Volkswagen ID3 is a compact EV. the successor to the e-Golf, and the first of VW’s model range based on the MEB platform dedicated to electric cars. 3 in the name is the segment designation with one reserved for the A-segment and two for the B or Supermini segment. I also heard a marketing spin that the ID3 is VW’s third breakthrough model after the beetle and the golf. because it starts the era of mass e-mobility.
You can already order the ID4 crossover which is slightly smaller than the Skoda Enyaq, and once again will have a strange rivalry between similar models from different brands belonging to the same group.
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To make the e-golf happen, the engineers had to stuff all the electric bits and bobs in to a car designed for an internal combustion engine. sure, you can dump the engine and the fuel tank and swap them for an electric motor and some batteries. but that’s not an optimum solution. it’s better to design a new layout on a new platform and build around that. and here we have the ID3.
It would be difficult to add more batteries to the e-golf. denser batteries yes, but not bigger. in the case of the MEB, there is space between the front and rear wheels to add or remove some batteries depending on the range the client needs. and you can add the all-wheel-drive as well.
Enough about the platform! now let’s talk ID3 which is 426 centimeters long, just two centimeters shorter than the market golf. the Volkswagen ID3 is 2 centimeters wider than the Volkswagen e-Golf, and 8 centimeters higher. the wheelbase is a whopping 15 centimeters longer than in the e-Golf at 2765mm. it’s as long as in the Hyundai Santa Fe.
The ID3 looks modern. just like a concept model that runs away from the show floor, the driver is greeted from a distance with a smile. well, cars don’t have faces. 🙂 and this one doesn’t have a grill either. anyway, the car kind of smiles at you like those Japanese robot dogs. it took me several attempts to get the car to do the welcome smile the VW press office was unable to tell me what conditions must be met for it to work.
A quick look under the bonnet, where there is some electric stuff. but not the motor. the electric motor is under the boot floor. the Volkswagen ID3 has a 204 horsepower motor. in this car, unfortunately, we don’t have a frunk to store charging cables.
But moving the electric motor to the back made it possible to turn the wheels more and the ID3 has a tighter turning radius than the golf. 5.1 meters versus almost five and a half meters. this is the kind of result you get in small city cars like the fiat panda or the fiat 500. and in the supermini segment, only the Ford fiesta can make such a tight turn.
I like the VW ID3’s futuristic design. but as far as living with it is concerned, I’m not a fan of these diamond indents on the bumper as they collect dirt and it’s hard to clean obviously. also, this plastic element on the boot is a bug drop.
The sideline is clean and uncomplicated. the rear is dominated by a black tailgate. half of which is made of piano black plastic which is already scratched. it’s not visible from a distance. but when you look up close, I’d get this protected before you leave the showroom there are ways to do it. the tailgate release lever is under the VW logo also where the backup camera is located now to keep the black element one piece and avoid the compliance tail lamps inside, the designers decided to make these cutouts around the tail lamps.
The boot has 385 liters volume, and it’s just a smidge larger than in the gulf. the double floor is missing although I have seen it on the pre-production model before the 2019 Frankfurt motor show. there are a couple of shopping bag hooks as well as anchor points to secure luggage. just next to the bumper is a narrow but deep cubby where you can store your charging cable, hopefully not when the boot is fully loaded and you need it.
When new generations of existing models come to market, carmakers often boast about an extra couple of centimeters of legroom in the back. thanks to a couple of centimeters extra longer wheelbase. now that’s something you could miss, because of the way the front seat is set but here you’ll notice the extra 15 centimeters wheelbase versus the golf the legroom is very generous.
The rear seats are mounted higher than in a regular hatchback. this translates into better visibility to the front and the sides but taller passengers enjoying more legroom will not have more headroom. there are good enough door pockets, 2 USB C ports, you can store your phone in pockets on top of the front seats, there is no ac air vent but there is an armrest with some cup holders and a ski hatch as well Isofix mounting points are on the side seats. as well as one on the front passenger seat.
Having so much space in the back means you could have a rear-facing child seat in the front as well as another one in the back and have two adults sitting here and here supervising both kids.
Going back to the interior design it is minimalist and modern, I like the off-white upholstery available on some trims although I’m sure I’d change my mind after a couple of months. storage, large door pockets, small glove box decent size storage between the seats, the seats get captain armrests adjusted with a push of a button so you can place them exactly where you need them. in the center storage, there is a couple of USB-C ports as well as a movable or removable divider. there are also two large cup holders and a net for some smaller items.
There is a small display in front of the driver with just the speed adaptive cruise control readout as well as sat-nav of directions. satellite directions are also repeated on the IQ light panel under the windscreen. this is also where things like collision warning lights appear. you can turn it off if you don’t like it.
There is a central display with satnav and car settings. there is no android auto on the first edition model. I expect it will come with a software update and boy will there be updates. software problems were widely discussed by the German media. also new owners report some random errors like adaptive cruise control shutting off. I had an airbag error appear and disappear clients choosing the first edition with augmented reality hud have to wait until q1 2021 before this function will be delivered in a software update.
