The Volkswagen ID.5 is the ‘coupe-SUV’ version of the Volkswagen ID.4 – the refined electric driving experience remains, along with most car controls being accessed via the touchscreen.
When the Volkswagen ID.4 SUV first appeared it brought a spacious, refined electric SUV to the market. We now have the Volkswagen ID.5, which is essentially an ID.4 with a ‘fastback’ body style. So does the ID.5 still have the same appeal that the ID.4 had when it was launched?
The basics of the ID.5 are shared with the ID.4. This means a bespoke electric vehicle platform with rear-wheel drive (or all-wheel drive), and in the case of our test car, a battery in the floor with a usable capacity of 77 kWh and an electric motor producing 174 PS of power.
The interior is also similar; the main difference between the two cars is the ID.5’s rear coupe roofline. Although you lose some height in the boot compared to the ID.4, you still end up with a good-sized luggage space offering 549 litres of space, or 1,561 litres with the seats down.
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It will come as no surprise that the overall driving experience of the ID.5 is similar to that of the ID.4. This means lots of good news. The ID.5 is quiet and very refined, and the rear-wheel drive chassis delivers a rewarding driving experience rather than the wheelspin and torque steer that’s typically found in a front-wheel drive EV. The ID.5 also has a comfortable ride quality on most road surfaces, although bumps seemed to transmit into the car more than was the case with the ID.4, presumably due to the ID.5’s large 20-inch alloys and relatively low profile tyres.
The responses from the electric powertrain are good thanks to 174 PS of power and 310 Nm of torque. The gear selector is on the right-hand side of the driver’s instrument display, and you can select ‘B’ to increase the level of brake regeneration.
So, like the ID.4, the ID.5 is basically a good car, but there some challenges with the way that the driver has to access basic car controls.
Firstly, let’s talk about drive modes. When you’re driving, you often want to change drive modes fairly quickly. Cars from brands such as BMW have a physical drive mode switch that’s next to the driver’s seat – you press ‘Sport’ for example, and the drive mode changes instantly to give you sharper responses.
In the ID.5 there’s no physical ‘one-touch’ drive mode switch. Most of the ID.5’s car controls are located in the touchscreen, but there are four main physical shortcut buttons under the central touchscreen: P Menu, Clima, Assist and Mode.
If you press the Mode button, it doesn’t change the drive mode, but instead brings up drive mode options on the touchscreen. Two main drive mode options are presented: Comfort or Eco (as well as Individual). The ID.5 appears to be a ‘sporty’ version of the ID.4, so we would have expected a ‘Sport’ drive mode option. However, this wasn’t available on this screen – but if you manage to spot three small lines on the right of the screen this brings up more sub-menus, and in here there’s an option to choose Driving Dynamics, which allows you to select Sport. That’s a lot of button-pressing to select a drive mode. There’s also a sub-menu for ‘Drive’, which confusingly gives the option of Comfort or Eco, but not Sport. The ID.5 needs the option of a Sport drive mode, because the throttle response isn’t great in Comfort or Eco modes. But trying to select a drive mode is much harder work than it should be.
We offer no apologies for delving into the detail of this, because the ID.5 is potentially a great car but is spoilt by all car controls being on the touchscreen (as per most other car brands), but the system to access these controls on the ID.5 doesn’t appear to have been intelligently thought through to be easy for the driver.
It’s a similar story for the lane departure warning (LDW) system. We appreciate that EU law says that cars must have lane departure warning systems, but many drivers that we speak to find the intervention of the system on the steering extremely frustrating, and potentially dangerous – and we would agree with this view.
Like the access to the driving modes screen, there’s also a shortcut ‘Assist’ button for the ID.5’s driving assistance features. If you press this, you get a helpful visual of the car surrounded by graphics of eg. white lines. If you press the white line then you’re taken to another screen where you can press another button to switch off the LDW system. Then you have to press another button to get back to the screen you were on previously. You have to do this every time you get in the car. With all the time taken looking at the screen to find out how to switch the LDW system off, you’re more likely to have crashed than if the LDW system wasn’t on the car in the first place.
And then there’s the climate controls. Every time we got in the ID.5 it seemed to be doing its own, different thing with setting the cabin temperature. To take back control, yes, there’s a ‘Clima’ shortcut button to access the climate controls, but options for quickly pressing a button to control the cabin heating, fan settings and ventilation are limited.
