Is this the most important car Volkswagen has launched since the Golf in 1974? asks Geraldine Herbert
Why you will like it? Volkswagen’s Golf-sized family hatch is the first in a family of ID-badged next-generation electric cars.
Is it a looker? Gone are the days when electric cars looked weird and worthy the ID 3 is a very stylish good looking hatchback that actually looks far better in reality than photos might suggest.
How smart is it? You can simply approach the ID3 with your key in your pocket and the doors open. Once inside just select drive and off you go.
What’s it like inside? Once behind the wheel its all very clean and high tech and a 10.5-inch touchscreen controls all the major functions. We found there was an irritating lag at times waiting for the touchscreen to respond and on occasions the software proved frustratingly glitchy. Front and back there is plenty of room and an abundance of storage space plus the seating position is good. The boot which holds 385 litres is actually bigger than that in the Golf.
What’s it like to drive? Despite its weight, it’s nimble with plenty of grip and more than enough oomph when you need it. Responsive steering and taut suspension combine to make it fun to drive. Powering the ID.3 is a 150kW motor linked to a 58kWh battery that gives a promised 400 km range. While its unlikely you will achieve the actual 400 km of range what you do get is a reasonably reliable range that is more than usable for the average commute. If you plug the ID 3 into a 7.4kW charger it takes about 9 hours and 30 mins to charge to full from empty. On one of the 50kW Fast chargers, you will get to 80% in around 50 mins.
How safe is it? Reassuringly the ID.3 scored top marks when tested by the EuroNCAP. In fact is achieved 87% for occupant protection and 89% for children specifically. It is crammed with safety technology including automatic emergency braking, lane assist and front assist all fitted as standard. We particularly like the new centre airbag that deploys between the seats to avoid potential head contact between two passengers during a side impact.
Will it break the bank? From January prices for the new entry-level Life will start at €32,157 and comes with 18” Steel Wheels, “Discover Pro” Navigation System, Natural voice control, Wireless phone charging, Heated front seats and steering wheel, Adaptive Cruise Control and Folding mirrors as standard. A new and crucially cheaper entry level model will arrive around the middle of next year. Meanwhile upgrade to one of the other six new trims Business, Family, Style, Tech, Max and Tour – to gain a host of goodies. All except the Tour model use the 58kW battery pack whereas the Tour is powered by a 77kWh battery pack giving a range of 542km and is priced at €43,350.
Our Rating? There’s no shortage of new electric cars this year and VW’s ID3 is one of the most impressive. Let down slightly by the glitchy software of the interior it is a seriously appealing take on an electric family car and is a great all-rounder. We reckon though there are more important VWs on the way.
The Good: Small turning circle; Lots of space in the compact car.
The Gripes: Pricey as you start to move up the range, Glitchy software
LIST PRICE: €32,157
BOOT SPACE: 385 litres
BATTERY AND RANGE: 58kWh battery, range of (410-424km)
25th November 2020