2023 Volkswagen ID.3 new car review

Volkswagen’s best electric car will take the longest to arrive.

The German brand has been selling its dedicated electric cars in Europe for years but they have yet to reach Australian shores.

That’s about to change as four models are due to arrive over the next 18 months, starting with the ID.4 and ID.5 electric SUVs. They’ll be followed by the ID.Buzz people-mover and the ID.3 hatchback due in early 2025.

The ID.3 is effectively the electric version of the popular Golf hatchback.

It’s roughly the same length, width and height and has a similar driving character.

Overseas Volkswagen sells two versions; one with a 58kWh battery delivering a driving range of up to 426km and another with a 77kWh battery that boosts the driving range to 546km.

Both use a single electric motor that produces 150kW and 310Nm and drives the rear wheels.

The batteries can be juiced up from 10 to 80 per cent in about 20 minutes using a DC fast charger. When hooked up to an 11kW home charger the battery can both go from 0-100 per cent overnight.

Volkswagen has just released an updated version of the ID.3 in Europe.

It’s too early for local prices but it would likely be priced close to the mechanically similar Cupra Born, which costs about $62,500 drive-away.

It’s a cute little hatchback with smooth lines, a happy face and cheerful rear end.

There is LED lighting front and back, while aerodynamic 19-inch alloy wheels add a bit of pop.

One of the biggest improvements from the update is the fit and finish of the interior.

Where harsh plastics and poor quality surfaces adorned previous versions of the ID.3 this current model is more in line with VW’s other offerings.

The quality inside is excellent with soft-touch materials covering most surfaces along with a spattering of gloss black highlights.

The seats are wrapped in a mixture of faux-leather and suede material and both the front seats are heated, with armrests that fold up if not needed. A faux leather-wrapped steering wheel is also heated.

There is ample interior storage space including multiple nooks and crannies in the centre console.

Multiple USB-C charging ports and a wireless charging pad will keep your devices fully charged.

A 10-inch central touchscreen is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and it comes with built in satnav.

There is a small digital driver’s display attached to the steering wheel and a head-up display that projects vital information onto the windscreen ahead of the driver. The display features augmented reality satnav directions.

The lack of physical climate controls is annoying, as users have to dive into the touch screen, which can be fiddly when on the move.

Back-seat room is plentiful, but the top-spec Pro S we sampled only has two seats in the rear. The cheaper model has a more conventional bench seat.

It’s exceptionally quiet on all road conditions including on high-speed Autobahns, alpine roads and cobblestone European streets. The range is impressive in the real world.

The suspension is on the softer side, which makes for a more supple ride as it soaks up bumps and road imperfections easily. Its lower ride height also means it doesn’t lean as much through corners as taller SUVs tend to do.

It has extremely short front and rear overhangs with the wheels pushed to all four corners of the cars, which helps liberate interior space but also makes it feel planted and stable on the road.

There are multiple driving modes such as Sport and Comfort that alter the vehicle’s characteristics.

The ID.3 isn’t as sporty as its Cupra sibling that is currently on sale in Australia, but it’s a comfortable and enjoyable small hatchback to drive.

The steering is accurate and well weighted, which makes spirited driving more enjoyable.

It’s not fast but there is enough oomph off the mark and it has no problem overtaking at high speeds.

The ID.3’s long range, practical cabin and what should be a relatively affordable price tag would make it ideal for Australia’s mostly urban population.

VOLKSWAGEN ID.3 PRO S

PRICE About $60,000 (est.)

MOTOR Single electric motor, 150kW and 310Nm

RANGE 546km

SPARE Repair kit

LUGGAGE 385 litres

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