Volkswagen ID 3 review

Category: Electric car

Electric family car is good to drive and the new facelifted version is a step up from the original

VW ID.3 front right driving
  • VW ID.3 front right driving
  • VW ID.3 rear cornering
  • VW ID.3 interior dashboard
  • VW ID.3 back seats
  • VW ID.3 interior infotainment
  • VW ID.3 right driving
  • VW ID.3 front left driving
  • VW ID.3 front right driving
  • VW ID.3 rear right driving
  • VW ID.3 front right static
  • VW ID.3 rear left static
  • VW ID.3 interior front seats
  • VW ID.3 interior driver display
  • VW ID.3 interior pedals detail
  • VW ID.3 interior seat detail
  • VW ID.3 interior seat detail
  • VW ID.3 interior panoramic roof
  • VW ID.3 boot open
  • VW ID.3 front right driving
  • VW ID.3 rear cornering
  • VW ID.3 interior dashboard
  • VW ID.3 back seats
  • VW ID.3 interior infotainment
  • VW ID.3 right driving
  • VW ID.3 front left driving
  • VW ID.3 front right driving
  • VW ID.3 rear right driving
  • VW ID.3 front right static
  • VW ID.3 rear left static
  • VW ID.3 interior front seats
  • VW ID.3 interior driver display
  • VW ID.3 interior pedals detail
  • VW ID.3 interior seat detail
  • VW ID.3 interior seat detail
  • VW ID.3 interior panoramic roof
  • VW ID.3 boot open
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Dan Jones
Published21 August 2023


What Car? says...

The VW ID 3 might sound like a new counterpart of R2D2 and C3PO in Star Wars, but it’s actually a car, and a very important one at that. You see, it's Volkswagen’s first model based on a bespoke electric car platform.

The ID 3 replaced the VW e-Golf as its family-sized choice for those with a green conscience. It's so important that the 3 in its name represents its position as the manufacturer's third major launch of all time, after the original Beetle and the ever-popular VW Golf.

Unlike the Golf, which has various engines and trim levels to choose from, the ID 3 is available in just two different flavours. Performance doesn’t vary all that much between them, but one has a larger battery capacity so it can go further on a single charge.

Whichever version you choose, your ID 3 has something in common with the Beetle, because the 'engine' – which in this case, of course, is an electric motor – sits at the back of the car, driving the rear wheels. That, and the fact that the ID 3’s battery is below the floor for a low centre of gravity, should help its cornering prowess.

All that sounds promising, but this isn't the only electric family car to choose from. For a start, there's the closely related Cupra Born (a former category winner at our Car of the Year Awards). Then there are cheaper rivals including the MG4 EV, the Nissan Leaf and the Renault Zoe plus more expensive models such as the Hyundai Kona Electric, the Kia Niro EV and the Tesla Model 3

To keep it competitive, the VW ID 3 has been given a mid-life facelift, which has given it revised styling and fixed (hopefully) some weak points. So, does that mean it should be the next car on your driveway? That’s what we’ll tell you in this review, as we rate it in important areas including performance, battery range, practicality and running costs.

When you’re ready to buy your next car, we could save you a bundle of cash if you search our free New Car Buying service. It's where you'll find some of the best new electric car deals.


The VW ID 3 is a remarkably well-rounded electric car, proving decent to drive, comfortable and even nippy in Pro Guise. It’s quite expensive, though, making it hard to justify over the Tesla Model 3 or the MG4 EV Long Range.

  • Loads of standard kit and safety equipment
  • Sprightly performance
  • Decent to drive
  • Iffy interior quality
  • Tesla Model 3 can use better charging network
  • Infotainment system needs some upgrades
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

Every VW ID 3 comes with a 150kW electric motor powering the rear wheels, and while performance is largely the same, the distance you’ll travel between charges depends on whether you go for the Pro 58kWh or the Pro S 77kWh.

With 201bhp, the Pro can sprint from 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds – quicker than the MG4 EV SE – while the heavier Pro S takes 7.9 seconds. Both feel quick enough off the line and make it easy to get up to motorway speeds without any issues. The thing is, the lower weight of the Pro means that it feels generally nippier around town.

