Volkswagen ID 3 long-term test: report 7

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 long term

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 4815 List price £34,995 Target Price NA Price as tested £37,270 Test range 185 miles 

24 March 2022 – A fresh perspective

Taking part in our recent winter range test of 10 electric cars – from a Fiat 500 to a Porsche Taycan – really helped to put my Volkswagen ID 3 into perspective. Although the ID 3 wasn’t among those being put through their paces, I’d driven up to our Bedfordshire test track in my car and felt surprisingly happy to get back into it for the drive home. I’m not suggesting that I’d take one over a Taycan or the Kia EV6 – our reigning Car of the Year – but I preferred it to three-quarters of the cars we’d been testing.

Volkswagen ID.3 long term

The reason why this came as a surprise is that I hadn’t been feeling all that upbeat about the ID 3 for a while prior to the range test, tending to focus on its shortcomings and struggling to feel a sense of attachment. But the back-to-back comparison reminded me that beneath its flaws (and there are quite a few), the ID 3 is a very capable car. It’s just that it’s rather too good at disguising that fact. 

After a long day of going around and around our test route in convoy, jumping from one car to the other until each one ran out of juice, the ID 3 immediately felt roomier, quieter and more comfortable than many of the other cars we’d been driving. The mostly motorway run back to London was dispatched as easily as any other journey in the ID 3.

It isn’t the quietest of EVs – it lets in more wind and road noise at 70mph than my old Citroën e-C4 for example – but its standard-fit adaptive cruise control is highly effective in stop-start motorway traffic, bringing the car to a complete halt if necessary and pulling away again relatively smoothly without any intervention from me.

Volkswagen ID.3 long term

Even on a chilly day, range wasn’t an issue, and I found myself thinking: “For the money, what else is better?” The answer is: “Not much.” Apart from the closely related Cupra Born (which has a smarter-looking interior) and the excellent Kia e-Niro SUV, there really aren’t any EVs in the ID 3’s price bracket that can match its combination of a good range, well-judged ride/handling balance, strong performance, space and practicality.

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