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In-depth reviews

Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback - Reliability & safety

After a somewhat glitchy start, here's hoping the Volkswagen ID.3 sets a new bar for reliability

Carbuyer Rating

4.4 out of 5

Owners Rating
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Reliability & safety Rating

4.5 out of 5

The ID.3 led the charge – if you’ll excuse the intended pun – for Volkswagen’s fully-electric model offensive, but this meant there have been hiccups due to missing software, and some owners have experienced odd electrical glitches as a result. We’ve found particular frustration regarding the infotainment system, which is occasionally glitchy and not all that responsive. Volkswagen has promised a fix, but we’ve been told to wait until mid-2024 for a bigger, brighter display.

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Hopefully, this won't mean the car in general proves in any way unreliable but any issues should at least be covered by Volkswagen's three-year warranty. The ID.3 is also one of the first VW models to benefit from over-the-air software updates, capable of fixing some issues without a trip to the dealership.

VW ID.3 reliability

We anticipate that the VW ID.3’s electric powertrain should be very robust, with the potential to be far more reliable than a combustion-engined car. There are, after all, very few moving parts to go wrong. German's ADAC automobile association reported that its engineers covered more than 62,000 miles in one ID.3 and found that its battery still had a maximum capacity of 93%, despite being fully charged at fast chargers regularly – a process advised against for preserving maximum battery life.

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Teething problems are likely to lie with software and electrics, and we know the ID.3 launch was delayed while Volkswagen battled software bugs. Volkswagen came 18th out of 29 brands in our 2022 Driver Power survey, and slipped further to 27th out of 32 makers in 2023. It’s a disappointing fall in customer satisfaction, and just over a quarter of respondents reported a fault within the first year of ownership.

Safety

The ID.3 is a showcase for VW's latest technology, and that extends to its safety kit. Features like autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection are fitted as standard. This earned it a maximum five-star score when it was tested by Euro NCAP in late 2020. Overall, it was awarded 87% and 89% for adult and child occupant protection respectively, a 71% score for protection of vulnerable road users, and 88% for its safety assist systems.

While Volkswagen isn't offering anything to compete with Tesla's Autopilot system just yet, we do know it is working on autonomous driving technology, so this could be introduced for the ID.3 later. For now, it’s easy to make do with active cruise control, which alters your speed for you on the motorway to match the car in front, and lane-keeping assist to stop you straying outside white lines on the road.

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Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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