Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The VN5 is powered by a single 148bhp electric motor that’s mounted at the rear and drives the rear wheels. It offers decent pace once you’re on the move, but you’ll find yourself pressing the accelerator pedal all the way to the floor to get a decent turn of speed away from traffic lights.
The 0-62mph sprint takes 13.2sec, but unlike some vans, the VN5 doesn’t run out of puff accelerating at higher speeds. Indeed, motorway overtakes are a breeze thanks to the van’s instant acceleration. Its top speed is capped at 80mph.
What’s especially impressive is the VN5’s taxi-style turning circle of just 10.1m. That’s far smaller than rivals such as the Citroën Berlingo Electric, Peugeot Partner and Nissan eNV200 and makes manoeuvring the VN5 around tight city streets an absolute doddle.
As with other electric vans, you won’t hear much from the VN5 when it’s cruising around on electric power, aside from a whine from the electric motor when you’re really pressing on. On the motorway, the absence of any engine sound heightens the wind and road noise, but the latter i’s never distracting. And when the 1.5-litre petrol engine is running to generate electricity, all you’ll hear is a steady thrum from up front.
The VN5 has three driving modes to help you maximise your range, too. Save mode switches on the range-extender petrol engine, burning fuel to keep the battery topped up, while Urban switches the engine off and allows the VN5 to draw energy solely from its battery for as long as possible. Smart mixes the two, and in our experience does a good job of keeping the VN5 in purely electric mode around town, before switching the engine on at higher speeds.