This car can be named as one of the main newsmakers in 2020. VW ID.3 turned out to be special project for its manufacturer and should turn the tide to electrical vehicles. Nevertheless, things went not as smooth as one can imagine and I had a chance to test-drive new car only in September. Now it should be available for purchase, and these are actual cars that you will get after ordering it. Why I am so sure? Well, read on and you will see.
Here you can read our previous test-drive with Defender.
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VW ID.3 was touted as something truly iconic for German carmaker. It is the first step of a complex transition process where all diesel and petrol cars will vanish completely. Well, it is also an answer to Tesla who has been playing solo on the market for some time. Angela Merkel attended opening of the ID.3 factory and car was expected to become a serious rival to american EVs. Nevertheless, first concerns started to arise in the beginning of this year when we received first news about problems with software.
Next chapter was first test-drives when even German magazines were seriously surprised with quality level. Well, all this makes this car even more interesting to check in person. I saw several prototypes in Prague, but now finally there were several commercial cars which came on their own (!!!) from Germany. Somehow I was lucky to catch them during trip to Prague. Well, now let’s talk in detail.
I wouldn’t say that design is quite controversial here. It is calm and VW decided to pick hatchback style for its first EV. It doesn’t remind of current Golf, which looks lower and a bit more sporty, but you will recognize Volkswagen immediately. Sharp headlights are connected with thin line in the middle. I like that designers decided to stay in familiar lines and avoid extra-futuristic look. In my opinion that’s what makes EV a bit more difficult to adopt, because people just want simple design.
Many promotional shots show ID.3 with white steering wheel and it looked like the only option for this car. Well, no worries, there is also black version which should be better in everyday use. I know, we all use hand cleaning solutions now, but still white color steering wheel is a firm “no” from me. As for its shape – everything is pretty much standard. Maybe it could have been a bit thinner, but it is more of a question to your preferences.
Whole dashboard might be minimalist, but I wonder why designers decided to put this small display in front of driver. Thick frame doesn’t add modern feeling and it is glossy in all versions. Well, heritage of classic cars, I guess. They are easy to read, but their size could have been bigger. Whole UI responsiveness is nice and I didn’t encounter any issue here. Some features are still locked and will be updated by official dealer in January.
Rear row is ok, I was able to sit behind front seat adjusted for my height. There is no middle armrest, door parts have glossy inserts right in place where you hand will be. Be ready for scratched and greasy panels here. I have to mention small rear window because it somehow reduces amount of light in the back. Some people might like it, some won’t.
Rear door opens with handle made out of VW sign, nothing surprising here for hardcore fans. Moreover, you can notice that top shelf is made out of hard material and doesn’t fold away. It just lifts together with door. Frankly speaking, I am not sure whether it is good or bad, so final decision is up to you.
Frankly speaking, I didn’t expect huge trunk here. ID.3 is approximately the same as Golf, so it is somewhat similar in the rear section too with few exceptions. Moreover, whole space under floor is taken by batteries, so you have small compartment for some items. No, power cable doesn’t fit in there, unfortunately, so it will be in the trunk all the time. On the good side it is worth noting that you will get here several hooks and 12V socket, which might come handy in some cases.
Trunk door has sharp cutouts around taillights and it looks weird once you open it. It could have been solid panel around lights, but designers decided to add such touch to ID.3.
First let’s remind ourselves about power numbers here. Technical specs show peak power equal to 200hp, but “normal” level should be somewhere around 95hp as it is written in specs sheet. It is rear wheel drive, what is also unusual for German cars.
ID.3 is a classic EV, so there are no petrol additions, and start from zero goes in full silence. Nothing special for these who already have some experience with electrical vehicles. Nevertheless, VW was made to add sound on speeds up to 30 km/h. EU laws require such feature for extra safety on the road. Problem is that sound doesn’t go away when you accelerate. In the beginning it is artificial, but then in slowly transforms into real one. On high speeds it is a bit strange feeling when you hear this humming noise around you. It gets even louder when you break from high speeds. This sound is futuristic, and it is just matter of getting used to.
Surprisingly, whole car is not that tight inside and it is easy to look around from the driver’s place. The only thing that is not that helpful – front triangles in a-pillars, which eat a bit of view in corners. Acceleration is not crazy even with the full battery. I tried to floor it several times, but it is just normal calm process. Steering feels fine in corners, but breaks got me concerned a bit. I wonder why VW decided to use drum brakes in car which costs more than normal Golf. :/ On this point we can move to issues with new ID.3.
Drum brakes would be acceptable in some Logan or Polo, but here… New car is not cheap and I would expect to see modern tech in all spots. Let’s not forget that this is RWD car. It is interesting to hear official explanation behind such “feature”…
Charging socket is placed in “classic” spot, so be ready to park with rear end first and jump around with cable. I would prefer to see it in front behind VW sign, such position would be easier to access from both sides. Correct me if I am wrong, but such design is a bit more useful for EVs. Oh, let’s not forget about the fact that car displayed around 260km power reserve on full charge. In other words, you will be opening this charging port quite often.
Open the bonnet and you will see interesting picture. Components are fit into tight composition and you can barely fit a palm between them. Take a look at both sides and you will be surprised with welding quality. All cars in our test had this thing, and it looks horrible. I would accept it from some new carmaker, but Volkswagen…which makes cars for almost century…seriously??? Let’s hope it will be fixed soon.
Assembly quality don’t end with bonnet because interior bits look a bit strange too. For example, how about pillars without plastic covers. I guess it is a special feature which should help you remember color of your car. Some panels have sharp angles exposed outside and fitment in some spots is so bad that you can fit finger in between. Small displays don’t add to this and you left with interior which is worse than in current Golf and Octavia. It is weird to be honest, and I am looking forward to see Japanese rivals – Mazda and Honda which should cost around the same.
In Czech Republic this car costs around 40000 EUR and goes higher in better packages. You don’t get any benefits for buying this car, only free parking in city center and free access to highways. From the other side you get attached to charging stations and can’t even think about long trips. Even worse is that you can buy Superb IV for the same money and have the same benefits. Sounds strange to me, such problem might have influence on final sales though. From the other hand, ID.3 buyers get benefits in Germany, where EV purchase receives bonus from the government. Still, amount of rivals in that price range is too damn high in my opinion.
VW ID.3 – Worth Buying
Frankly speaking VW ID.3 surprised me… I expected to see fully finished product with classic German quality, but instead we get something worse and more expensive than Golf. To be fair, all features can be fixed in no time, especially with VW power. Nevertheless, it is still strange to get such simple problems in a new car.
I wouldn’t buy it for my own money, especially at current price level and available perks for EVs. As it was mentioned above, Superb IV offers way better quality for the same price and gets to enjoy the same benefits in the city. ID.3 might get attention of highly eco-conscious people, but I doubt that it will attract common buyer searching for a new car. Now let’s wait for ID.4 because it looks way better in terms of features and overall design. 🙂