Does the VW ID.3 have what it takes to become a best-seller?
VW is ready to take on the electric car world
If there is one European car manufacturer that has the proper resources to take on Tesla and dominate the electric mobility world, it has got to be Volkswagen. The German giant may have started this endeavor some years ago with the e-Up! and e-Golf, but the proposition was never optimal as they were cars that were initially developed to host an internal combustion engine instead of batteries. However, Volkswagen unveiled in 2019 their first-ever car built exclusively on an electric platform. Its name is ID.3 and we got to drive it for two weeks. It may well become the best-selling EV in the world, but is the ID.3 actually good?
The manufacturer has some great plans for its new car. Just like the Beetle and Golf respectively paved the way for the automobile on their own time, the ID.3 wants to revolutionize the way we drive today. The idea is to offer an affordable, practical, and efficient alternative to what is currently on the market. In Switzerland, prices start at CHF 33'200.- (£25'900) for the base model that comes with a 45 kWh battery. Autonomy seems to still be the main issue with electric cars, but in this field, the ID.3 performs rather well with a maximum range of 350 km (217 miles). Customers can also opt for a 58 kWh or a 77 kWh, and the latter is capable of doing over 500 km (310 miles) on a single charge.
I was indeed pretty amazed to discover how precise the autonomy actually was. When it tells you it can do 100km, it will actually do 100km. In fact, sometimes the ID.3 performed even better than expected in terms of range. There are several modes to choose from like Eco that will turn down the high energy consumers like the AC to optimize the autonomy, all the way to a Sport mode. Wait what? A Sport mode? Well, the VW's motor is in the back which makes it a rear-wheel drive car. Actually the one and only RWD in the brand's catalog. Still, I'll cut to the chase, the ID.3 is not a sports car but it still drives surprisingly well.
It's quite fun actually. The steering is precise, you get a good feel of the road, and the 210 horsepower of the 58 kWh battery that our car had were quite responsive. A little disappointment comes from the "B" mode that should allow you to have a "one-pedal" drive. The regeneration is too low and you actually have to press the brakes more often than you'd think. It was definitely better in the Polestar 2. However, I also understand that Volkswagen doesn't want to shake up regular drivers too much by adding features that are a little bit too "outside-of-the-box". Therefore, just like in any other VW, the ID.3 is really simple to drive and all the commands are easy to understand quickly. Everything seems pretty straightforward so far, but we haven't talked about the looks and the interior. I'll start with the easy one, the exterior design. In my opinion, it may not be the cleanest-looking car that ever came out of Wolfsburg, but at least it's interesting. It has a little touch of futurism that is very welcome and it still pretty much looks like a car. All in all, I think the design works, but then again looks are subjective.
Now we get to the tricky part. Don't get me wrong, the cabin is very spacious and is as roomy as a Passat, even though the car is slightly shorter than a Golf, but there is something missing. The thing is that the ID.3's interior is very...naked. You've got your regular steering wheel with your gear selector and digital dashboard attached to it. Then you have your infotainment system on the center console. Nothing more, nothing less. There are a bunch of cupholders and storage compartments that may bring extra practicality, but the cabin desperately feels empty in my sense. Then comes the quality of the materials that are sometimes questionable. I get it, there were some cost cuts that had to be made in order to get an affordable price, but did it have to be so obvious? The piano black panels had a lot of scratches on them and there are just too many tactile commands for the ID.3's own good. Despite being very intuitive, we've also experienced issues with the infotainment system that can be a bit glitchy sometimes, but again we are expecting a new software update anytime soon that should enhance the user experience of the system, so I'm not going to hold this against them. For now, we'll use the built-in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which work fine and wirelessly.
Despite all that, does the new Volkswagen ID.3 has the potential to become the best-selling EV in the world? The answer is yes! It is a car that is very well equipped for the real world and customers who were normally accustomed to internal combustion engine cars will find VW's EV to be very user-friendly. It's not perfect yet, but we expect Volkswagen to bridge the gap very soon. In fact, the brand from Wolfsburg have already launched the new electric SUV called ID.4, so expect to see more IDs coming up very quickly. The ID.3 is a car for the masses, so it seems like a very good beginning for VW. They have the average citizens covered, but now it'd be nice if they started cooking something that can go fast. Why not an ID.3 GTi?
I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Volkswagen Switzerland for allowing us to step into the future with this very cool ID.3. Without them, this article would have never been possible. The team has been extremely nice and has been very helpful in the process of getting us a car for two weeks. We cannot wait to collaborate more with them in the near future.
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