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What Car? Electric Car Awards in association with ONTO

Electric Car Awards 2021: Best electric family car

With electrified cars now coming in all shapes and sizes – and available to suit every budget – we’ve named the best models in every class. Here we look at the best electric family car...

WINNER: Best electric family car

Volkswagen ID.3 58kWh Pro Performance Life

Electric Car Awards 2021 logo

The promise of a car that’s every bit as practical as the big-selling and iconic Volkswagen Golf, yet which is also kind to the planet, presents a humongous order to fill with the potential for huge disappointment. Thankfully, the ID.3 lives up to its promise, and then some.

Our recommended Pro Performance model has a single 201bhp electric motor, and while it doesn’t offer the kind of grin-inducing pace you’ll find in a Tesla, its instant surge of power nonetheless gets you up to speed quickly. And don’t forget that, thanks to its 58kWh battery pack, this ID.3 will take you farther between charges than the rival Nissan Leaf, with an official range of up to 264 miles.

Volkswagen ID.3 2021 front

What’s more, the ID.3 can charge at a rate of up to 100kW – faster than either the Leaf or Renault's Zoe can manage. It means you could top up from 10-80% in as little as 33 minutes if you can find a suitably powerful charger.

Despite its relatively stiff suspension, the ID.3 offers ride comfort to rival the Golf, and that’s no mean feat, given the extra weight of its battery pack. Plus, thanks to its tight turning circle and decent grip, it handles better than anything else for the price. The Seat Leon is keener still, but that, of course, isn’t available as an electric car.

While some of the interior materials don’t seem in keeping with the price you’ll pay for the top trim levels, everything feels well screwed together. Fortunately, you won’t feel cheated if you stick with entry-level Life spec, which comes with all of the equipment that you’ll need. And while the ID.3’s infotainment system isn’t especially user-friendly, with laggy controls and a confusing layout, you can bypass it by using the standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring.

Volkswagen ID.3 dashboard

On the road, the view forwards is good thanks to the deep windscreen and slim front pillars, and parking should be easy, because every version gets front and rear sensors. Your family will be comfy enough, too; the ID.3 matches the Golf for rear seat space, plus its flat floor will be appreciated by whoever sits in the middle. It’s close to the Golf when it comes to boot space, too, although it’s trumped by the Leaf here.

However, what seals the ID.3’s win here is the good news it brings at both ends of the buying journey. For starters, thanks to slow predicted depreciation, you won’t pay over the odds for the ID.3 on a PCP finance deal, and when you come to selling, you’ll get a decent proportion of your money back.

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See all of our Electric Car Awards 2021 winners >>