VW ID.5 review: Hey good lookin

Volkswagen, like Audi, has a trick up its sleeve when it comes to its mid-sized SUV. Sitting in the so-called C segment - the biggest selling segment ...
Design
A charming interior
The interior tech
Battery, range and performance on the road
Verdict

Volkswagen, like Audi, has a trick up its sleeve when it comes to its mid-sized SUV. Sitting in the so-called C segment - the biggest selling segment of the market - the company offers not one, but two electric models. The ID.5 sits alongside the ID.4, just as the Audi Q4 sits alongside the Q4 Sportback.

This design has proven popular with those wanting an SUV, but without that squared back - instead opting for a coupé-like dropping roofline, for a sleeker overall aesthetic. This model, however, costs from £50,710 at the time of writing.

The VW ID.5 is a good-looking electric SUV, basically the same as the ID.4. But despite the sporty looks, it's not especially sporty on the road and is a little more expensive than it perhaps should be.

Design

There's a minor aerodynamic advantage to the sleek roofline that VW ID.5 offers, but we can't help feeling that this design is popular because it looks sporty. Indeed, with the rear end dressed in a neat spoiler, that second glance at a passing ID.5 will reveal these athletic looks.

There's more than a passing resemblance to the ID.4, although the detail around the front bumper is slightly different, giving it a slightly more aggressive look beneath the curve of that enclosed front. VW's new badge sits proudly in the centre, the lines down the side tracing their way around the shoulders to emphasise the wheel arches.

The rear of the ID.5 is basically the same as the ID.4, except for the roofline leading to that rear door, of course, and that spoiler.

The ID.5 is a car that will grow on you and having spent time with both the ID.4 and the ID.5, we're now leaning towards the ID.5 as being slightly more exciting. But in a twist on practicality, the ID.5 has a 549-litre rear storage space, which is actually a little larger than the ID.4. Your dog might not agree, but if you're packing for a long weekend, this model might just give you space to squeeze in an extra six pack.

There's a number of trims - Style, Tech, Max, GTX (although this may vary by region) - with the ID.5 getting more body-coloured elements than the ID.4, which again helps to boost the looks. There's a high standard of basic specification, including a panoramic glass roof and 19-inch wheels, but with the ID.5 starting at just over £50k, you'd expect that.

It is, then, a good-looking car and - unlike the ID.4 - the sporty aesthetic might appeal to those who either aren't going to use it to cart the kids around, or want to hide the fact that they've stuffed a young family in the back seat.

A charming interior

The interior of the ID.5 is the same as the ID.4, and as such has the same niceties and the same disadvantages.

It's modern and clean, with VW taking the opportunity to reduce the buttons across the interior of the ID.5. That leaves the driver with fewer controls to press, and the drive controller sitting on the side of the display - a neat toggle for you to twitch to control the car. It's not hugely practical, though, as it's slightly hidden behind the steering wheel.

This interior is an evolution of the ID.3, but interestingly, VW has also accepted that it has some drawbacks. The next car from the company - the VW ID.7 - makes some changes to the arrangement to address some of the drawbacks that we'll talk about in a minute.

VW is pushing the animal-free and sustainability message through the ID family, so you'll find synthetic interiors rather than lashings of leather, but there's a quality to the finishes of the seats. The use of glossy black plastic never sides well with us though - it always needs to be dusted and attracts fingerprints - but there's plenty of space front and back.

The VW ID.5 sits on VW's MEB platform where the battery makes up the floor. With no need for a transmission tunnel, the real benefit is felt in the backseats, where the person sitting in the middle doesn't have to straddle a bump in the floor.

That means there's legroom and elbow room for adults, something that's felt across a range of electric SUVs. In that, the flat floor isn't unique to VW, you'll find much the same in the Hyundai Ioniq 5, a natural competitor for this model.

The panoramic roof lets light flood the interior, while visibility is generally good, and door pockets are large enough to let you stash a water bottle in. There's also a nice little pocket on the rear of the seats that's an ideal place to slip a phone into.

The interior tech

There's a 12-inch display sitting in the centre of the dash, with temperature controls below it and a run of buttons for a few choice menu options - climate, parking, driving mode and driving assistant features.

