Volkswagen ID 3 long-term test: report 2

When we group tested the Volkswagen ID.3, we were so impressed that we named it Small Electric Car of the Year. But does it continue to cut the mustard during the daily grind?...

Volkswagen ID.3 side

The car Volkswagen ID.3 Pro Performance Family Run by Allan Muir, managing editor

Why we’re running it To see whether this electric hatchback has the versatility to be Volkswagen’s new people’s car

Needs to Be at least as comfortable and practical as an equivalent Golf and deliver on the promise of a better real-world range than its nearest rivals

Mileage 2655 List price £34,995 (not including £1500 gov’t grant) Target Price £34,480 Price as tested £37,270 Test range 200 miles 

11 December 2021 – Different strokes

Adjusting to the Volkswagen ID.3 from my previous Citroën e-C4 took a little longer than expected, despite both being electric cars. The ID.3 feels more tightly controlled in its body movements than the supremely relaxed e-C4, while its steering is slower and heavier (though not unpleasantly so). 

Volkswagen ID.3 long term

Perhaps it’s not surprising that the ID.3 feels slightly ponderous in comparison, given that it weighs around 1800kg – a fair bit more than most rivals. However, now that I’ve got a feel for it, I’m really liking the way the ID.3 drives.

It may not snap your head back under acceleration like some electric cars do, but when you go looking for it, performance is stronger than that of most rivals. And its 201bhp is delivered cleanly to the road, even under hard acceleration, thanks to the fact that the ID.3 is rear-wheel drive. Other benefits of this include a relatively tight turning circle – something that comes in handy around town.

Volkswagen ID.3 long term

I’m having a harder time getting comfortable with what the interior is like to interact with, though. The switches on the dashboard and steering wheel take the form of hard, shiny plastic panels that feel unpleasant and weird to operate. Even opening or closing a door is a tactile turn-off, because the part of the armrest that you grab is covered in the same hard material.

The sliders for the air temperature, meanwhile, are so tricky to adjust with any accuracy (especially at night, because they’re unlit and therefore invisible) that I don’t bother with them and instead go to the main climate control screen within the infotainment system; believe it or not, this is preferable to using the switches provided in this instance.

Volkswagen ID.3 long term

Much more convenient is the fact that the car turns itself on when I slide into the driver’s seat; all I have to do to get under way is twist the gear selector to ‘D’ or ‘B’ (the latter activating regenerative braking, which sends energy back into the battery when you lift off the accelerator and helps to slow the car down). Likewise, all I have to do when I get out is select ‘Park’ and the car takes care of the rest.

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