Volkswagen ID 3 long-term test: report 5

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 lights

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 4245 List price £34,995 Target Price £34,480 Price as tested £37,270 Test range 175 miles

8 February 2022 – Lighting up my life

More and more cars may be ditching halogen and xenon bulbs in favour of brighter LED (light-emitting diode) headlight clusters, but the ones on my Volkswagen ID 3 are something else entirely. They’re what’s known as ‘Matrix LED’ headlights, and until recently features such as these were the preserve of high-end luxury models or were available only as expensive options. So the fact that they’re standard on my Family-spec ID 3 – a relatively affordable electric family car – is something of a coup.

Volkswagen ID.3 interior

Not only do they light up the road ahead brilliantly at night, but I reckon they’re also more dynamic than those of any other car I’ve driven. The main beams swivel smoothly with every movement of the steering wheel to ensure maximum visibility even on winding roads, with additional spotlights subtly contributing to the mix in tighter corners, and certain portions of them are blanked off when other cars are detected to avoid dazzling other road users while effectively remaining on high beam. 

On a dark, twisty country road, the ID 3’s headlights provide a spectacular light show, with the beams changing their shape and coverage pretty much continuously and metaphorically turning night into day. I’m really, er, dazzled by them.

Less positively, the infotainment system is proving as flaky as predicted, with sluggish responses to inputs at times and random reboots as I’m driving along. And on one occasion the rear-view camera went haywire during a quick three-point turn, with the on-screen image stuttering madly for quite some distance down the road and then forcing the whole system to shut down. 

Volkswagen ID.3 lights

The knock-on effect was that the infotainment screen and digital instrument panel were completely blank when I started the car the next morning, and they stayed that way for several hours. The only thing I could still see was the ‘gear’ indicator on the side of the instrument panel. Along with one of my colleagues, I spent ages holding down various buttons and plipping the central locking in an effort to get the screens to reboot, and then, seemingly of their own volition, they came back to life. Hopefully this will remain a one-off incident.

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