Volkswagen ID 3 long-term test: report 8

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 5250 List price £34,995 Target Price NA Price as tested £37,270 Test range 205 miles 

13 April 2022 – Day tripping

When you’re on a journey in an electric vehicle (EV), there’s nothing better than to be able to glance down at the range indicator after you’ve been driving for an hour or two and think “Wow, look how much range I’ve got left”, as opposed to “Flippin’ heck, where’s all the range gone?”. In my Volkswagen ID 3, it’s usually the former. Not only is the car now starting such trips with a longer indicated range on a full charge than it was over the winter, but that figure also drops at a reassuringly linear rate (unlike in some rivals), even at a 70mph cruise. 

Volkswagen ID.3 long term

The current range of around 205 miles in warmer weather is still well short of what I believe the ID 3 to be capable of in ideal conditions. However, it’s good enough to make reasonably light work of the sort of day trips that I mostly do, as well as the occasional longer journey. 

Clearly, a recent 250-mile round trip to the Cotswolds couldn’t be completed without at least one top-up along the way, but I didn’t mind. In any EV, my preference is to take quick breaks more often and earlier than I actually need to, rather than pushing on until the battery is nearly out of juice and risking a problem getting a top-up. 

Volkswagen ID.3 long term

On the Cotswolds outing, I ended up adding juice twice to get back to 80% capacity, even though a single longer break would have sufficed. Neither of the 50kW public chargers (provided by Gridserve and InstaVolt) was able to charge as rapidly as the ID 3 can handle, but they were available when I turned up, worked flawlessly and were easy to operate. 

I had hoped to use a BP Chargemaster device located in a country pub car park instead, but at two locations I found that the solitary charger was already in use. Irritatingly, they can serve only one car at a time – even if the other car is a Nissan Leaf that’s hooked up to the CHAdeMO connector rather than the CCS one I’d be using if I could. 

Volkswagen ID.3 long term

The only slight blemishes in the ID 3’s credentials as a long-distance cruiser are that it generates more wind and road noise than some rival EVs (although it’s still quieter than most petrol and diesel cars), and after a couple of hours behind the wheel, the driver’s seat no longer seems as comfortable as it does at first. But in general the ID 3 feels perfectly happy on the motorway, with plenty of performance, a comfortable ride and a planted feel.

The ID 3 is equally proficient on country roads, especially if you switch to ‘B’ mode to activate the regenerative braking system. This harvests energy under deceleration (to help eke out range) and slows the car more swiftly when you lift off the accelerator pedal, although it isn’t strong enough to bring the car to a complete halt. On a twisty road, this means you can drive for long periods without having to hit the brake pedal, making for smooth, flowing progress. 

Volkswagen ID.3 long term

You’re always aware of the ID 3’s 1.8-tonne weight through corners, and it’s necessary to deactivate the intrusive lane-keeping assistance to prevent it from butting in, but well-weighted, precise steering and good body control help to offset these things. It may not be fun per se, but the ID 3 is proving even more versatile than I was expecting.

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