The new VW ID.3 Pro (150 kW) at a glance
- First facelift of the VW ID.3
- 150 kW/204 HP electric vehicle with rear-wheel drive
- Pro version with a range of up to 426 km
- Improved quality in the interior
- Functions on demand and Plug & Charge
- Starting price from 39,995 euros
Every now and then you ask yourself what is currently going wrong in the German auto industry. The price-based wishful thinking of many manufacturers clearly no longer corresponds to their customers’ expectations in terms of the features and quality offered. Volkswagen in particular has to accept criticism in this regard and realizes that they are no longer the “love brand” they would like to be. Many customers even have the impression that the company is taking a completely wrong course. Best example: The ID.3. How could anyone in the VW executive suite in 2019 have assumed that this half-finished car would be enough to usher in a sustainable transformation towards an electric brand?
If we leave the design aside, the interior of the debutant in particular was a tough one in the truest sense. Knock-resistant plastics and hardly any high-quality materials on the one hand, and an infotainment system that is very weak in terms of handling and operating speed on the other. Yes, even the touch sliders for volume and temperature control were (and are) unlit. In short: The ID.3 was not the electric car that many customers were hoping for, although in the end things perhaps went better for Volkswagen than many observers initially expected.
Because despite all the prophecies of doom: The ID.3, which costs at least 39,995 euros (VW still owes a cheaper entry-level model with a smaller battery) has arrived on our streets and has achieved around 18,000 new registrations in Germany in the current year as of September 2023 (Tesla Model 3 approx. 11,200). This means that the Stromer still doesn’t come close to the numbers of the Golf (approx. 60,000 units) and on the electrical side it is clearly outperformed by the similarly expensive Tesla Model Y (approx. 38,600 units), but a grandiose flop still looks different. In order not to lose further favor with the now much more demanding electric car customers, the facelift, which was presented rather quietly in March 2023, is currently rolling out to dealers.
Volkswagen in correction mode
On the outside, the innovations are decidedly reserved, but with the slightly adjusted front hood (without a strange plastic cover) there is at least a fresh sheet metal part, which in combination with the also revised bumper creates an overall beefier appearance. At the back, the technology of the LED taillights was replaced, and the two bars in the tailgate are now also illuminated. What is much more important, however, is what happened inside the ID.3. The red pen jugglers in controlling obviously had a break and with the change of group and brand board, a certain level of quality awareness seems to have returned to the Autostadt.
The completely animal-free interior, which is still quite spacious in both rows of seats, now has a higher quality in the choice of materials in some areas. Hard plastic had to give way to fabric, microfiber covers or foamed surfaces in many places (depending on the equipment). Clear attention has been paid to the daily visibility and grip area, especially the front door panels, but also the lower part of the dashboard. All in all, small measures that have a big impact: The quality of the Volkswagen ID.3 finally looks almost as good as you would expect for the prices quoted. In terms of equipment, the extended center console with four USB-C slots is now standard, a double loading floor is also supplied ex works for the unchanged 385 liter trunk and the optional Beats sound system installed in the test car ensures better sound.
The operating quality remains weak
So it’s all sunshine and roses? Not quite. Apart from the fact that the Tesla Models 3 and Y, for example, offer significantly more extensive basic equipment, the VW ID.3 continues to be weak in terms of operation. Although customers can now look forward to “functions on demand” and a “parking assistant with memory function”, input commands via the 12-inch display are still implemented too slowly. Voice input also processes commands rather unreliably and even if the ID.3’s assistance systems work skillfully in the background: shortcut buttons, at least for deactivating the lane keeping assist, couldn’t hurt.
But another point is much more annoying: depending on how you read it, the world’s largest car company does not manage to illuminate the touch sliders under the infotainment screen. Every conceivable position within the VW Group, from cleaning staff to top management, is aware of the problem, but new controls will only be available from 2024. This will result in another “upgrade” next year. It cannot be ruled out that the unspeakable touch fields on the steering wheel will then be replaced with the (old) buttons from the (new) Passat and Tiguan. It is uncertain whether people will still think about four physical buttons for the window regulators in the hopefully very limited model life cycle of the ID.3.
How does the ID.3 facelift drive?
Meanwhile, the driving chapter is unusually short. Because technically nothing changes to the ID.3 as a result of the facelift. The Pro version (combined power consumption: 14.9 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km; electric range: up to 435 km)² continues to drive with a permanently excited synchronous machine of up to 150 kW/204 hp the rear axle, which draws its power from a net 58 kWh lithium-ion battery in the vehicle floor. The acceleration and power delivery give no reason for criticism – the ID.3 Pro drives as an electric car should drive at its best: always smoothly and extremely quietly.
The chassis and steering are well coordinated, with the optional adaptive chassis (DCC) managing to maintain a very pleasant level of comfort even on poor asphalt roads and with the 20-inch tires. Curves can also be tackled in a sporty manner with the right DCC setting; in the parking garage, the small turning circle of just 10.2 meters is pleasing. Depending on your preference, braking is carried out using the mechanical brake or the recuperation function (speed level “B”), but real one-pedal driving is still not possible. When it comes to fuel consumption, the Volkswagen electric car is also frugal. Driving the ID.3 according to the on-board computer between 15 and 20 kWh per 100 kilometers is no problem during late summer weather conditions; the battery lasts for almost 300 kilometers when driven like this.
The maximum charging power is up to 135 kW, although below a charge level of 20 percent we achieved between 70 and a maximum of 98 kW, sometimes only 40 kW. Regardless of whether we were on the DC fast charger on the motorway (Ionity) or in town (EnBW). Since software version 3.1, all VW electric cars have been able to use Plug & Charge, which means that valid payment information can be stored in the car for charging processes – the Stromer starts the charging process automatically when the cable is plugged in.
After the mini facelift, the VW ID.3 appeals as a subtly upgraded everyday companion that, as an electric car and in terms of driving dynamics, can hardly be accused of having any weaknesses. The charging speed should even be sufficient for the intended area of use. On the other hand, Volkswagen missed the opportunity to respond to all of the blatant points of criticism during the first attempt at improvement. The operating hardware and software continue to cause annoyance, illuminated touch sliders will not come until 2024 and then hopefully a steering wheel with real buttons. (Text and image: Thomas Vogelhuber)
Technical data VW ID.3 Pro 150 kW
|Model||VW ID.3 Pro 150 kW|
|engine||1x electric motor|
|drive||Rear wheel, 1-speed reduction|
|Max. system performance||150 kW (204 hp)|
|Continuous performance over 30 minutes||70 kW (95 hp)|
|Max. system torque||310 Nm|
|battery||58.0 kWh lithium-ion (net)||Battery heater||Yes, series||Heat pump||Yes, optional|
|Max. charging power AC/DC||11kW/135kW|
|Combined power consumption (WLTP)||14.9 kWh/100 km²|
|Test consumption according to on-board computer||19.5 kWh/100 km|
|CO2 emissions combined||0 g/km²|
|Range according to WLTP||up to 435 km (552 km EAR-City)²|
|Range measured in the test||up to 300 km|
|Acceleration (0-100 km/h)||7.4s|
|Top speed||160 km/h|
|Curb weight||approx. 1,821 kg|
|Trunk volume||385-1,267 l|
|Basic price VW ID.3 Pro||from 39,995 euros|