Volkswagen ID.3 150kW Life Pro Perform 58kWh 5dr Auto [120kW Ch]
The ID.3 feels rear-wheel drive. This is pleasant. On the way out of a roundabout, the car squats down and you sense it’s being propelled from the rear, while the steering’s uncorrupted. There's lots of traction, whereas in the front-drive Renault Megane you're more likely to have the traction-control light flickering.
Because the boxy ID.3 is easy to place on the road and it’s responsive, it's a great car for narrow country roads and in town. Rough surfaces don't disturb the steering either, another strong plus on B-roads. The lighter Pro version has a slightly more nimble quality than the Pro S, but the difference is small.
However, don't imagine rear-drive means oversteer. In fact the ID.3 is wholly uninterested in trimming its cornering attitude according to the accelerator. Given that electric drive gives you such instant and exact power compared with turbo petrols, that's a shame. Lift the right pedal and it doesn't tuck in the nose; give it power and the tail doesn't edge outward. Not like the MG4 then, and indeed less interactive and fun than the Renault Megane electric or Vauxhall Astra electric.
The quickest ID.3 is the lightest, the Pro, which has the 58kWh battery. It'll do 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds, with the heavier 77kWh (the Pro S) doing it in 7.9. But that's a barely discernible difference unless you happen to have driven them back to back, and the gap between them pretty much disappears above 40mph. Departure from rest is undramatically brisk thanks to rear-drive traction. Acceleration tails off at speed, so A-road overtaking needs approaching with caution.
The drive selector, a stubby angular knob mounted up by the driver's display, has D and B positions but the B doesn't bring a whole lot of extra regenerative braking. The default regenerative system is called 'eco-assist' and it's a typical active setup using forward radar. So it lets you roll onward unhindered if there's nothing up ahead, but slows you down when the vehicle in front slows, or the navigation says you're approaching a roundabout, junction or sharp bend.
That's fine once you've learned to trust it, and encourages you into an energy-saving style of driving. But to enjoy a twisty road you don't want the car to second-guess your inputs, so you want to turn the system off. And there are no paddles: the off-switch is buried several menus deep on the screen.
Superbly. It's not just that the ride is supple (it can actually feel slightly under-damped at big speed). You're also cosseted by excellent insulation from tyre roar on coarse surfaces and from wind noise. Also, because you sit low there's little perception of lateral rocking.
All versions have active cruise control, enabled by the same radar system that drives the auto-regenerative system. An optional pack adds lane centring, which works well, and even auto-lane change: indicate and if the radars sense it's clear, the car moves across.
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