Don't be afraid of the big tour: VW ID.5 is suitable for everyday use and excursions

The VW ID.

Don't be afraid of the big tour: VW ID.5 is suitable for everyday use and excursions

The VW ID.5 is intended to be the modern electric family car for the more demanding distances. In general, this works very well, but it is annoying in detail, especially with the sometimes cumbersome operation. However, the electric crossover scores with a range suitable for everyday use.

The electric crossover ID.5 is a real VW in many ways - approachable, with solid technology and pleasing handling. But it is precisely when it comes to usability - a core competency of the brand for a long time - that the problem comes up. However, this only slightly clouds the overall positive impression of the long-distance Stromer.

With the ID family, VW set out to bring e-mobility into the mainstream of society. So far, this has only worked moderately for various reasons. First software problems delayed the market launch, then Corona and supply chain problems hampered production. As a result, the ID.5 and the sister model ID.4, which was also assessed by the Federal Motor Transport Authority, had to be content with a manageable 15,000 new registrations in Germany in the first ten months of 2022.

This is not due to a fundamentally poor quality of the electric SUVs. Rather, the ID.5 presents itself as valuable and solid at first glance. The rounded body with well-placed, sharp sheet metal folds and the 19- to 21-inch rims give the five-door Tiguan format a powerful presence. Fine headlights and taillights with beautifully chiselled technical interiors, recessed door handles and the coupé-like hatchback add a dash of modern lightness.

Inside, VW has upgraded the plastic wasteland, which was harshly criticized in the technically closely related ID.3 sedan, with leather and piano lacquer, so that the ambience is now at an appropriate level for this price class, also thanks to the cleverly placed lighting accents. When it comes to space, the ID is beyond criticism anyway. All seats are airy and have plenty of legroom. Because there is no center tunnel, the middle rear seat is also easy to use. In row one, you benefit from this e-car peculiarity with a very spacious cargo box between the seats. The crossover boasts shelves, and the trunk is even larger than in the VW Passat station wagon. The fact that there is no frunk under the front hood is hardly a problem, even if the charging cable could be stowed better there than under the double loading floor at the back.

The interior, on the other hand, causes problems in the details. Other VW series have already received criticism for the poor feedback and fiddly touch switches on the multifunction steering wheel, the volume setting and the light control. The ID.5 goes one better by making the control unit in the armrest or on the door handle unnecessarily complicated. For example, there are only two power window switches and behind them a touch surface that switches between operating the front and rear window pairs. The mirror adjustment and setting the child safety lock are anything but intuitive.

With this in mind, one has the worst fears when one turns to infotainment controls. However, these are only partially confirmed. The menu structure still takes some getting used to, the language assistant is pedantic and the touch areas are sometimes too small. But speed and stability are right now. The dynamic route and charging stop planning turned out to be helpful on long journeys, which lacks clarity and depth of information, but on long journeys it calms the last bit of range anxiety through understandable and regularly adjusted refueling strategies.

You really don't need to panic before the big tour in the ID crossover. At least not in the tested variant with 77 kWh in the battery. As usual, the standard value of 534 kilometers can only be reached when crawling on a warm spring day in the lowlands, but a stable 350 kilometers of motorway range is also possible uphill and at temperatures around freezing point.

Most users will find themselves somewhere between these two poles in everyday life - and should be fine with that. Also, because charging is not extremely fast, but works with sufficient speed. The battery system can handle a maximum of 135 kW, in the test it was between 75 and 100 kW with a relatively empty and warmed-up battery at fast charging stations from different operators. In the latter case, just under half an hour is enough for charging up to the 80 percent calibration mark.

The e-drive shows its advantages on the road: Good torque, no vibrations and hardly any driving noise - you can hardly get around more relaxed in a car. The ID drives briskly and confidently, but without the force you are used to from other electric cars. The rather stiff chassis is only slightly uncomfortable when driving slowly and on bad roads, which is also due to the 21-inch wheels mounted on the test car. On the other hand, the loaded crossover, which weighs more than two and a half tons, glides snugly and bindingly on the asphalt on level ground.

As far as the electric drive and the battery are concerned, the ID.5 offers solid mass-market technology in the best Volks-Wagen sense. Not a technological top product, but suitable and easily sufficient for most purposes. When it comes to the price, on the other hand, the closeness to the people is becoming a thing of the past: the SUV coupé is currently available in the tested "Pro" or "Pro Performance" version with a large battery, rear-wheel drive and 128 kW/174 hp or 150 kW/204 hp. The weaker variant costs at least 48,000 euros, the stronger 49,000 euros. After deducting the reduced e-car premium, if you get it, there will still be a good 44,000 euros left over the coming year.

The equipment is then at least reasonably complete, the only worthwhile options missing for 1000 euros each are the better navigation system with online connection and the heat pump for efficient heating of the interior.

Aside from the price, the ID.5 fully lives up to VW's claim of building cars for mainstream society. Ambience, processing, drive and everyday range just fit. All the more annoying are the weaknesses in operation and infotainment, which the brand has not been used to for a long time - which can only partially be remedied in the future by radio software updates.

Specifications VW ID.5 Pro Performance

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