wireless phone charger – and there’s a narrow compartment within the centre armrest, which can be concealed with the retractable tray.

Here, you’ll also find two USB Type-C ports, which can be used to connect up the infotainment system. There are also two USB Type-C ports found towards the rear of the centre console, though, these are used for charging only but can provide up to 45 Watts of power, which is really impressive and allows one to quick-charge a smartphone.

Elsewhere, the front door bins will accommodate a 500ml bottle alongside a small-to-medium-sized purse or wallet, while the rear two are a lot more limited. There are two cupholders found within the rear pull-down armrest.

Of course, when it comes to storage there’s the boot, which remains unchanged from its predecessor and its sibling, the Cupra Born. The capacity is rated at 385 litres, and with the seats down this figure extends up to 1,267 litres.

Here’s how it stacks up to its rivals: BMW i4 (470/1,290 litres); Nissan Leaf (435/1,161 litres); Tesla Model 3 (425/1,235 litres); Hyundai Ioniq 6 (401/1,100-1,300); Polestar 2 (405/1,095 litres); Renault Zoe (338/1,225 litres); MG4 EV (363/1,177 litres); Peugeot e-208 (311/1,106 litres); Vauxhall Corsa-e (267/1,076 litres); GWM Ora Funky Cat (228/858 litres); Mini Electric (211/731); Honda e (171/571 litres); Fiat 500 Electric (185/550 litres); Smart EQ Fortwo (260/360 litres).

In terms of practicality, it’s got a hatchback design with 60:40 split-folding rear seats and an integrated ski latch. There’s an underfloor compartment for your charging cables and a further area underneath for the tyre repair kit or other. Alas, there’s no frunk (a compartment under the bonnet).

If you want a flat boot floor, you’ll have to spend an additional £75 on the ‘Removable Luggage Compartment Floor’ option. This will remove the step to the rear seats and provide you with a completely flat loading bay. However, there isn’t an option to add an electronic tailgate, it’s manually operated only; yet another missing feature when compared to its modern rivals.

Read next: Fiat 500 Electric review: Best small electric car?

Volkswagen ID.3 comfort review

Speaking of which, the 77 kWh Pro S can only seat up to four occupants. Should you want to ditch the fixed armrest compartment at the rear of the cabin in favour of a seat, you’ll have to go for the 58 kWh Pro model. While this is identical to what is found in the Cupra Born, it’s another factor one should consider when looking at the alternatives.

Similarly, there are no heated rear seats, not even available as an option. Instead, the front two seats, the windscreen and the steering wheel come heated as standard. On that note, the seats are all accommodating and comfortable, but should you want electronic controls with power-adjustable lumbar support for the front seats, you’ll have to splash out an additional £2,325 on the Interior Comfort Pack.

On that note, if you want a fixed panoramic glass roof, it’s solely comprised within the £3,080 ‘Exterior Pack Plus with Panoramic Roof’ pack; yet again, there’s no means of adding this separately. Reemphasising the point that the manufacturer’s logic of simplifying the options list and not including it as standard might put off customers.

Aside from this, legroom is sufficient at the rear of the cabin but due to the diagonally-wedged rear seats, it can result in a bit of strain on your occupant’s quad muscles. If, however, there’s no rear middle passenger, they can stretch out their legs thanks to a near-flat footwell design. As for headroom, 6-foot 2-inches (188cm) individuals will be sat comfortably, but those who are taller might feel a little henned in. Headroom and legroom at the front of the cabin are a non-issue.

We’d also like to point out that the new ID.3, much like its predecessor, has a pressure sensor found within the driver’s seat. This makes for an incredibly intuitive experience as a single occupant as one doesn’t have to press an on/off button to power on the vehicle.

However, if you have rear occupants and say you, the driver, momentarily step outside the vehicle, you’ll find the infotainment system and climate control both power down, leaving those sitting at the back without any entertainment or a means of cooling or heating the cabin. The only way to counteract the behaviour is to have the remote within the cabin and for the rear occupants to reach over to the on/off button found by the steering column – it’s not very practical.

