Just before the Frankfurt International Motor Show begins tomorrow, Volkswagen unveiled the final production version of what is probably their most important car in decades, ID.3. You can think of ID.3 as a Golf translated into an electric vehicle via Volkswagen's new MEB modular electric platform. It's not a Golf that has been reworked to run on electrons instead of dead dinosaurs, it's an electric car designed from the same core belief as Golf; As such, it's not as much EV Golf as it is an EV that plays the same role as Golf.
And that role is an important one, as Golf has been Volkswagen's do-and-go car ever since Golf / Rabbit replaced Beetle as VW's personal car in the mid-1970s.
It's not an SUV; there is something far more rational, a real hatch, a useful volume of space with an opening at the back that is set at a ride height that is just fine. Of course, this means that we will not get such a rational vehicle here in America, but instead will get hooked high on large tires and called a "crossover" because we have some lingering national brain problems.
But, for now, let's look at some of the interesting design decisions VW made here. What is most interesting about this EV, which will compete quite directly with the Tesla Model 3 and Chevy Bolt on price and range, is that it manages to divide the difference between the stylish and appealing Model 3 and the practical but frumpy Bolt.  Illustration for the article titled Let's look at the design of the Volkswagen ID3 “/>
The design and status clearly sells cars – the Model 3 has proven to be something people want more than a Chevy Bolt – and with the price and being Similarly, it is clear that the intangible factors of status and appearance are very important. Volkswagen has done a good job with ID.3 in terms of these elusive features, and given the detailed details that clearly indicate that it is an electric vehicle, which people who buy cars tend to want to be advertised.
practical hatchback design, but it feels futuristic and slim, and it probably won't be confused with an internal combustion car, something you can't say about Bolt.
While the basic design is based on Golf, the realities of the MEB platform provide much more packaging options. True to VW's age-old air-cooled roots, the ID.3 has a rear-mounted engine that drives the rear wheels. The batteries are in the floor, and although it does not have a front area such as Tesla, the electronics, HVAC and other front-facing equipment are smaller than a regular FWD drive, allowing the front hood area to be compressed, with more space for passenger and cargo volume.
For the same general size, ID.3 has a longer wheelbase than a Golf and more internal volume. The windshield extends quite far ahead, requiring a large triangular window between the A-pillar and the door, which should make the interior feel quite open and airy.
The basic exterior front-end design I think actually seems to take more clues from VW Up! platform than Golf, which is an interesting choice. See here:
The headlight shape, the strip that stands in for the grille, the prominent central mark, the most important air intake that is below the bumper line – in many ways ID.3 may look more like an enlarged Up! than a Golf, at least from the front.
I think the Golf heritage is most clearly seen in the profile, where what is arguably the most iconic Golf design element, the angled C-pillar, becomes further emphasized here with the graphic Ben-Day dot / hexagonal surface design graphic, which reflects the embossed texture motif used on the lower end of the front end, just above the air intake area.
I like graphics like these on cars; I feel that car designers have been too shy to use surface graphic effects on production cars, and I think in this context it's a reminder that this is an EV and feels suitably futuristic.
There are many other interesting details, so let's make a small chart here:
Overall, it is a striking, handsome car. The bold design continues into the interior, which for at least a trim has some fantastically bold color choices:
It's clean and well thought out, less aggressively minimalist than the Model 3, but equally modern in feel. I love the white and the orange, and I think the driver's instrument is a very attractive design. There are hardly any physical controls on the car at all, which, like it or not, appear to be the way everyone goes.