Used Volkswagen ID.3 Review

Price: £27,120 - £38,800

Volkswagen has thrown all its engineering might into creating its first dedicated electric car and hopes the ID.3 will bring electric power to the people.

Watch Ginny pitch it against a Nissan Leaf here

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  • Battery size: 45, 58 or 77kWh
  • Miles per £: 27.9
  • Battery warranty: 8 years/100,000 miles
  • Emissions: 0g/km
  • Range: 206-336 miles (WLTP Standard)

Nicki Says

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8/10

“We've been waiting a long time for this car. Does it live up to the hype? Mostly, yes it does. It's got a few rough edges, notably on the infotainment front, but the drivetrain and comfort levels are fantastic. I'm looking forward to seeing the range develop.”

Ginny Says

8/10

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“The first electric car I drove was a VW CityStromer back in ‘98. This is a hugely important car for Volkswagen and our first impressions are that the brand has done a fine job. We'll need to see how the range fills out to deliver a definitive verdict, but the signs are good.”

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VW ID.3 static shot, black car in a quartyard with presenter Nicki Shields

It might be a new car, but there are hundreds of used ID.3s on the used market. VW seems to have pushed dealers to register demonstrators  to qualify for bonuses and these are now being sold off with discounts of several thousand compared to the new price. Just watch out for the weird specifications.

  • Price from:£25,000

Used Volkswagen ID.3

The ID.3 may only have been with us for a short while, but there’s already a very active used market for it. That’s mainly due to the huge number of cars Volkswagen brought into the UK for the launch. These include dealer demonstrators, management cars - which are company cars given to Volkswagen employees for six month periods – and pre-registered cars that dealers sell to themselves to balance the books and qualify for bonuses. 

Choose one of these rather than going new and you could save yourself thousands. We found more than 400 used ID.3s listed online after a quick search, plus there are load more hidden within Volkswagen’s own retailer network. 

Remember, when you’re looking for a used car, dealers only put a handful of cars onto paid-for sites, but they will have plenty more in stock. So if you’re prepared to do some phoning around, you can find some hidden gems and perhaps a car in your perfect specification.

And there is a bewildering array of specifications to choose from. In terms of battery choices, the ID.3 launched in 2020 with just one option - a 58kWh pack. Since then, Volkswagen has added two more; a smaller 45kWh and bigger 77kWh. 

Now, spotting which one is which on the used market isn’t as simple as it should be because the battery size isn’t mentioned anywhere in the name of the car. If you want the biggest battery, look for the Tour model because that’s the only one that gets it. 

If you want the smaller 45kWh pack, look for a City or Style model. The mid-sized 58kWh battery comes with two different motor power outputs; 145PS and 204PS. Confusing, huh?

All ID.3s can rapid charge at up 100kW with the biggest 77kWh battery able to charge at 125kW. It means that on a 150kW charger, all models can charge to 80% in around half an hour. 

AC charging - which is what you'll get from a home wallbox - is pretty standard at up to 11kW, but if you’re at home and have a standard connection, you’ll be able to charge at 7kW. 

There are few to things to watch out for though.  When the ID.3 arrived in 2020, it wasn’t quite ready. We’re not talking about cars with three wheels or missing doors, the big problem was with the software that runs the car. 

Even Volkswagen admits that the roll-out of the ID.3 was pretty fraught. The whole car is built around a completely new software system that was still being fixed and de-bugged as the first cars were being delivered. Because of this, quite a few features were missing on early cars - things like Apple CarPlay, the head-up display and the ability to receive software updates remotely. 

The good news is that Volkswagen has fixed the problem with a series of software updates. The biggest was rolled out in January 2021 and was effectively a completely rewritten version of the original operating system. Since then, almost all the bugs and problems experienced by early buyers have been fixed. 

We’d expect every ID.3 in the Volkswagen network to be running the latest software version, but if you’re buying privately or from a non-franchise dealer, make sure you check first. You can do this by clicking Settings, then System information and it will tell you what software version it has. Currently the latest is 0792, so you'll want that or later.

Also, some of the cars which were registered in a hurry by dealers in the first quarter of 2020 have slightly odd specification. The 1st Edition like the car in our video is pretty good, but most of the other models we found for sale are either black or white and have steel wheels with hubcaps. They look like the sort of hire cars you get when you go on holiday to Spain, even though they are actually quite high specification. 

Another thing to look for is 12 volt battery failures. Bizarrely, given that the ID.3’s battery pack could power your house for a week, it, like all electric cars, still uses a 12 volt battery to start up the computers and operate stuff like the lights and radio when you’re not driving.  

For a number of reasons, 12 volt batteries on electric cars are prone to failure. In the case of the ID.3, some cars had an electrical fault that allowed the battery to drain even when the car was switched off. Volkswagen have fixed this in the latest update, so hopefully that won’t be an issue any more. Hopefully... 

If you’re looking at getting your first electric car or upgrading from an older car, this should definitely be on your shopping list, especially as there is such a good selection of cars with substantial discounts on the new price. 


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