Volkswagen’s on a roll with denying America reasonably-priced hatchbacks as of late. You can no longer buy a regular old Golf, just a GTI or a Golf R. What’s more, the ID.3 never made it across the Atlantic. Apparently Americans keep buying these things called crossovers. Mind you, recent Volkswagen hatchbacks have been a bit flawed – the Golf and ID.3 both suffered from software issues at launch, and interior cheapening on the new GTI makes the old one feel like Volkswagen’s modern hot hatch Magnum Opus. However, Volkswagen has just updated the ID.3, so let’s take a look and see if we’d want it on this side of the pond.
Upon first glance, the new ID.3 looks almost exactly the same as the old one. Look closely though, and some differences begin to appear. For a start, the funky dimples in the front bumper have been ditched in favor of a more conventional surface, the tiny grille above the number plate is now gone, and the black strip on the hood is no more. What has appeared are two hood character lines and two air curtain vents set far apart on the fascia that help visually anchor this tall hatchback to the ground. Those air curtain vents also allow for a smaller, reshaped grille that I’m a fan of. Around back, revisions are even more subtle, isolated to revamped tail lamps that look more complex and therefore more interesting than the tail lamps on the outgoing model. It all adds up to a sleeker ID.3 which sounds rather appealing.
Remember how posh the Mark IV Volkswagen Jetta’s interior felt for an early-aughts compact car? Ever been in a current Atlas? Certain Volkswagen interiors have moved a bit too downmarket in recent years and the updated ID.3’s cabin hopes to correct this by being made of nicer stuff. The door cards are all new with proper fabric inserts for a quality feeling. The face of the dashboard now features a stitch, which sounds very Roger Smith but makes a larger visual difference than you’d imagine. Other additions include a neat little ID.3 badge in between the central air vents and microfiber upholstery that’s 71 percent recycled.
While upgraded interior materials are all well and good, the oft-derided capacitive-touch temperature and volume sliders still aren’t backlit, and the window switch panel in the driver’s door is still completely inane. Livable, sure, but I shouldn’t have to tap a tiny touch-sensitive pad to roll down the rear windows. What’s more, despite a new 12-inch infotainment screen, the infotainment system itself still looks a bit clunky. It’s definitely an updated version of the current system, but I fear it might not go far enough to alleviate owner complaints.
In terms of charging, the new ID.3 takes some big leaps head. The ID.3 Pro can now handle charging speeds of up to 170 kW, up from the first model’s capability of 120 kW, which sounds alright for juicing up a relatively small net 58 kWh battery pack. What’s more, motor output is up to 201 horsepower for all ID.3 Pro models, so expect reasonably sprightly acceleration. In case a net 58 kWh pack with 426 km (265 miles) of WLTP range isn’t enough for you, the ID.3 Pro S gets a net 77 kWh battery pack and a WLTP range of 546 km (339 miles), more than enough for short road trips.
While the 2024 Volkswagen ID.3 is definitely an improvement over the original version, I fear it might not go far enough to find loving homes in American Volkswagen fans’ driveways. As it stands, compact European hatchbacks are an enthusiast niche, and enthusiasts can be discerning about things like infotainment systems. We’ll have to wait and see whether Volkswagen brings its new infotainment system seen in the ID.7 to the ID.3, as if that happens, the ID.3 may finally be worthy of making the trek across the pond.
(Photo credits: Volkswagen)
Support our mission of championing car culture by becoming an Official Autopian Member.
The Volkswagen ID.7 Electric Sedan Promises Tesla-Beating Range And A Fix For VW’s Infotainment Disaster
The Volkswagen Golf And GTI Might Live On As EVs: Report
The Volkswagen GTI 40th Anniversary Edition Might Be The Best Mk8 GTI Yet
The American Volkswagen Golf R 20th Anniversary Edition Looks Like A Little Bit Of A Letdown
Here’s How The Legendary Mark IV Volkswagen Golf And Jetta Actually Outlived Their Mark V Successors
Got a hot tip? Send it to us here. Or check out the stories on our homepage.
I would never buy a new car that doesn’t have backlit temperature controls.
Why is this a hard no? Because it’s a simple detail. You need to see the controls at night, so you put a light there. It’s a solved problem. The solution is well known, everyone does it. It’s a detail so basic you probably haven’t actually thought about it.
So screwing up that detail – the simplest, most basic detail – raises questions for me. What else did they miss? What else did they screw up? Was it something important? Can I trust the engineering on a new car in a new category when they can’t even figure out how to put a light behind a switch?
VW interior lighting has boggled me on my GTI Mk7.5 (maybe they cost cut some of it in the refresh).
A light in the storage area forward of the shifter, where the power outlet would make sense. However, it doesn’t have it.
OK, fine. Turn on a map or dome light instead! However…all those buttons, on the roof by the sunroof control are also not lit. Only light is the status light for the Car-Net system which doesn’t do anything to light up. So you just have to feel out the roof light.
Yet they kept some kind of light behind the door pull that does nothing, since the lock and window buttons are lit and it’s not even by the door handle to open.
It’s not a miss, it’s 100% cost-cutting. Resulting of the dieselgate.
Why can’t we have nice things? Can’t stand SUVs.
This is not a nice thing, this a failure.
Was it too much to expect that someone on their UX (user experience) team would have the guts to to tell management how horrible the non-backlit temp and volume capacitive sliders and non-intuitive front/rear window switches are? If no one says anything, these features might spread into other VW models, too!
holy shit that screen is so out of place and hideous.
VW sure made a lot of noise about their EV’s only to offer up some of the least inspiring looking cars with mediocre range.
While everyone else goes for luxury, VW’s MEB vehicles are cheap. That’s their appeal.
Back in 2019, I used to recommend the Tesla Model 3 SR as the best “bang for your buck” EV. Its current revision gets 272 miles, takes 28 minutes to charge 10-80%, and currently costs $43k. But now, the VW ID.4 Pro gets 275 miles, takes 26 minutes to charge 10-80% (as tested), and costs $44k. The ID.4 is also a crossover the size of a CR-V instead of a sedan the size of a Civic, and Teslas tend not to live up to their range specs the way other EVs do.
I think we can all agree that VW’s EVs are boring as paste, but to the kind of consumers who judge by metrics like cost of ownership rather than power-to-weight ratios, I think VW’s struck a good balance.
It doesn’t go far enough because it doesn’t make it to North America.
It sure is a homely little thing
That infotainment system and the controls definitely do not look nutzer friendly.
VW capacitive touch nonsense=no dice. I was cautiously optimistic that they’d learned from how universally disdained their current infotainment/haptic steering wheel stuff is, but they haven’t. Until VW does away with their tech hell world interiors I’m out…and even if they fix them I’m probably still out on any ICE VW because of reliability concerns.
Regardless of the infotainment system, I think American buyers would look at the ID.3 and say “so VW built a Leaf?”
Most EVs have followed the same format of a small, tall hatchback so far. Between that and the proliferation of Tesla, it was time to branch out to other bodystyles. Focusing on the ID.4 (which anecdotally, I see a lot of around) was the right move for VW.