The new Golf has arrived: test of the VW ID.3
The launch of the all-new Volkswagen ID.3, fully electric and based on the dedicated MEB-platform, didn’t run like VW had hoped. Finally, it has appeared on the market, and the first figures suggest that it will be an instant success. We drove the Golf of the next decades.
The ID.3 has already caused a lot of nightmares at Volkswagen, up into the highest regions. Even group CEO Herbert Diess was under fire, and he had to leave his post as CEO of Volkswagen to Ralf Brandstätter and concentrate on the Group as a whole.
What went wrong? One can resume it primarily to software problems. Of course, creating an all-new car is always a risk, but the simultaneously launched VW Golf VIII had the same bugs, proving that the problem was about the quality of the software delivered by suppliers.
It incited VW Group finally to create its own software department and to strive for it that within five years, more than 60% of the needed software will be made in-house, in stark contrast to the 10% now.
A dedicated electric platform permits the wheels at the four corners of the car, providing ample interior space. That’s also the case for the ID.3, which has a Golf’s size from the outside, but almost the space of a Passat inside.
The atmosphere inside is businesslike, but the quality of the materials chosen is a little low. We used to be spoiled by VW in this C-segment when the Golf IV was launched (making really a difference with its direct competitors). Apparently, VW has now chosen to invest in other things.
The ID.3 drives well, as an electric car should do. We drove the 1st Edition with its 150 kW electric motor and found it was very capable. It accelerated more than quick enough and showed itself very quiet on most surfaces. Thanks to the low gravity point the car also feels secure and lively most of the time.
With the intermediate battery pack of 58 kWh (there are three available), VW claims that one can drive over 400 km, but given that we drove the car in the winter and in all sorts of traffic a range of 300 to 330 km is far more realistic. Also, because the electric motor of the ID.3 is not one of the most frugal in energy consumption when we compare it with direct competitors.
Not without bugs
Volkswagen has chosen a completely digital dashboard for its ID.3 (as in the latest Golf), with only a few handles and knobs. That could be a gem when everything works perfectly, but that wasn’t the case. The info on the smallest screen (behind the steering wheel) is also not abundant enough. One couldn’t see, for example, in which driving mode one is.
During the test, our ID.3 displayed some bugs. They were more annoying than really making us stop, but we didn’t expect it from VW. By the way, just afterward we drove a Golf VIII GTE (plug-in hybrid) and that car showed almost the same little bugs. Some of the ADAS systems are also fairly intrusive or pushy, a classic VW flaw.
To resume it all, the new VW ID.3 is surely not faultless, but it’s, by all means, a capable car. The tremendous push the entire VW organization can give shows that it will undoubtedly be a bestseller.
Of course, the market is too fragmented now (and too many people still like SUVs) to obtain the market dominance the Golf once had. But as the first try of new technology (one that VW didn’t embrace until lately), it’s a good attempt.