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Ideal for the family Volkswagen’s ID.3 lets you live the electric dream

Volkswagen - ID.3 1st Plus

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Fast mover: The ID.3 can accelerate faster than some small petrol cars. Photo: Paddy  McGrath

Fast mover: The ID.3 can accelerate faster than some small petrol cars. Photo: Paddy McGrath

Range: VW claim the ID.3 stores up to 77 kwh of energy and can travel 520 km. Photo: Paddy  McGrath

Range: VW claim the ID.3 stores up to 77 kwh of energy and can travel 520 km. Photo: Paddy McGrath

Range: VW claim the ID.3 stores up to 77 kwh of energy and can travel 520 km. Photo: Paddy  McGrath

Range: VW claim the ID.3 stores up to 77 kwh of energy and can travel 520 km. Photo: Paddy McGrath

Clever design: The ID.3 instrumentation screen gives all vital info. Photo: Paddy  McGrath

Clever design: The ID.3 instrumentation screen gives all vital info. Photo: Paddy McGrath

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Fast mover: The ID.3 can accelerate faster than some small petrol cars. Photo: Paddy McGrath

This week I will begin with a very bold statement that may get me into trouble with other car manufacturers.

But I am willing to stick my neck on the line because, believe me, what I am going to tell you this week in this column is very true.

The all-new Volkswagen ID.3 is by far the best electric car I have driven in a long time. Fact!

The new ID.3 has literally just arrived on our shores a couple of weeks ago and Volkswagen Ireland was so excited about its new electric model that staff members were sitting in the port to watch it roll of the cargo ship in Dublin Port.

The group has high hopes for its new all-electric brand with the ID.4 already hot on the heels of its ID.3 sister.

On the outside, the all-new ID.3 looks fairly similar in size to a Volkswagen Golf but, in fact, it sits on a longer wheel base and is a bit taller and wider too. To put it in a nutshell it looks sporty from the rear in boy-racer form but a glance around the front and you can tell straight away that this is a very sensible motor.

The big difference I noticed from its Golf sibling, is that it has much more leg room in the rear and the head clearance for taller rear-seat passengers is extremely ample.

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Range: VW claim the ID.3 stores up to 77 kwh of energy and can travel 520 km. Photo: Paddy  McGrath

Range: VW claim the ID.3 stores up to 77 kwh of energy and can travel 520 km. Photo: Paddy McGrath

Range: VW claim the ID.3 stores up to 77 kwh of energy and can travel 520 km. Photo: Paddy McGrath

The boot space is fairly decent too, and looks a lot deeper than in the Golf, and I had no problem packing in a set of golf clubs during my four-day test drive.

Elsewhere around the cabin there a very futuristic look to the new ID.3, and there is no doubt in my mind that Volkswagen has copied (excuse me, been inspired) by some of the fittings and fixtures found in the BMW i3.

These include the placement of the gear selector, which is found just above the space where the wipers are located attached to a BMW-like instrumentation screen that gives the driver his essential information.

On the road, the new ID.3 was just a joy to drive. Step inside the key-less doors and you will find the stop/start switch where you normally insert the key. However, the new ID.3 is so clever that it seems you don't even have to press the button to spark the electric motor - as long as the key is in your possession you put the selector into drive mode and off you go.

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Range: VW claim the ID.3 stores up to 77 kwh of energy and can travel 520 km. Photo: Paddy  McGrath

Range: VW claim the ID.3 stores up to 77 kwh of energy and can travel 520 km. Photo: Paddy McGrath

Range: VW claim the ID.3 stores up to 77 kwh of energy and can travel 520 km. Photo: Paddy McGrath

Equipped with 310Nm of torque and 204bhp the new ID.3 is no slouch from the off and can accelerate up to motorway speeds faster than most small petrol or diesel cars. It feels really smooth around town and had many onlookers wondering what I was driving during my four-day test drive. It seems though the new ID.3 is an instant success as I have already seen three of them driving around Dublin this week, including one being driven by an OAP who was doing her bit for the environment.

Prices for the new ID.3 start at €33,715 for the entry-level model and is only available in 1st Edition' guise.

My test model was the ID.3 1st Plus edition which adds on a few extras like 19-inch wheels, power-folding door mirrors, tinted rear windows, upgraded exterior lighting and rear-view camera and pushes the price up to €40,570, while the range-topping ID.3 Max with all the bells and whistles costs €47,410.

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Clever design: The ID.3 instrumentation screen gives all vital info. Photo: Paddy  McGrath

Clever design: The ID.3 instrumentation screen gives all vital info. Photo: Paddy McGrath

Clever design: The ID.3 instrumentation screen gives all vital info. Photo: Paddy McGrath

Meanwhile, this week, Volkswagen announced the arrival of the second model in the ID range - the ID.4. This is Volkswagen's first fully electrically driven SUV generating zero local emissions and is produced with a carbon-neutral balance. It will be launching into the world's largest market segment, the compact SUV class.

Volkswagen claim that the ID.4 is an all-round talent that can be driven in a sporty, yet also easy and comfortable way. The battery stores up to 77 kWh of energy and enables claimed ranges of up to 520 km.

The battery is installed below the passenger compartment which they say guarantees a low centre of gravity. The electric drive motor, positioned at the rear axle, generates 150 kW (204bhp) - enough to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.5 seconds and deliver a top speed of 160 km/h.

The new ID.4 will be on sale in Ireland from next January and pricing starts from €42,995 AFTER €10,000 grants for Irish buyers.

Volkswagen Ireland expect to sell 1,700 units of the new model next year and there will also be a model coming in May 2021 that has a 58kWh batter (range circa 340km) and the price for this model after grants will be less than €35,000.