In-depth reviews

Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback - Electric motor, drive & performance

It may not be as quick as a Tesla but the ID.3 has the acceleration to worry a Golf GTI

Carbuyer Rating

4.4 out of 5

Electric motor, drive & performance Rating

4.5 out of 5

Volkswagen ID.3 electric motor 

Volkswagen launched the ID.3 with a 201bhp rear-mounted unit powering the rear wheels, but now there are less powerful versions too. Eventually there will also be versions of the ID.3 with an extra front-mounted motor, giving the car four-wheel drive and extra performance to go with it.

With its instant shove, the ID.3 feels genuinely quick away from the lights, not only outpacing the Nissan Leaf and Renault ZOE but even making for an interesting comparison with a conventionally-powered Golf GTI. The ID.3 races from 0-37mph in just 3.5 seconds, aided by the absence of gearchanges. Electric cars use a single-speed automatic system so there’s no need for gears like in a traditional car.

Braking feels more natural than in many rivals we've tried. Selecting 'B-Mode' adds some braking effect from the electric motor as it harvests energy, but nowhere near as much as the 'one-pedal driving' offered by the Leaf and Tesla Model 3. Press the brake pedal, though, and it will use energy regeneration to slow the car before the disc brakes take over. VW says that if you regularly use the ‘B’ mode, an ID.3 may never need its brakes replacing.

Despite being taller and almost a third heavier than a Golf, the ID.3 has a lower centre of gravity thanks to its low-slung electric powertrain. Volkswagen's engineers have been able to make it feel more agile and lighter on its feet than the Golf. That's with standard suspension too; a version with an adjustable setup is still in the works. It doesn’t tend to get unsettled by rough road surfaces either, and the steering is easy to use.

With no engine in the nose of the car, Volkswagen has also been able to increase the steering angle of the front wheels, giving the ID.3 a smaller turning circle that makes previously unthinkable manoeuvres possible.

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