New Volkswagen ID 7 vs Tesla Model 3: interiors

As Volkswagen's new electric flagship, the ID 7 has a lot to prove. Let's see whether its talents run deep enough to beat the class-leading and recently refreshed Tesla Model 3...

Volkswagen ID 7 dashboard

Behind the wheel

Driving position, visibility, build quality

Both cars have fundamentally sound driving positions, with pedals that line up neatly with the seat and steering wheel, but you’re more elevated in the Volkswagen ID 7, whereas the Tesla Model 3 provides a sportier, low-slung feel. Personal preference plays a significant role here, of course, but on extended journeys the ID 7’s standard ‘ergoActive’ seats are hard to beat. Certified by the German Campaign for Healthier Backs (yes, really), these seats offer superior side and under-thigh support to the flatter ones in the Model 3.

Finding your ideal driving position is easier in the ID 7, too. While both cars have electric seat adjustment controls conveniently located where you’d expect to find them (on the side of the seat), the Model 3 requires you to use a combination of the central touchscreen and scroll buttons on the steering wheel to adjust everything else, including the door mirrors and the position of the steering wheel itself. This is a frustrating process and not advisable while driving.

In a further backward step for usability, the pre-facelift Model 3’s stalks behind the steering wheel have been replaced by touch pads on the front of the wheel to flash the lights, wash the windscreen, access the surround-camera view and trigger the indicators. The indicator controls are particularly tricky to use while navigating junctions and roundabouts.

Tesla Model 3 dashboard

Furthermore, the Model 3 lacks an instrument panel in front of the driver, and a head-up display isn’t available as an option. Instead, all essential information, including speed and navigation instructions, is displayed on the central screen. This set-up is nowhere near as easy to read at a glance as the ID 7’s combination of a small digital instrument panel and an augmented reality head-up display that shows lane-keeping guidance and can project animated navigation arrows onto the windscreen in your line of sight as you approach a junction.

When it comes to interior quality, it’s closer than you might expect. While the ID 7 is a massive step on from every other ID product so far, with lots of soft, stitched surfaces and configurable ambient lighting, the Model 3 feels just as plush, if not quite as well screwed together.

We do love the ID 7’s optional photochromatic panoramic glass roof (£2100 as part of a pack), though; with so much glass above you, it’s nice to be able to switch from clear to opaque at the touch of a button, especially on a sunny day. The Model 3 has a more conventional (albeit very large) tinted glass roof.

Infotainment systems

Volkswagen ID 7

Volkswagen ID 7 touchscreen.JPG

The 15.0in touchscreen in the ID 7 is much better than those of previous ID models. Not only does its sheer size allow you to see lots of information in one go, but permanently displayed, configurable menu bars also make navigating the system much easier and less distracting. Almost any function can be programmed in to the five bespoke shortcut buttons that are displayed on the home page. However, we found the new voice control system to be frustratingly inconsistent.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 touchscreen

As part of the Model 3’s recent facelift, the 15.4in infotainment screen got a thinner bezel and brighter graphics, but no major changes were made to the software. However, that’s no bad thing, because the operating system remains intuitive to use, is packed full of great features, including navigation, web browsing and social media apps, and is quick to respond to inputs. Rear passengers now get their own 8.0in touchscreen, allowing them to stream movies or play video games on the move.

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