Volkswagen ID.3 image
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Arguably more importantly, the Pro can travel up to 265 miles between charges, which is further than the Leaf and the Zoe but not as far as the Renault Megane E-Tech. Meanwhile, the Pro S has a longer range of 347 miles. That's further than any Niro EV and the entry-level Model 3, but not as far as the MG4 Extended Range.

Suspension and ride comfort

A heavy battery requires a stiff suspension set-up to support it, so don’t expect the ID 3 to offer Golf levels of ride comfort. The lighter Pro version is far from harsh, though, and manages to take most of the sting out of imperfections at speed. It only really gets a bit fidgety around town, especially over potholes.

The Pro S model is heavier and you can feel that as you drive along. Again, it's not uncomfortable, but it moves you around in your seat more than the Pro and gives a more pronounced thud as you drive over potholes. The firmness does mean it never feels floaty over undulations though.

You can add adaptive suspension to either version by ticking the Exterior Pack Plus option box, and that allows you to soften or stiffen the suspension through the driving modes. While it makes it feel noticeably firmer or softer, it doesn't really affect comfort. The softer Niro EV is comfier.

VW ID.3 rear cornering


With its light steering and excellent turning circle (10.2m – about the same as in the VW Up), manoeuvring the ID 3 around town is a breeze. Beyond the urban sprawl, the steering is accurate and sensibly geared, but it doesn't give much finger-tingling communication or weight build-up when cornering in the default Comfort driving mode. Sport mode adds a bit of useful extra heft to the steering.

Grip is decent, and for an everyday electric car designed to get you from A to B with little drama, the ID 3 handles very well indeed. There's more driver engagement than you’ll find in the Kona Electric and the Zoe.

It will twitch at the rear if you back off the accelerator abruptly mid corner or apply a bit too much power on the way out of a tight, damp bend, but a lighter non-electric hatchback – the Seat Leon for example – is far more entertaining to drive.

Noise and vibration

Even by electric car standards, the ID 3's motor and gearbox are ultra-mute, which is amazing around town but does mean you can hear everything else that's going on at speed. It generates a smattering of suspension and road noise, but loud wind noise – much of it whistling through the climate control vents – is the most noticeable breach of the peace.

The car stops smoothly enough when you’re driving carefully, which is always good. That's not something every electric car can do, because some regenerative braking systems are better than others (the Zoe, for example, has quite a snatchy brake pedal). You can turn up the regen effect up enough that the car slows down to a near stop when you lift off the accelerator, but there's no one-pedal driving setting, as there is on the Leaf and the Model 3.

The ID 3's brake pedal does have a very long travel, making emergency stops a bit unnerving. The Kona Electric is much better in that respect.

Driving overview

Strengths Very quiet as you drive along; quite fun to drive through corners; accurate steering

Weaknesses Brake pedal can be quite unnerving; 77kWh version feels heavy


The interior layout, fit and finish

Driving position and dashboard

The interior of the VW ID 3 has a futuristic feel without being so revolutionary that it’ll scare anyone with an acute fear of change. It's a spartan affair, with little more than a small but clear 5.3in display behind the steering wheel, which shows the speed, range and sat-nav instructions, and a rotary-style gear selector on the side. 

In terms of layout, the position of the driver’s seat in relation to the steering wheel and pedals is very good, leaving you sitting relaxed at the wheel. Height and reach adjustment for the wheel is standard. If you want front seats with adjustable lumbar support, you’ll need to splash out on the range-topping Pro S trim or add the optional Interior Comfort Pack though.

We will grumble at the lack of 'real' buttons (a problem in the related Born too) – all the controls are touch-sensitive. Worst of all, the temperature controls below the infotainment screen are not backlit, making them impossible to see at night (Volkswagen says lit ones will be introduced in 2024). Everything else is operated from the infotainment touchscreen. Proper physical buttons and knobs – as found in rival electric cars including the Niro EV, the Leaf and the Zoe – are so much easier to use.

