Open gallery Close by Autocar 4 November 2022 Follow @@autocar Share
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A model range which starts at a mite over £50,000 doesn’t feel especially ‘people’s car’, yet that’s exactly where the Volkswagen ID 5 sits.
As the name suggests, it’s the latest in company’s electrical onslaught, though its styling – from most angles – isn’t a vast departure from the Volkswagen ID 4 that came before it. It’s one of those oh-so-fashionable crossover coupes, only in the world of EVs they do at least provide a slight aerodynamical benefit for a mite more range. You’ll just pay handsomely for the benefit – like-for-like, an ID 5 is about six grand more than an ID 4, though the gap closes up on the leasing market.
Not having paddles to cycle through levels of brake regen makes the ID 5 feel more aloof than rivals, and you engage it with less as a result
Still, people obviously love these things, otherwise sensible brands like Skoda and Volvo wouldn’t have jumped aboard the trend. And the ID 5 is a likeable take on the formula, if a little bland in some of its detailing. A softer-edged car makes a change from the industry’s broader obsession with aesthetic aggression, though, so let’s chalk up the friendlier lines of this car as a win.
Unlike the ID 4, all versions pack VW’s larger 77kWh battery, giving every ID 5 a WLTP range over 300 miles, though VW’s proud claims that it’ll charge at 135kW pale in comparison to the 350kW proffered by its gaggle of rivals from Hyundai, Kia and Genesis. All of which are spun from a similar platform-sharing philosophy to the one VW helped pioneer decades ago.
The range kicks off with a pair of rear-wheel-drive variants – the 172bhp Pro and 201bhp Pro Performance – and is topped by the ID 5 GTX, a 295bhp AWD performance version that helps launch a new suffix that’ll be slapped on numerous sporty (well, sportier) EVs.
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We’ve driven them all, but perhaps it’s most prudent to focus on the cheapest, given that its 327-mile range is equal-best in the range but at the lowest price, even if saving £25 a month over its more powerful sibling feels token when you’re already stumping up around £700.
Given both RWD ID 5s share the same 229lb ft peak torque, they feel very similar in an urban environment, accelerating with the same modesty out of junctions and away from the lights – there are no jaw-dropping EV theatrics when you’ve got a single motor in a 2.1-tonne car – and handling with similar deftness. While there’s little in the way of outright fun here, the steering is light, quick and easily read and the benefits of its rear-driven platform are clear, understeer taking more commitment (or clumsiness) to unearth.
It’s above 50mph where the greater power-to-weight ratio of the Pro Performance – 95bhp per tonne versus 81, saving a whole two seconds to 62mph – comes to the fore. Its extra cash justifies itself on slip-roads and during rural overtakes, especially given I compared the two sat on my own in the car. Full of families and their paraphernalia, the Pro Performance’s additional power will feel more starkly welcome.
It’s at this point I should also reference the GTX, which looks good value at £56,460 considering the power hike involved; a performance electric SUV remains a true mish-mash of genres on paper – and one we should definitely argue the merits of elsewhere – but the reality is it’s the most charming version of the ID 5. Albeit one that’ll be chosen by the minority.