As for cabin noise, the new ID.3 is pretty well insulated, especially with the inclusion of the £2,325 ‘Interior Comfort Pack’ that adds the laminated, heated and sound-insulating windscreen, further dampening exterior sound to provide a more serene environment.

Read next: BMW i4 review: Is the i4 eDrive40 better than the i4 M50?

Volkswagen ID.3 performance review

While the new ID.3 is a bit of a hit-and-miss in certain areas, its performance is actually quite impressive. Due to it operating on a rear-wheel drive (RWD) configuration, it’s plenty of fun to drive around winding country roads. There’s a great sense of feeling when going around corners, especially when compared to most of its front-wheel drive (FWD) rivals. There’s a minimal amount of body roll, and its suspension setup has been tuned to perfection, at least in our opinion; it soaks up road anomalies, speed bumps and potholes extremely well while holding its stature on more challenging roads.

While we can’t say it’s the best driver’s feel that one can attain in an EV, as the Porsche Taycan, Audi e-tron GT and BMW i4 reign supreme in this department, it’s still up there with the very best including the Cupra Born and its predecessor that operates a near-identical setup.

In terms of raw performance, both the 58 kWh and 77 kWh models have a rear-mounted motor that outputs 150 kW (201 hp) of power, 310 Nm of torque and will attain a top speed of 99mph. Using Racelogic’s Performance Box Touch we recorded a 0-20mph time of 1.95 seconds, 0-30mph in 2.96 seconds, 0-60mph in 7.01 seconds and 50-70mph in 3.8 seconds. Granted, it’s not the most electrifying vehicle on the market but given the target market and the instant torque delivery, it should suffice for most consumers.

Find the best VW ID.3 deals

What is equally sufficient, at least in our opinion, is its electric driving range. The tested 58 kWh model netted 220-230 miles in our mixed driving tests, which is identical to what we attained in the original model. It’s worth considering that the vehicle on review did not have a heat pump fitted, which is distastefully not fitted as standard across the trim range – it costs £970. Should it have been included, we could have seen the vehicle pushing past the 250-mile mark.

On that note, the 77 kWh Pro S model should be able to attain roughly 290-310 miles with the very same testing methodology. This would make it one of the longest-range EVs in its class.

To put the ID.3’s range figures into context, here’s how it stacks up to its rivals: Tesla Model 3 Long Range 310 miles; Smart #1, Polestar 2 Long Range Single Motor and Hyundai Ioniq 6 250-270 miles; BMW i4 eDrive40 240-260 miles; Tesla Model 3 RWD 230-250 miles; the MG4 EV Long Range 220-240 miles; Cupra Born 210-220 miles; Nissan Leaf Tekna e+ and Renault Zoe R135 200 miles; Peugeot e-208 180 miles; Fiat 500 Electric and GWM Ora Funky Cat 140-160 miles; Vauxhall Corsa-e 130-140 miles; Mini Electric 100-110 miles; and Honda e 80-90 miles.

Now in order to be as efficient as possible and recoup energy back into the battery pack, there is regenerative braking – this can be initiated by flicking to B-mode on the gear selector. However, the level of deceleration is quite weak at around 0.3g, meaning you’ll have to resort to using the physical brake pedal to come to a standstill – one-pedal driving isn’t quite feasible, unlike a few of its competitors.

It’s also rather cumbersome to have to switch to this mode each time you step inside the cabin. Again, its rivals offer a toggle via the infotainment system and the ability to adjust the levels on the fly by using the flappy paddles – both of which aren’t present on the new ID.3.

VW ID.3 charging

Of course, you can plug it in. Its CCS port supports up to 120 kW (170 kW on the 77 kWh model), meaning it’ll take between 30-35 minutes to go from 5-80% at an appropriate charge point. On a 50 kW charger, this time increases to 55 minutes and 70 minutes on the 58 and 77 kWh models, respectively. A 7 kW wallbox charger will take you from zero to full in 7hrs 30mins or around nine hours on the larger battery pack model.