Visibility, parking sensors and cameras

Seeing out of the front of the ID 3 is pretty easy overall, and its deep windscreen and slim front pillars afford you a largely unobstructed view of the road ahead. They're heavily angled though, so despite the large glass cut-out to reduce the size of your front blind-spot, taller individuals might find that they get in the way a little at T-junctions.

The rear pillars are thicker and the rear screen a little shallow, making it a bit harder to see what’s over your shoulder or out of the back. To make parking easier, front and rear parking sensors are fitted as standard. If you want a rear-view camera, you have to add it as an option. 

For increased visibility at night, you get full LED headlights with high-beam assist, and you can add matrix LED headlights as an option. The matrix versions can be left on full beam at all times without dazzling oncoming drivers.

VW ID.3 interior dashboard

Sat nav and infotainment

All ID 3s come with a 10.0in infotainment touchscreen, which is a similar size to many of its rivals, but quite a bit smaller than the 15.0in display in the Model 3. What’s more, the infotainment software is nothing like as slick as that rival’s. 

It looks good, but it’s all style over substance, proving laggy and confusingly lay out – the system in the Niro EV is far more straightforward. Next year, to hopefully fix the issues, VW is introducing a new infotainment system to the ID 3, which includes a larger 12.9in touchscreen and new software.

Until then, all models get a natural-speech voice control to call out commands to, but it's hit and miss whether it’ll do what you ask especially if you have noisy children in the car. Sat-nav is standard across the range, along with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring. Handily, that means you can bypass many of the infotainment system’s confusing menus.


Quality was once a VW byword, but in the past the ID 3 made it seem that it had taken a back seat in the company’s priorities. Fortunately, its 2023 mid-life facelift has improved on the original car, adding soft materials to pretty much every surface you’ll touch often.

Still, it doesn’t take much prodding around to find lots of materials that feel a bit cheap. The biggest culprit is the centre console, which is obviously made from cheap scratchy plastics. 

That’s disappointing when you consider that even the entry-level Pro version costs almost as much as the entry-level BMW 3 Series. Now, don’t get us wrong, the Tesla Model 3 isn’t exactly great when it comes to material and build quality, but it is better than the ID 3.

Interior overview

Strengths Good forward visibility; fundamentally sound driving position

Weaknesses Laggy and confusing infotainment system; disappointing material quality; fiddly touch-sensitive buttons

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Front space

There’s more than enough space in the front of the VW ID 3. If you’re six feet tall, or even a bit taller, you should have enough head and leg room.

There’s pretty good storage space available. A large chunk of that is in the centre console, which has various cubbies and cup-holders. The glovebox is a decent size, as are the door bins.

Rear space

The ID 3 is roughly the same length as the Golf and is about as roomy as the Golf in the back. There’s space for taller passengers to sit behind anyone equally tall without feeling squished, but there's not a lot of head or leg room going spare. For some context, the Kia Soul EV and the Model 3 are both roomier

Those in the middle seat get the rawest deal of the lot. Even those measuring just under six feet tall will find that the raised middle seat robs them of all head room. With three adults in the back, there won’t be much shoulder room to spare, but at least there’s a totally flat floor with no central tunnel. If you opt for the Pro S model with the 77kWh battery, you're actively discouraged from carrying three in the back, because there are only two rear seats.

Storage amenities in the rear are pretty sparse, with rear-seat occupants given smallish door bins to play with and nothing else.

VW ID.3 back seats

Seat folding and flexibility

There’s not a huge amount to report here. You get 60/40-split rear seats as standard, which are not as useful as 40/20/40 seats, but the addition of a ski hatch does give you more options for carrying longer loads with passengers.

There's no option of sliding or reclining rear seats, which you can get in a family SUV of an equivalent price.

Boot space

The ID 3 has a 385-litre boot, which is five litres bigger than the Golf’s, and is fine for fitting in a buggy, the weekly shopping or a couple of suitcases. The Leaf's boot is bigger and the Model 3’s is in a different league for cargo capacity.

The boot is a usefully square shape, making packing easier.

We’d suggest adding the optional height-adjustable boot floor, because it doesn’t cost very much but reduces the load lip and gives you a flat floor if the rear seats are folded. Better still, it provides somewhere to stow the charging cables without encroaching on boot space.

