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Volkswagen ID.3 engines, drive and performance

2020 onwards (change model)
Performance rating: 4.1 out of 54.1

Written by Keith Adams Published: 29 September 2022 Updated: 14 September 2023

  • 150 and 204hp motors available
  • Top model quick for a non-performance car
  • Handles well, rides comfortably

What power options are there?

There are two battery sizes – 58 and 77kWh – both of which service a 204hp motor. The old 145hp version has been dropped with the facelift. On the road, the ID.3 offers more than enough performance for most owners, although there’s no performance-focused model to compete with the MG4 XPower.

There’s little difference between the 58 and 77kWh Pro and Pro S models as it’s only the size of their batteries that differs. They use the same motor, which means they both benefit from 310Nm of maximum torque that, in the manner of all electric motors, is delivered instantly. This makes the ID.3 quick off the mark and when accelerating from low speeds, much more so than those official 0-62mph times would suggest.

Traction is excellent, and the ID.3 delivers rapid response well into motorway speeds. You won’t get caught out on slip roads in one of these, and your ability to safely overtake slower traffic is never in doubt. There is occasionally the slightest of pauses between applying the accelerator and the vehicle’s reaction, and the performance never really thumps you in the back.

Volkswagen ID.3 review (2023)
Because of the instant torque, the ID.3 feels quicker than its 0-62mph time would suggest.

There are two energy recuperation modes, standard D (for Drive) or B (for Brake). As with all electric cars, recuperation – also known as regeneration or regen – uses drag from the electric motor to slow the car down. While straightforward, only having a single setting for this compared with rivals that offer variable regeneration puts it at a disadvantage. At the highest regen level you could often drive for long periods without touching the conventional brakes at all.

What’s it like to drive?

  • Responsive steering
  • Incisive handling
  • Very quiet driving experience

Volkswagen’s pulled off something clever when it comes to the ID.3’s ride and handling. It’s around 500kg heavier than a Golf, yet you rarely feel this heft in everyday driving. Well-judged power-steering combined with rear-wheel drive means you can fling the ID.3 about and have a modicum of fun. It helps that most of the mass is located low down, thanks to the battery pack being fitted below the cabin floor for a low centre of gravity.

It can’t escape its bulk entirely. If you go looking for it you’ll detect a slight sideways rocking motion when cornering hard. And though the ID.3 does flow pliantly over most surfaces, those big wheels will thump into sharp ridges and drop heavily into sudden dips. Even so, it’s more compliant than the related Cupra Born.

Overall, though, it’s a very satisfying car to drive. Easy going when you want it to be, but with more than enough performance to be fun should the mood take you. The ingredients bode well if Volkswagen gets around to introducing a high performance ID.3 GTX at a later juncture to rival the Cupra Born and (more extreme) MG4 XPower.

Volkswagen ID.3 review (2023)
Handling is tidy despite weighing nearly two tonnes.