Volkswagen ID 5 long-term test

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 with Mark sitting in front of it

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 7403 Price £52,185 Target Price £50,513 Price as tested £54,960 Test range 220-260 miles Official range 315 miles Private price £33,760 Dealer price £37,980

6 September 2023 – Fashion (turn to the left)

How often are we led astray by our eyes? I could have settled for the Volkswagen ID 4, a neatly contemporary and impressively versatile all-electric SUV that would have suited my modest needs perfectly, but six months ago, when I was hunting for a new car, I was swayed by its coupe-styled sibling, the ID 5

You see the ID 5 is more or less an ID 4 with a steeply sloped rear end and a slightly higher price tag. I liked it, but being aware that style is not really my bag I enlisted the help of my teenage daughter and one of her friends to confirm if its looks were also a hit with Gen Z. They enjoyed sharing the catwalk with it but in the end were non-committal on the car. Its rear may be swoopy but its chin is, as Oscar Wilde remarked, worn a little high. 

Volkswagen ID 5 goodbye shot

Never mind the looks, then, I can be more positive about the rest of it. It was quiet, refined and efficient and it fulfilled its brief by dispatching family, work and everyday duties with equal abandon. 

More importantly, as this was my first time running an electric car, its range and efficiency were also good enough to ward off the dreaded range anxiety. My ID 5 actually has a decent official range of 315 miles from a full charge, but I found in practice its usual and useful range at somewhere between 220 and 260 miles, depending on the weather and allowing for a little left in the tank to quell unease. Its overall efficiency figure of 3.7 miles per kWh was pretty good, too. 

Volkswagen ID 5 charging outside house

There were other things to admire. I liked the digital instrument pod that moved with the neat steering wheel, the pleasing driving position, the comfortable ride, the useful keyless entry system, the automatic start-up when you sat in the driver’s seat and, perhaps most of all, the generous amount of space in the interior and the very practical boot. 

Things I wasn’t so keen on included the rather cheap feel to the interior fittings – especially the haptic buttons – the rear visibility through the small rear window, especially when it was wet, and the laggy infotainment system.

Volkswagen ID 5 and infotainment screen

I also had a few occasions where the car refused to start up when I first got in it, although turning it on and off a couple of times usually cleared it. The same was true for the infotainment system, which could also randomly stop working. The difficult-to-find controls for changing the climate control’s temperature were a thing of utter frustration, too, and I also grew to hate the extremely loud warning sensors that go off to the front, rear and sides to alert you that you’re near a wall or a pillar or whatever. Even though I enlisted the help of younger, brighter members of the What Car? team, I couldn’t find out how to turn them down or off.

There were also a number of occasions where the safety features would beep in annoyance, and occasionally even come into operation, long after the potential problem had passed. Oh, and the lane-keep assistance was an intrusive pain that had to be turned off at the start of every journey by going through the touchscreen.

Volkswagen ID 5 panning shot

The only other issues I encountered were a broken piece of trim on the front seat runner, which I presume I must have caught while getting in or out, and some bodywork repairs that were needed after someone knocked into it when it was parked in a supermarket car park.

Minor niggles, and sensors apart, the ID 5 was a quiet and unassuming companion. If I were shopping for similar again I might cast a glance first at rivals like the Audi Q4 e-tronSkoda Enyaq and the Tesla Model Y, though, all of which have much better interiors. The fact that all three are also cheaper would probably hold my glance for even longer than that, and maybe even guide my chequebook, but what did I say at the beginning about being led astray?

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