It's perhaps an odd mixture that has the feeling of being selected by committee, which is probably why the Forthcoming VW ID.7 removes these for shortcuts on the display instead, allowing greater customisation. For the ID.5 (this generation at least) those are basically the only buttons you get, with everything else being controlled through the display or on the steering wheel.

There is a voice assistant which aims to lift some functions out of the realms of touch, but it's a little hit and miss. Like so many in-car systems, they can't hold a candle to the likes of Alexa or Google Assistant when it comes to interpreting what you're actually saying, and then doing something useful with it.

If you plug in your phone you get Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, with access to respective voice assistants, but we still spent some time trying to get VW's IDA to understand some basic instructions, before giving up.

The driver display is reduced to basic information, with some models of the ID.5 benefitting from a heads-up display. With that driver display shrinking, it feels like the HUD is something you benefit from to get more information into your eyeline, but you'll have to pick the right trim level to get this.

VW's aim with the user interface on ID models was to move to something more modern and smartphone-esque, offering an on-screen home button and large icons for apps. It's had a mixed reception, however, and is not always as intuitive in use as you might want it to be. Much of this revolves around proximity sensing - the display changing slightly as you reach out towards it - and using the home button as the apps menu button too. That means it sometimes takes a couple more taps to get to what you want, making it fiddly.

That might not be a concern if you're always going to use your connected phone, but there are some charming features. For example, in the navigation settings, these a nice visual display of recent destinations under the suggestions tab. If you're a creature of habit, that means you can just get in, tap where you're going and get on the road - while also being told whether you'll have the range to get there.

Battery, range and performance on the road

The VW ID.5 is a nice smooth car to drive, benefiting from the seamless delivery of that electric power. It offers a good ride height, nicely damped against bumps in the road, with light steering - it's about as easy to drive as it could get. The visibility out of the back isn't as good as it could be, but with rear cameras for parking, it's not too hard to slip it into a supermarket parking bay.

There's a 77kWh (net) battery in the ID.5, with a 128kW motor (174PS) driving the rear wheels on the Pro. The Pro Performance gets the same battery with a 150kW motor (204PS) for a little more power, while the GTX also has the same battery, but has a 220kW dual motor arrangement (299PS) - so it's also all-wheel drive.

At that entry-level model, you're looking at a 0-62mph time of 10.4 seconds, dropping down to 6.1 seconds by the time you get to the top of the range GTX. These aren't blisteringly fast when compared to a Tesla Model Y or Kia EV6, for example, and some might find that entry model a little vanilla to drive, but it's also the most affordable.

Talking of affordability, its ID.4 sibling is available with a 52kWh battery, which makes it much more affordable - though of course you're sacrificing range with that drop in battery capacity.

Talking of range, VW cites a 327-mile range from the Pro, which is pretty respectable - competitive even - although you'd demand that sort of range at the ID.5's asking price. The similarly-priced Ford Mustang Mach-E can't reach that sort of range, so the ID.5 gets something right in this regard.

On the road, the range you'll get will depend on a number of factors, not least your driving style. To help boost your efficiency, there are both D (drive) and B (battery) modes, the latter offering slightly strong regen options, better for stop-start one-pedal driving.

The averages we got from the VW ID.5 over the long-term came in at closer to 4.1 miles per kWh, which would give you around 315 miles. As we've said, a lot depends on how you drive.

Verdict

The VW ID.5 presents itself as a sporty version of the ID.4, stripping away the smaller battery option and making it look a little more expensive. It's competitive in terms of its range, but the power on the entry-level model doesn't give you a hugely exciting drive, if that's what you're looking for.

It's a good-looking car, however, with that coupé styling making it slightly more appealing than the ID.4. But in a segment where the competition is huge - not least from models within the VW family - the Audi Q4 e-tron Sportback (similarly priced) and the Skoda Enyaq Coupé (cheaper) both have the same battery and slightly perkier acceleration.

Then you have the competition from Hyundai with the Ioniq 5 (cheaper), and Kia with the EV6 (also cheaper) - both offering a similar battery capacity and a more enticing performance.

This means the ID.5 slots into a strange position as an attractive car, with plenty to offer, but facing fierce rivalry. We like the ID.5 - we like its style, and how simple and fuss-free it is to drive, but interior tech could be better and it feels a little too expensive compared to the competition.

24 April 2023, 10:36 | Views: 666

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