New 2023 Volkswagen ID.3 revealed

Tech, styling and specification upgrades are now ready for VW’s Golf-sized ID.3

Volkswagen has given its Golf-sized all-electric ID.3 an ahead-of-schedule update, launching this new ‘second generation’ model around 12 months earlier than initially planned. The ID.3 was the first Volkswagen Group model to be launched on its bespoke ‘MEB’ EV architecture, but despite its cutting edge underpinnings was criticised for its problematic digital interfaces and poor interior quality. It’s these issues VW is hoping to address with this early mid-life update. 

The fundamentals of the ID.3 have not changed. It still features a single motor mounted on the rear axle producing 200bhp and 228lb ft of torque paired with a single-speed transmission. The motor draws power from one of two battery options, 58kWh or 77kWh, with a third smaller pack still to come. Zero to 62mph times for the two battery options are rated at 7.3sec for the 58kWh and 7.9sec for the 77kWh, the latter being tardier on account of its extra weight.

VW has not published an official weight figure yet, but the previous 77kWh battery model comes in at nearly 1900kg, making it no lightweight. Estimated range for the pair is good in comparison to main rivals, with VW estimating up to 264 (58kWh) and 338 miles (77kWh). Charging speeds also vary between battery sizes, with the 58kWh unit capped at 120kW and the 77kWh reaching up to 170kW speeds, the latter of which capable of accepting a five to 80 per cent charge in around 30 minutes. 

The suspension and chassis design is also unchanged, with the batteries mounted in a flat package under the floor, and MacPherson strut and multilink rear designs. Unlike the closely related Cupra Born, there’s no option to specify adaptive dampers, and like before the rear axle makes do with drum brakes. 

> Cupra Born review

So far so similar, but the bits that have changed are more about what you see, feel and interact with. While not immediately apparent, the front end design has been cleaned up with new upright air ducts at the outer edges of the smoother front bumper. This previews a VW design signature that’s about to spread across the range, and also removes the octagonal indentations of the previous model. Its lighting elements are almost identical to before, with VW instead applying bigger changes to the bonnet which has removed the upper black section that used to trick the eye into thinking the old bonnet was shorter than it was. The overall effect is certainly cleaner, and with the help of some new colour options should keep the ID.3 fresh in its rapidly expanding segment. 

More substantial changes have been made inside, with a new focus on upgraded materials that VW hopes will improve the overall ambiance. As well as higher quality plastics, the lower dash now features a faux stitch line across its width, and an extended use of other soft-touch materials on the door cards and upper dash. 

In European-market left-hand drive models this tangible lift in material quality is joined by a new 12-inch infotainment screen borrowed from other models in the ID range, paired to a new lower casing that backlights the volume and temperature sliders – a major complaint in existing models. However, this new infotainment unit will be unavailable on right-hand drive models until some time in 2024, when an all-new infotainment display is made available. 

While none of these changes could be considered fundamentally substantial, together they should help lift the ID.3’s showroom appeal beyond that of the current model. This will also be the VW that features the first of Volkswagen’s own battery production, with its Swedish plant in collaboration with Northvolt kicking into gear later in 2023, shortly followed by other plants in Germany and Spain. Precise UK specifications and prices are still to be confirmed, but expect a small increase in price compared to the current models that start at £39,425 and rise to £47,470.

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