Practicality overview

Strengths Loads of boot space; lots of front head and leg room

Weaknesses Pro S only has four seats; rear head room is tight, especially in the middle

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

As a cash purchase, the cheapest VW ID 3 Pro will set you back about the same as the entry-level Niro EV and the top-spec MG4 EV Trophy Extended Range, but more than the Leaf and the Zoe. Meanwhile, the more expensive ID 3 Pro S costs almost as much as the Model 3.

As a company car, the ID 3 will save you a heap of cash over a petrol or diesel because electric car benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax is very low. The ID 3 should look after private buyers too, thanks to very slow predicted depreciation (strong resale values mean competitive PCP finance rates).

The ID 3 Pro can fast charge at up to 120kW and the Pro S 170kW. As a result, the Pro should charge from 5-80% in around 35 mins, while the faster charging Pro S should do the same charge in around 30 mins. On an 11kW public charger, the Pro will go from 0-100% in 6hr 15mins, while the Pro S will take 7hr 30mins. The Model 3 can charge even faster, and the Tesla Supercharger network is the best at the moment in terms of reliability and proliferation.

Equipment, options and extras

No matter which of the ID 3 versions you go for, you get plenty of standard kit to help justify the price tag. The entry-level Pro has 18in alloy wheels, wireless phone-charging, electrically heated and folding side mirrors, heated windscreen washer jets, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control and dual-zone air conditioning. 

Upgrading to the Pro S trim gets you the 77kWh battery, 19in alloy wheels and upgraded leatherette seats with electric adjustment. 

If you want more kit, there are plenty of options packs you can add, including the Exterior Pack Plus and a heat pump that makes heating the interior more efficient.

VW ID.3 interior infotainment


The ID 3 had a middling performance in the 2022 What Car? Reliability Survey and finished below the MG ZS EV and the Model 3.

As a brand, Volkswagen came 22nd out of 32 manufacturers ranked in the survey. That was below Hyundai, Kia, MG and Tesla, but above Nissan and Peugeot.

VW gives you a three years/60,000 miles warranty. That’s fairly average in the class, but doesn’t come close to Kia's seven-year cover. The ID 3's battery is guaranteed to maintain at least 70% of its energy capacity for eight years and 100,000 miles.

Safety and security

There's an extensive suite of safety kit fitted as standard, including automatic emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist monitoring, lane-keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control, a driver fatigue monitor and traffic-sign recognition, which shows the speed limit on the driver display. 

The ID 3 scored the full five stars when it was tested by the safety experts at Euro NCAP in 2020. The Niro EV with a safety pack scored five stars, but that was in 2022 when the tests were tougher, so it’s impossible to directly compare. Likewise, the Model 3 holds five stars, but they date back to 2019. 

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Costs overview

Strengths Lots of standard equipment; loads of safety kit; competitive resale values

Weaknesses Pro S version is expensive; reliability could be better; average warranty


  • The official range of the entry-level Pro, which has a 58kWh battery, is 265 miles. For the Pro S, with its larger 77kWh battery, it's 347 miles.

  • No. While the ID 3 electric car is similar to the VW Golf in many ways, including size, it doesn’t replace it, and they are sold side by side. From 2014 to 2020, Volkswagen sold an electric version of the Golf, called the VW e-Golf.

  • If you go for the entry-level ID 3 Pro, you can expect to pay about the same as the Kia Niro EV or the top-spec MG4 EV Trophy Extended Range. If you want the Pro S, with its 77kWh battery, you can expect to pay almost as much as the Tesla Model 3.

  • If you're using an 11kW home charger the Pro version should take about six hours and 15 minutes to charge up fully, while the Pro S (which has a bigger battery capacity) should take about seven and a half hours. A three-pin wall plug will take more than 30 hours.

At a glance
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Target Price from £35,700
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RRP price range £35,700 - £40,930
Number of trims (see all)3
Number of engines (see all)1
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)electric
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / 60000 miles
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £71 / £82
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £143 / £164
Available colours