The Volkswagen ID 3 has kicked off its makers post-Dieselgate rehabilitation very well. This Golf-sized hatchback became the first to use the group’s dedicated MEB platform, an entirely fresh rear-engined architecture, when it hit the market in 2020. That gave the ID 3 a relatively long wheelbase, boosting cabin space, and a rear-mounted drive motor with up to 201bhp and 229lb ft.
It launched with two battery sizes: the 58kWh pack lends a WLTP range of 261 miles, while the larger, pricier 77kWh battery ups that to 340 miles. Since then, VW has also added an entry-level ‘Pure Performance’ version with a 45kWh battery, which is rated for 218 miles and costs less than £30,000 – which is why you can even consider this car a more practical rival to an electric supermini, if that’s where your particular interest lies.
The ID 3 excels in terms of manoeuvrability and low-speed response and, although heavy by compact car standards and sitting on wheels as big as 20in in diameter, it would seem to hit the company’s high standards for ride sophistication, too. Handling is surprisingly agile, balanced and nimble, despite a fair bit of body roll.
The car is let down a little by its interior, which doesn’t have the same feeling of quality we expect from VW, and its touchscreen infotainment system suffer with some of the same usability woes as many other current Volkswagen Group products. But the cabin is certainly roomy and pleasant enough, and the driving experience gratifyingly simple and effective.
Renault was something of an EV pioneer with its Zoe supermini, which made its debut the best part of a decade ago. But tiny Twizy and forgettable Fluence aside, the French firm hasn’t made much of its head start and has been overtaken by many in the race to electrify their ranges.
As a result, the all-new Megane E-TECH has arrived in the nick of time, and the good news is that it’s been worth the wait. As the name suggests, the newcomer is Renault’s all-eletric take on the family hatch. It’s certainly a good-looking one, the angular Megane looking far sharper and more purposeful than its ICE-powered namesake. Underpinning the car is Renault’s new CMF-EV architecture, which claims to be one of the lightest and strongest in the class (an equivalent VW ID3 is around 300kg heavier), while for now there’s a single 60 kWh battery option that promises 292 miles between charges.