It all kind of works but kind of works is not something you want to hear when you’re considering the purchase of a breakthrough model that starts the era of mass electromobility. everything is touch operated including the hazard light switch, which you can trip by accident when operating the screen above it.
I get the impression as if the designers didn’t care much for physical interaction with the car’s interface. for example, instead of turning on the heated steering wheel, you can just say to the car my hands are cold, or instead of looking for the airflow settings you can say my feet are cold and sometimes the system will understand. same thing with the satnav voice input where you need to know the entire address and say it in the correct order. there is no context search despite the car reminding you all the time it is online when you start it.
Speaking of starting the car, there is an on-off button down here. but the car is ready to go as soon as you open it .press the brake, put the car in reverse or the drive, because there is no gear as such, and yeah you’re ready to go.
The ID3 has great soundproofing and it is very comfortable in the city. I’m isolated from other noises. it’s when I reach about 90 kilometers per hour when I start hearing wind noise around the a-pillars. this is not a car for fast driving. more about that in a moment.
The suspension is compliant enough to smooth out most bumps unless you hit a really big pothole you won’t feel the 1600 kilograms this car weighs. almost 500 kilograms are the batteries thanks to having them on the floor the ID3 has a low center of gravity. which most of the time makes this car good around the corners.
Most of the time because the ID3 in its current form is not made for people who like to drive fast. and tighter bands will trigger the ESP which you cannot turn off well sure you can but that would require some sort of a hack through one of these OB2 bricks. under normal circumstances, there is no drifting shame because the ID3 is rear-wheel drive.
Volkswagen promises the pro performance model with the 58-kilowatt hour batteries will accelerate from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in 7.3 seconds. I checked and this is what I achieved in comfort and sport mode 80 to 120 kilometers per hour takes just about 5 seconds. unfortunately driving like this or even above 90 kilometers per hour quickly kills your range.
The Volkswagen ID3 can be ordered with 45 kWh, 58 kWh, or 77 kWh batteries. the first edition comes with the middle battery capacity. you can already order the 77-kilowatt hour version. while the base battery model will be available in 2021.
With 58-kilowatt hour batteries, the WLTP range is 420 kilometers without going into the net, and in total capacity, you’d have to achieve 14-kilowatt hours per 100 kilometers. during the first couple of days with the ID3, I averaged between 17 and 19-kilowatt hours per 100 kilometers. only when I got used to the car I got it down to about 16. but in the city in comfort mode with recuperation on. I didn’t use eco mode as in the car as it kills all the fun.
Get out on the motorway, and you’re up to 20-kilowatt hours per 100 kilometers which means you’re not going to get even 300 kilometers range. because of my test calendar, I wasn’t able to do a real live range test this time. but my results seem to be in line with what the first edition users are getting.
Technology and Safety Options
I tested this car in mid-October with daytime temperature below 10 degrees celsius, and with intermittent rain. so the heater the wipers the lights were on. by the way the ID3 is so intelligent, I didn’t even have to use the defogger the windows never up. an observation regarding visibility and this is specific to my height, and resulting driving position the a-pillar perfectly obstructs visibility at junctions crossings and in tighter bends. my girlfriend who is much shorter than me, says she sees perfectly through the corner window check visibility during a test drive.
Adaptive cruise control works well, it reads the speed limits and adapts the speed seamlessly. the lane assists though works too late in my opinion.
Recuperation. besides the standard d mode, there is also a B mode for regenerative braking. yes, the car will slow down and the brake lights will come on. but it’s not the kind of strong braking you get in the BMW i3, the mini e, or the Nissan Leaf. no one-pedal driving in the ID3. also, you have to remember to turn the recuperation on. yes, it stays on when you’re back from the reverse. but when you restart the car it’s back in D.
I get the impression VW couldn’t make up their mind whether to make a modern or an inoffensive car. on one hand, everything is touch operated and on the other hand, you don’t even get proper recuperation.
There is a 100-kilowatt rapid charging. most of the EVs I reviewed so far had 50 kilowatts charging with notable exceptions being the Porsche Taycan up to 150 kilowatts. the Mercedes-Benz EQC up to 110 kilowatts and the Kia e soul up to 77 kilowatts. with a fast enough charger, you can recharge your Volkswagen ID3 in just over half an hour, that’s a quick trip to the grocery store.
Of course, frequent rapid charging is not good for the battery life, if possible it’s better to use a type 2 or even a home plug. yes, it will take much longer it all depends on whether you can have a wall box or an ordinary socket installed in your garage. but even if you can’t charge it at home the id3 is a city car and the 300, or 400 kilometers range means you should be fine making a charging detour once a week.
The Volkswagen ID3 prices started at 35,600 euro, for the non-first edition 58 kilowatt-hour battery model. the 77-kilowatt model starts at 41,000 euro. the first edition units started at 39,000 euro with 58 kilowatts hour battery pricing for the 45-kilowatt hour battery models will start around 30,000 euro those will come with 50-kilowatt charging.
Video Credit Goes to Marek Drives
A cool EV with futuristic and minimalist design, have used modern technology to make your ride safe and enjoyable.
- Well Equipped with Features
- High Tech Interior
- Good Interior Space
- A Quite High Price Tag