2021 Volkswagen ID.3 Max Owner Review

Volkswagen ID.3

Max 2021

6.1/10not logged11 votes

More issues than a Jeremy Kyle Omnibus

After 6 months, it's back at the dealership, in pieces, never to return.

30 Jul 2021

Volkswagen ID.3 Pros and Cons

  • Space

  • Refinement

  • Dealer Service

  • Reliability

Owner Review

More issues than a Jeremy Kyle Omnibus

I paid a little over CHF50,000 for my 1st max in bland white with dodgy transfer stickers.

VW and the dealer informed me that as an early buyer some of the software features promised would be missing, but that an update would deliver them and have me fully functional in no time at all.

What they didn't tell me was that the original software wasn't just missing features, it was missing basic functionality. Radio controls didn't respond, icons would show up blank, the car would suddenly lose track of its mileage and tell me to "return to workshop", or decide that it couldn't find an online mode and hang until someone pulled a fuse.

Every day brought a new issue, which I cheerfully decided to see as "quirks" rather than faults.

Software 2.0 became available and my dealer called me in. The update didn't go well. The car bricked. New ECUs were ordered. The car was gone for days. When it did come back I had wireless Android Auto and an Augmented Reality display that was fun (if more a novelty than anything)

Still random buttons would cease to work, or disappear. Internet Radio became intermittent. Live traffic was there maybe half the time and the car liked to give me random fault errors - just to keep things interesting.

But I grew accustomed to hopping in and out of the car, turning it on and off, approaching it from a jaunty angle, hoping that if I sat down gently it might just function for a whole journey.

We muddled through to update 2.1.. Which didn't go well. The car bricked. New parts were ordered. 8 days passed. The car came back to me. The odometer was stuck at zero, the car wouldn't connect to the server, the app seemed dead and again the infotainment would often change color before blanking out the icons. 3 days later and it was back and better.

Well, it was a bit better.

One week after the update my young son remarked "Daddy we just went 50km and the car hasn't told you anything is wrong" - progress indeed.

As the weather improved, the economy stretched and the faults become easier to ignore (no right indicator you say? 3 mins to boot? No server connection again? No climate? Pah!) I even thought that I might trust it to take us on vacation.

But just as I started to trust, all of the lights that are associated with the update to 2.3 came on... and 1 minute later all of the lights associated with changing gear went off. I was stuck. In Drive.

I drove to the dealer who managed to get me out of the car and into park, whereby the issue magically righted itself. But the next morning it took 7 attempts, and much hopping in and out, to coax the car out of "no chance you're going anywhere" and into drive. 

Back to the dealer we went and they found a problem associated with the gear selector and a bunch of parts behind the dash. None in stock. None available to order. No idea when the car would be back to me. No vacation trip.

And that's where the car is now. In pieces, on the lot of the dealer, awaiting parts that, like Godot, may never come. 

The dealer has been amazing.

We've placed an order for a new car, they've loaned me something from the lot, they're being very generous with their time and the deal that they're giving me and I'll not be taking back my troublesome Max...

I so wanted to love this car, but in 6 months it gave me perhaps three trouble free days. I know that this isn't the experience of many, that it's at the extreme end of the spectrum. But I thought that it was worth sharing,

Long-term average consumption

Long-term average consumption: 15.6 kWh/100km

See Tech Specs - Volkswagen ID.3

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