Expected for many months, the Volkswagen ID.3 is finally available in dealerships. Has the German group succeeded in its bet with this new electric car? The answer in our essay.
5 years after the diesel affair and 4 years after the brand’s presentation of the first ID concept in Paris, the Volkswagen ID.3 is finally here! Presented as a “new chapter” in the history of the manufacturer, the one that succeeds the current e-Golf of a global offensive by the German group in the electric car segment. After a first grip at the end of 2019 and a Live Video, we were able to get behind the wheel of the compact for a more complete test in the Paris region.
The dimensions of a Golf, the spaciousness of a Passat
On the design side, Volkswagen has chosen to give its ID.3 a specific design that the next models in the range will inherit. While everyone will form their own opinion, some will regret the more sculpted lines of the Golf it replaces.
With 4.26 m in length, 1.81 m in width and 1.55 m in height, the Volkswagen ID.3 is very close to its cousin. The use of a dedicated electric platform, however, has enabled Volkswagen to optimize the integration of the various components and increase the wheelbase to 2.77 m, the equivalent of that of a Passat. In addition to being able to accommodate large batteries more easily, this also helps to maximize the habitability on board. At the rear, the older ones are comfortably seated with plenty of knee room and good headroom. While he will not be hampered by a central tunnel, the middle passenger will however have to deal with a bit hard upholstery, much less comfortable for long journeys.
Offering 385 liters, the boot volume is almost identical to that offered on a Golf. Folding in two parts, the rear seat also includes a ski hatch. When folded, it allows the volume to be increased to over 1200 liters. But be careful, the floor is not completely flat.
VW ID.3VW Golf 8Length4.261 m4.28 mWidth 1.809 m1.790 mHeight1.5691.46 mWheelbase2.77 m2.63 mBox385 l380 l
150 kW of power and 58 kWh of batteries
The Volkswagen ID.3 is the group’s first model built on the basis of the new MEB platform. If it will soon be entitled to other technical configurations, especially in terms of the battery, it is the intermediate level that we were able to test with this 1st limited series.
Integrated on the rear axle, the electric motor develops 150 kW (204 hp). It is coupled with a battery offering 58 kWh of net capacity and announcing more than 400 km of autonomy. It can be recharged in 6 to 7 hours via an 11 kW wallbox or to 80% in 30 minutes via a 100 kW Combo fast terminal.
In terms of quality of materials, the compact appears a notch below the Golf. Seeking to limit the number of physical controls as much as possible, Volkswagen has opted for a simple and uncluttered interior. A large part of the settings has thus been entrusted to a large touch screen. Sitting in the center of the dashboard and slightly oriented towards the driver, it gives access to all of the car’s settings. A few sensitive buttons remain, however, especially for adjusting the air conditioning without having to manipulate the screen.
Behind the wheel, the instrumentation is rather modest. Limited to 5.3 inches, it simply displays the essential information. The battery level display takes the form of a battery-shaped gauge supplemented by an estimate in kilometers of the remaining range. If you want to access a percentage value, you will have to go to the “recharge” menu on the main screen. Not really practical!
On the Max finish of our test model, the package is rounded off with a panoramic sunroof, adjustable via the touchscreen, and a head-up display.
Software still in beta
Beyond the introduction of the MEB platform and new aesthetic codes dedicated to the I.D range, the Volkswagen ID.3 is also the first to integrate the manufacturer’s new operating system.
Called upon to equip all models designed on the platform, this software solution gave Volkswagen teams a hard time and explains part of the delay in the launch of this ID.3. In use, the controls are responsive with ergonomics not unlike that of the iPhone. However, we found a few bugs during our test. For example, it was impossible to adjust the air conditioning when we left and we had to “reboot” the system by restarting the car. Another disappointment: the absence of Android Auto and Apple Car Play devices, which have become essential for all connected geeks.
This software solution is not set in stone, however, and may benefit from remote updates. Expected in early 2021, an update should notably introduce compatibility with Android Auto and Apple Car Play. Further optimizations will be carried out over time thanks to the work carried out by Volkswagen teams but also to data sent by the growing fleet of vehicles in circulation.
