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New Volkswagen ID 3 vs used Tesla Model 3

If you're shopping for a new electric car, the Volkswagen ID.3 is well worth considering, but for just a little bit more you could have a used Tesla Model 3. Which it the better buy?...

New Volkswagen ID.3 vs used Tesla Model 3

The contenders

NEW Volkswagen ID 3 Pro Performance Life

List Price: £36,195
Target price: £35,840

The first Volkswagen to be designed as an all-electric car won its class at our 2021 Electric Car Awards

USED Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus

Price new: £40,840
Price today: £39,000*

Tesla's tech-savvy Model 3 costs a little more than the ID 3, even if you buy used, but is it worth the extra?

*Price today is based on a 2019 model with average mileage and a full service history and is correct at the time of writing

When the Volkswagen ID 3 was launched, its maker suggested that it was the most important new Volkswagen since the original Golf – no pressure there, then. But fortunately for VW's engineers, who you suspect might have been looking for new jobs (or fed to piranhas) if they'd mucked it up, they hit a home run.

You see, the ID 3 combines a long range with impressive practicality and an enjoyable drive, meaning it sailed past the standards set by the Volkswagen e-Golf that it replaced.

Volkswagen ID.3 front cornering

It really has few downsides, but one is that it's not exactly cheap. In fact, for just a few thousand pounds more than a new ID 3 you could park a three-year-old Tesla Model 3 outside your house instead.

Nothing says 'I've gone electric' quite like a Tesla. Plus, the Model 3 comes jam-packed with tech and has dominated the large electric car class ever since it went on sale.

So which of these two cars – one new, one used – is the better buy? Read on to find out.

Tesla Model 3 front


Performance, ride, handling, refinement

Our test Model 3 isn't the most powerful version – that would be the 456bhp Performance – but even as a 50kWh Standard Range Plus it produces 252bhp and is good for 0-60mph in 6.1sec. 

The acceleration of the ID 3 isn't quite as electrifying (excuse the pun). However, the 58kWh Pro Performance version that we have still churns out 201bhp and hits 50mph in 6.7sec – quicker than some hot hatches.

Volkswagen ID.3 2021 rear

A big, heavy battery requires fairly stiff suspension to support it, so don’t expect the ID 3 to offer Volkswagen Golf levels of comfort. Instead, it's ride is a bit choppy around town, although it's far from harsh, and it polishes the pugnaciousness out of road surfaces at motorway speeds.

The Model 3 is similar in that it can jostle you around a bit and isn’t the best at smoothing out road imperfections. In fact, overall it's the firmer riding of the two.

The payoff for this is that the Model 3 offers sharper handling than the ID 3. It leans far less and grips with real tenacity, while the steering is quick and precise.

Tesla Model 3 rear cornering

Not that the ID 3 handles badly. In fact, for an everyday electric hatchback designed to get you from A to B it inspires plenty of confidence. What's more, as in the Model 3, you can adjust the weighting of the steering to suit your taste. As a bonus, the ID 3 has an excellent turning circle: 10.2m, which is around the same as a Volkswagen Up city car's.

Like many electric cars, these two are whisper-quiet at town speeds. However, the Model 3 generates quite a bit of tyre noise on the motorway, where you can also hear the wind whistling around its frameless doors, despite the double-glazed side windows.

As for the ID 3, this generates a smattering of suspension and road noise at higher speeds, but the most noticeable breach of the peace comes from wind noise – much of it whistling through the climate control vents.

Next: What are they like inside? >>

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