The Volkswagen ID 3 has received a major makeover a full year ahead of schedule, with ‘comprehensive’ updates including revamped styling and a reworked interior. The new version will be priced from £37,115 in the UK.
The electric hatch was the first production machine to go on sale using the Volkswagen Group’s MEB platform, and was pitched as an electric equivalent to the hugely popular Golf. While it has been a sales success, there have been grumbles about the quality of the materials used in the minimalist interior, and issues with the infotainment software.
With Volkswagen putting increasing emphasis on its ID line-up of EVs, it has taken the unusual move of bringing the mid-life facelift planned for mid-2024 to this year.
There will be a pared-back line-up: Pro models will start from that £37,115 figure and will use a 58kWh battery, while Pro S versions will feature a 77kWh battery.
“We took the plan for the facelift to Herbert Diess [former VW Group chairman], and he was very supportive [of it],” said ID 3 product manager Claas-Leonard Stöhr. “He really liked the concept but asked us to see if we could bring it earlier to the customer.”
Move Electric was given a sneak peak of the revamped machine, so here are the key elements that Volkswagen has reworked.
While the main focus of the facelift has been on improving the interior and infotainment systems, Volkswagen has given the exterior of the ID 3 a styling makeover.
The front-end of the car has been reworked with sharper lines and more angled bumper styling, and the bonnet has lost the black panel that previously sat in front of the windscreen and gained some purposeful-looking indents.
“It still has the smile that the ID 3 was known for, but it’s not that friendly anymore,” said Stöhr. “It’s a bit more grown-up, a bit more classic.”
On the side, the graphics on the rear pillar of the car have been removed, as has the small badge on the front wheel arch that used to indicate the trim level of the car. Meanwhile there are a variety of new paint options, including a new Dark Olivine Green.
The interior of the ID 3 is where the biggest differences can be found, with Stöhr admitting that it was the aspect that “most of the feedback from customers” was about. He added: “Customers wanted more value and softer materials.”
That has prompted Volkswagen to significantly overhaul the interior, including a switch to entirely animal-free materials, a number of which also contains a significant quantity of recycles material.
The lower sections of the dashboard has been reworked with a new soft surface, while there are new door handrests, seat cover and door trims.
The infotainment overhaul
Volkswagen’s latest infotainment software has attracted plenty of grumblings from customers, both for glitches in the software and for the ‘slider’ underneath the touchscreen that controls the volume and heating.
The facelift ID 3 takes steps to addressing some of those issues – although there is more still to come.
The revamped machine will be offered with a choice of 10in and 12in infotainment screens, which use a revamped infotainment system. We didn’t get a chance to see all the updates, but they do include a new charging menu that is located on the top menu of the system and has been overhauled so it is easier to understand.
The cloud-based speech recognition system has been upgraded as well, and the ID 3 now features the larger ‘augmented reality’ head-up display that is already offered on the larger Volkswagen ID 4.
The new look doesn’t fix all the issues with the infotainment – not least because the controversial slider still won’t be illuminated, making it really hard to fiddle with the volume at night. But there’s more to come – especially if you’re in the UK.
When the facelifted ID 3 goes on sale in the coming months, UK buyers will only be offered the 10in infotainment screen, because the 12in system won’t work on right-hand drive models without extensive modifications.
UK buyers who want a larger infotainment screen will need to wait until next year, when a revamped 12.9in touchscreen will arrive. That unit will first be seen on the Volkswagen ID 7 saloon that is due to be revealed soon, and is set to be part of a extensively reworked dashboard that includes changes to the drive info display and drive control switch. And yes, it will include an illuminated volume slider.
In case you were wondering, the delay in the ID 3 receiving the new infotainment system is down to logistics: Volkswagen couldn’t bring the introduction of it forward from the original planned date of the facelift in mid-2024.
Another significant change in the infotainment system – although again of limited relevance to UK buyers – concerns the ‘functions on demand’ that owners can choose from. Currently, some features on the ID 3 – including the navigation system, voice control, ambient lighting and high-beam assist – are installed on every model, but must be bought through either a one-off payment or a subscription.
Volkswagen is now introducing a range of new payments options, including the ability to pay for a one-month subscription to a particular feature. The idea is that instead of buying the navigation system when you get the car, you might only subscribe for a month when you’re going to take a long road trip holiday.
That change is less significant in the UK: all models here will be offered with navigation and climate control as standard, so the 30-colour ambient lighting system is really the only ‘function on demand’ option.
Powertrain and battery options
With the focus on the perceived quality of the ID 3, Volkswagen hasn’t made many changes to the powertrain and battery line-up. The launch line-up will be streamlined, with all models featuring a 150kW rear-drive motor.
There will then be a choice of two battery options: Pro models will use a 58kWh unit giving a range of 264 miles, with Pro S examples using the larger 77kWh that gives a 339-mile range. The Pro models can be charged at speeds of up to 120 kW while the maximum charging speed for Pro S models has increased from 125kW to 170kW – enough for a five to 80 per cent charge in 30 minutes.
The ID 3 has previously been offered with an entry level 45kWh battery, but that unit can no longer be used for technical reasons. Stöhr said that the firm was currently working on a new entry-level option.
Pricing and release details
The facelifted ID 3 is due to arrive in the UK this summer. Volkswagen will produce the model at its main factory in Wolfsburg, Germany, and it will continue to be manufactured at plants in Zwickau, Dresden and Anting, China.
In the UK, the Pro and Pro S models will be offered with a range of 'packs' for the first time, which group together features that are expected to be popular. One example is an Exterior Pack, that will include two-part LED light clusters at the back in place of a reflector.