2020 Volkswagen ID 3 review: price, specs and release date

The Volkswagen ID 3 is the first of a new generation of VW electric cars, with a range of almost 350 miles. We've driven a late prototype to see if it's the game changer being promised...

10 July 2019
Volkswagen ID.3 prototype front

On sale Summer 2020 | Priced from £29,000 (est)

Hyperbole is commonplace in the car industry, but this new Volkswagen ID 3 genuinely represents the start of a revolution at the German manufacturer. You see, although it’s no stranger to electric cars, they’ve always been based on conventional VW models, whereas the ID 3 was designed from the ground up to be fully electric. The ID 3, then, is the start of a new chapter for Volkswagen – and we've been for a drive in a late-stage prototype to see if it will be worth your money.

2020 Volkswagen ID 3 on the road

Our test car had the mid-sized, 58kWh battery and the more powerful of the two electric motors that will be available, producing 201bhp. In this form the ID 3 delivers the sort of lively urban performance we’ve come to expect from electric models, while generating next to no noise, either from its motor or tyres.

Volkswagen ID.3 prototype rear

The fact that the front wheels turn farther than they do in most cars also makes the ID 3 feel ideally suited to city driving, because it gives it a very tight turning circle and means you never need two bites to get in or out of a parking bay.

Our test route didn’t allow us to get up to any great speed, but body lean seems to be well controlled, and the ID 3 has the sort of consistent, reassuring steering we’ve come to expect from Volkswagens.

On the other hand, the ride feels like it still needs development work. The ID 3 is available with wheels of up to 20in diameter, and on these the prototype was a bit jittery.

It will be a while before we have the opportunity to put the ID 3 through our Real Range test, but during this drive the car started on what looked like about a 90% state of charge, and after 40 miles of driving was down to around 75%. On that basis, being able to travel between 200 and 250 miles without recharging seems realistic.

Volkswagen ID.3 prototype charging

2020 Volkswagen ID 3 interior

The dashboard of our car was completely covered, making it impossible to judge its quality or usability. However, we can tell you that the driving position is reminiscent of that of an MPV, in that the windscreen is a long way ahead of you and the bonnet of the ID 3 quickly drops out of sight, making it harder than you might expect to judge where the front bumper ends.

Even though the ID 3 is a fairly tall car, headroom is no better than average; blame the batteries beneath the floor, which require the passenger compartment to be lifted up. However, there’s loads of leg room in both the front and the back, and the boot is a good size, despite the electric motor being mounted at the rear of the car.

2020 Volkswagen ID 3 verdict

This early drive suggests the ID 3 has plenty of strengths besides zero emissions and the corresponding tax advantages. But then it needs them if it’s going to succeed.

Not only will it have to compete with the class-leading e-Niro and, in range-topping form, Tesla’s new Model 3, but Volkswagen is hoping to sell 110,000 ID 3’s a year. That’s more than double the total number of electric and plug-in hybrid cars it sold in 2018.

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