If you’re looking for a chargepoint on the satnav you can click on one on the map and it brings up more details about it; if you want to look for another chargepoint it’s a long process to go back through the buttons to bring up the chargepoint options again. And the satnav completely failed to show a motorway closure which resulted in a two-hour delay to a journey.
And by the way, if you’re looking for the windscreen demisting switch, it’s hidden to the right of the steering wheel amongst the light switches. And there’s still the issue of the ID.5 only having two switches on the driver’s door for all four electric windows – there’s a third button that you need to press to toggle between controlling the front and rear windows. Wouldn’t it be easier for the customer to just stick with four individual window switches?
There’s a blue button on the right-hand side of the touchscreen to take you to different options on the screen and you end up pressing this all the time in order to access the controls you need. There’s a ‘home screen’ which gives you boxes showing a map, radio controls, phone and charging information. Virtually all new cars have most of their controls on the touchscreen, and the solution to making this work is having sensible, easily-accessible shortcut buttons – which the ID.5 doesn’t have.
But perhaps the most annoying thing about the ID.5 was that in response to normal conversation between passengers, the car kept saying “What do you want to do?”. To stop the car talking to you, you either have to press the voice control button on the steering wheel or say “cancel”.
There’s a lot of coverage in the media at the moment about drivers not being allowed to be distracted by mobile phones, but we wonder why no-one is picking up on the distractions caused to drivers by the latest infotainment systems in cars?
Volkswagen says that the ID.5 is equipped with the latest version of the ID. software, which facilitates over-the-air updates to provide a continually improving user experience – so let’s hope this happens.
The Volkswagen ID.5 Tech 77 kWh Pro 174 PS has a WLTP electric driving range of 313 miles. You could expect a real-world range of around 260-280 miles.
The ID.5 has a maximum rapid charging rate of 135 kW. A 135 kW rapid charge from 0% to 80% should take 29 minutes, and a 7.2 kW home charge from 0% to 100% should take 12 hours 40 minutes, or 7 hours 30 minutes (to 100%) using an 11 kW (3-phase) electricity supply.
A heat pump is an option costing £1,050, although this is standard on Max and GTX Max trim levels.
Note that you don’t get a charging cable as standard with the ID.5 that you can use to charge from a 3-pin socket (which didn’t help with charging the car when our home charger broke).
However, in more positive news, the ID.5 is Volkswagen’s first vehicle with a bi-directional charging function. With this technology, the ID.5 can feed electricity it doesn’t need back into the customer’s home network and, in future, will also be able to return electricity to the grid when possible.
Electric cars do not charge at their maximum charge rate for an entire charging session – their charge rate typically starts off high with a battery with a low state of charge, then the charge rate decreases as the battery charge increases. See the charge curve for the Volkswagen ID.5 from Fastned:
The Volkswagen ID.5 Tech 77 kWh Pro 174 PS costs £53,165. Our test car had the options of a heat pump (£1,050), 20-inch alloy wheels (£500) and Blue Dusk Metallic paint (£685) taking the price as tested to £55,400.
Trim levels for the ID.5 are Style, Tech, Max, GTX Style and top of the range GTX Max; the ID.5 GTX has four-wheel drive.
There is a single 77 kWh battery option, and three power outputs to choose from – 174 PS Pro, 204 PS Pro Performance and 299 PS GTX.
The ID.5 Tech is anticipated to be the top-selling ID.5 trim, and is expected to take around half of UK sales. The top-selling powertrain – also projected to take around 50% of UK sales – is the 77 kWh, 174 PS Pro.
The Volkswagen ID.5 is essentially a good car – all the basics are there: refinement, performance, comfortable ride, rear-wheel drive handling, decent driving range, and it’s spacious. The ID.5’s one main issue is that virtually all car controls are on the touchscreen without a user-friendly way to access all the controls. The Audi Q4 e-tron is based on the same platform as the ID.5, so it’s also good to drive, but it has sensible physical shortcut buttons for the infotainment system and for the climate controls, and as a result it’s so much easier to navigate around the basic car controls.
We’ve previously reviewed the Volkswagen ID.4 and the ID.4 GTX and we’ve awarded both cars 10/10 – despite noting the issues with the infotainment system. With the ID.5 coming later, and with Volkswagen’s claim about being able to update the ID.5 over the air, we expected some improvement to the usability of the basic car controls, but this hasn’t happened. As a result it feels a real challenge to control the car’s basic functions and therefore the Volkswagen ID.5 loses one star and is awarded a Green Car Guide rating of 9 out of 10.