Volkswagen ID 5 long-term test: report 7

The Volkswagen ID 5 is intended to be a more stylish alternative to traditional electric SUVs – does it succeed? Our used cars editor is living with one to find out...

Volkswagen ID 5 side panning

The car Volkswagen ID 5 77kWh Pro Performance Style Run by Mark Pearson, used cars editor

Why it’s here To see how the pricey Volkswagen ID 5 stands up against its many polished rivals in this highly competitive class

Needs to Show that it’s more than just a pretty face. It’ll need to deal with commuting, work and family life without any range anxiety issues and cope with a wide variety of everyday duties

Miles covered 5768 Price £52,185 Target Price £50,513 Price as tested £54,960 Test range 260 miles Official range 315 miles

24 July 2023 – Start me up

My Volkswagen ID 5 is one of the growing breed of electric cars that can turn themselves on when you get in. Yup, that’s right – no need to insert a key into an ignition barrel or even to go to all that effort of pressing a starter button. If you have the key on you, the ID 5 just starts up as if by magic when you sit in the driver’s seat.

Naturally, it will also turn itself off when you press ‘P’ for Park on the stubby gearlever. However, hundreds of years of turning cars off the conventional way before getting out has made it hard for me to trust in this method; I reckon I’m not alone, because Volkswagen also fits a start-stop button, even though it’s not necessary to use this.

Volkswagen ID 5 driving position

In addition, my ID 5 has that most desirable of features: keyless entry. You can approach the car (again, with the keys about your person) and the doors will unlock themselves – useful when carrying bags of shopping back from the supermarket. Be warned, though, the doors don’t automatically lock when you walk away. Instead, you have to press the key fob.

The ID 5’s gearlever is another thing that takes a bit of getting used to. I admit it’s a good thing to dispense with a great, big, clumsy stick between the front seats and liberate a bit of space, but this one is hidden behind the steering wheel. As a result, you operate it by feel rather than through sight, and I should imagine anyone getting into the car for the first time would be entirely lost looking for it.

Volkswagen ID 5 with shopping in boot

That said, a clear readout on the digital instrument screen makes it easy to see whether you’re in Drive, Neutral, Reverse, Park or B mode. The latter maximises the amount of energy the car recovers under braking, with the side effect that the car slows dramatically when you lift off the accelerator pedal.

There are also three driving modes: Eco, Comfort and Sport. Or, if you prefer, you can pick and choose your favourite bits from each and save them under Individual mode.

Volkswagen ID 5 driving modes

Personally, I can’t be bothered to do this, and I can’t detect an awful lot of difference between Eco and Comfort, but Sport clearly adds a little more response. For me, though, Sport seems slightly out of character in the ID 5 given that it’s not very … well, sporty. I’ve been defaulting to Comfort, which feels like it suits the car best.

Just one look at the large tyre sidewalls of my car hints it might ride well, and I’m pleased to say it generally does. There’s a hint of jiggle on rougher urban roads, but my ID 5 settles down nicely at higher speeds. It certainly offers a much smoother ride than the likes of the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Polestar 2 or Tesla Model Y.

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