Should you have access to three-phase power, you’ll be pleased to know that the onboard charger is rated at 11 kW, meaning one can go from 0-100% in 6 hours 15 minutes in the 58 kWh model or 7 hours 30 minutes in the 77 kWh variant. As for a regular three-pin input, it’ll take 31 hours and 39 hours, respectively.

Read next: MG4 EV review: The best value EV to date

Volkswagen ID.3 safety review

As for safety, the VW ID.3 achieved 5/5 stars in 2020 and has since been reviewed by the testing agency, which means the rating is valid for the new facelift model. It scored 87% in Adult Occupancy, 89% in Child Occupancy and 88% in the Safety Assist tests.

In terms of your driver assistance systems, as standard, there is: Car2X that allows the car to communicate with other compatible vehicles so that you are alert of any dangers, Adaptive Cruise Control  (ACC) with speed limiter, Driver alert system and fatigue detection, Dynamic road sign display, Front Assist – autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist monitoring, and Lane Assist. The latter system is enabled each time you step inside the cabin and is rather cumbersome to disable, as you’ll need to faff around with the infotainment system. It’s a shame that there is no accessible shortcut on the steering wheel or stalks, as one might find it rival alternatives.

For an additional £2,095 one can add the ‘Driver Assistance Plus’ package, which adds: Lane change system Side Assist (a blind spot monitoring system), Travel Assist (lane centring), Park assistance plus with front and rear parking sensors, and a Memory feature for Park Assist Plus.

When it comes to visibility, it’s excellent throughout the cabin; the cut-outs by the A-pillars provide better vision when cornering, while the slopped bonnet makes it easy to see what’s in front of you. Front and rear parking sensors come fitted as standard. However, a rearview camera is an extra £985 as it’s comprised within the ‘Driver Assistance Pack’ – completely ridiculous that a rear camera isn’t fitted as standard.

VW ID.3 awards

Read next: Polestar 2 review: Tesla Model 3 and BMW i4 beater?

TotallyEV’s verdict on the Volkswagen ID.3

While we have our complaints about the new ID.3, namely with the lack of standardised features, it’s still one of our favourite electric vehicles. It’s plenty of fun to drive, comfortable, spacious and will go the distance. As such, the Volkswagen ID.3 still receives TotallyEV’s coveted Best Buy award.

Find the best VW ID.3 deals

With that said, the ID.3 is now more expensive than ever and there are now other vehicles that you should consider, especially if you are not fixated on getting a practical small-sized hatchback – here are the ones we’d recommend: the Tesla Model 3 for improved efficiency and the charging infrastructure, the Smart #1 for a more lavish interior design and plenty of standard features, the Polestar 2 for its forward-thinking use of technology, the Hyundai Ioniq 6 for a more complete package, the BMW i4 for better driving dynamics, the Nissan Leaf for bettered comfort, the MG4 EV for the best bang-for-your-buck, the Fiat 500 Electric for something a little more compact, the GWM Ora Funky Cat for an even safer drive and finally, the Cupra Born for a more snazzier exterior design.

Suffice to say there are many EVs to consider. So, we’d like to know if you’d pick the updated ID.3 over its rivals? Let us know in the comments section below or via social media; we’re on: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Christopher Minasians
Christopher is an avid car enthusiast and techie. In his spare time, he reviews the latest consumer electronic products on his YouTube channel, TotallydubbedHD. Elsewhere, he practices Taekwondo, in which he has held a black belt for several years and coaches at a national level. He also speaks fluent English, French, Armenian, and loves to practice freestyle street dance.
vw-id-3-review-the-newly-improved-electric-hatchbackThe VW ID.3 is a near-perfect example of what an all-electric hatchback should be; it has a good electric range, a comfortable yet exciting feel, and a modern look both inside and out of the cabin. While the car does have a few quirks and is missing a lot of standard features, it's still an excellent all-rounder and as such, receives TotallyEV's Best Buy award.


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