The operation of this ID.3 is similar to other electric cars on the market. Selectable via a steering wheel control, different driving modes allow you to play on the performance and fuel consumption of the compact. In addition to the classic Eco, Comfort and Sport modes, ID.3 also offers an “individual” mode. Customizable via the on-board computer, it allows you to configure the performance according to your wishes. On the regeneration part, Volkswagen is going to the simplest. No multi-level device or steering wheel paddle system: the ID.3 is content with a simple “B” mode. Activated via the stalk located to the right of the steering wheel, this slightly increases the intensity of the engine brake, which can then go up to 0.3 g. In practice, the system turns out to be much less efficient than those of other electric cars. In the last km / h the ID.3 “ramp”. It is up to the user to apply the brake pedal to bring it to a complete stop.
In town, the Volkswagen compact behaves like a real toy. Displayed at 10.2 m, the turning radius is exceptional and is similar to that of the small Up (9.8 m). At the rear, visibility is not exceptional, but the reversing camera and parking sensors greatly facilitate maneuvering.
On country roads, this ID.3 takes full advantage of a design around the battery. Mounted on 20-inch wheels, the ID.3 sticks to the road despite weighing 1,800 kilos. In terms of comfort, the German compact is a real living room. The suspensions erase the slightest roughness of the road while the 150 kW engine offers both frank and vigorous acceleration. Without matching the performance of a Model 3 SR, which completes the exercise in 5.6 s, this ID.3 accelerates from 0 to 100 km / h in 7.3 seconds. More than enough to meet daily needs and ensure safe passing.
On the motorway, we appreciate the various driving assistance devices. Automatic sign reading, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and front assist are therefore part of the standard equipment. On the Max finish of our test model, there is also a semi-autonomous device. Called Travel Assist, it keeps you on track with a philosophy similar to that of the Tesla Autopilot.
250 to 400 km of real autonomy
In terms of consumption, this ID.3 remains more or less in the standard of the models of the same segment. On a first part of the journey of 279 kilometers mainly made up of national and departmental roads, we consumed an average of 17 kWh / 100 km. Note that our model was mounted on 20-inch wheels with an approved WLTP value of 409 km. We would probably have done better on the entry-level 18-inch range, which has a theoretical range of 424 km.
On the motorway, consumption is naturally higher. With the governor engaged at 120-130 km / h, our average was around 22-23 kWh over the few tens of kilometers that allowed us to return to Paris. Taking into account the 58 kWh battery in our test model, we can therefore expect an actual range of around 250 to 270 km. A value that should easily exceed 300 km in mixed use and approach 400 km in urban use with a light foot on the accelerator pedal.
In fast charging, the performance is quite good. Arrived with an 11% charged battery at the Ionity station in Chartres, we were able to recover 28 kWh of energy in 20 minutes. Established at 84 kW, the average power is quite close to the theoretical 100 kW announced by our test model. For recharging, we used the WeCharge badge provided by Volkswagen. By subscribing to a subscription, this allows the rate of the Ionity network to be reduced to 0.31 € / minute against 0.79 € in normal times.
When the ID3 is charging, the on-board computer indicates the remaining time
A rather high-end price
In its 1st limited series and with the top-of-the-range Max finish, our test model is marketed from € 49,990 excluding bonus. That’s almost the price of a Tesla Model 3 which, in its standard range plus version, starts from € 49,600 excluding bonus.
On the classic versions, the gap is widening between the Volkswagen ID.3 and its Californian rival. Count € 37,990 excluding bonus for an already well-equipped entry-level ID.3 58 kWh. Note that the heat pump remains a chargeable option () regardless of the version chosen.
This ID.3 will not be satisfied with just one battery. Two other configurations are expected. Intended for heavy riders, the 77 kWh version will provide more than 540 km of autonomy. Reserved for the only high-end Tour finish, it is marketed from € 48,990 and will begin deliveries at the end of 2020. More economical, the ID.3 45 kWh will be limited to around 300 km of autonomy. Expected in 2021, it should drop below the 30,000 euros mark once the ecological bonus has been deducted.
Assessment of the test
The livability The Travel Assist function, very easy to use The maneuverability and road holding The access price, at € 37,990 excluding bonus The price of the high-end version The lack of battery level in percentage on the instrumentation The bugs in the software part