Review: Volkswagen electric ID.5 a great family vehicle where performance meets practicality

Volkswagen ID.5
This car takes all the work out of driving which some will love, but others may find discombobulating. Photo credit: Supplied

If you're looking for an electric vehicle that's practical, spacious, stylish and ideal for transporting the family from A to B, with all the benefits that come with a more sustainable vehicle, Volkswagen's electric ID range could be a serious contender.

The 100 percent electric SUVs arrived in Aotearoa in September, introducing another option for Kiwi consumers tempted by the previous Government's Clean Car Discount. The range is a step towards Volkswagen's commitment to sustainable mobility, with a goal to become net carbon-neutral by 2050.

After spending a couple of days with the ID.5, the latest addition to the electric lineup, I can attest to Volkswagen's claims of space, range, technology and performance, bridging the gaps between SUV and coupé - with my test model comfortably ticking all the boxes.

The German marque has hailed its ID range as the perfect accoutrement to the modern lifestyle; a smart and stylish vehicle that gets you from A to B, but is also practical enough to carry around the kids and their sporting equipment without much of a squeeze. It's also a smooth and comfortable ride that transported my partner and I through the notoriously serpentine Waitakere Ranges safely and securely with barely a bump. 

As the owner of a manual Toyota Vitz with minimal EV experience, the ID.5 was ridiculously simple to drive, making otherwise tricky roads child's play and handling motorway manoeuvres with ease. While driving through the Waitakeres would usually involve many a hill start and near-constant gear changes, I simply twiddled the wheel and pressed the brake - the car does the rest.

The ID.5 also has lane-keep assist, which helps keep you securely between the lines if you find yourself drifting while changing the radio station or adjusting the A/C. The gentle tugging on the wheel can feel a little foreign for those of us with older, less technologically advanced vehicles, but it's handy tech that can be toggled off if necessary. 

A perfect analogy for the ID.5's 'press-and-go' approach are the 'play' and 'pause' symbols on the accelerator and brake pedals - just in case you forget which is which. This is a car that assumes you're an incapable driver, and quite literally takes the wheel. Aside from not having Autopilot functions like the controversial Tesla, it basically does the driving for you.

Volkswagen ID.5 Pro+
Photo credit: Supplied

For most drivers, the smooth, quiet comfort of the ID.5 and its ease-of-use would be nothing short of a dream; and while it was a very dramatic departure from my day-to-day driving, my one complaint is that cars like the ID.5 can feel a little, dare I say, boring. 

If you're considering an upgrade to an ID having enjoyed sportier, sassier rides in the past, you will likely find the change of pace a little bewildering. My left foot was constantly going for the clutch and my left hand felt very left out of the action. It's the kind of cushy comfort that can feel strangely foreign if it's not what you're used to; why is my car not stalling? It really depends on what you value in a vehicle.

This is not to say the ID.5 is slow by any means. The Pro+ offers a powerful performance, reaching 100km/h in just over eight seconds, but 100km/h in a somewhat stately SUV with all the bells and whistles isn't quite the same as hurtling along, changing into fifth, and actively driving the vehicle - rather than the vehicle driving you.

The ID comes equipped with a raft of tech, also designed to make driving that little bit easier. From a wireless charger to Apple CarPlay, interactive navigation, climate control and an intuitive 12-inch touchscreen display with voice control, the ID likes to make sure you and your passengers are taken care of. There were a few minor issues with the touchscreen, primarily that navigating between different functions could be a little confusing, as well as a tendency for the voice control system to occassionally misinterpret a general comment as a command.

The ID.5 also turns on intuitively, sensing your presence as you sit in the driver's seat, key fob in hand, and 'waking up' with the press of the brake pedal. Just put the car in Drive and off you go.

Then there's the Adaptive Cruise Control, perhaps one of the most useful driver assistance systems. Simply specify your maximum speed and the system helps you adhere to it - and not exceed it - within the limits of the system. It will slow down when there's a car in front and a minimum following distance is automatically maintained - see what I'm getting at?

Volkswagen ID.5 Pro+
Photo credit: Supplied

Other notable features of the ID.5 include a 360-degree camera and Area View Monitor, as well as Side Assist (a blind-spot monitor) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Side Assist uses a light signal to warn you if there's a vehicle hovering out of your field of vision, giving you that extra bit of confidence - particularly on Auckland's notoriously haphazard motorways.

For tricky parking situations, meanwhile, Rear Cross Traffic Alert alerts you if potential hazards are approaching from the side. It's sort of like having a hyper-aware backseat driver with you 24/7 (I should note at this point that the majority of these functionalities can be toggled on or off).

For someone with a car sans reversing camera, the 360-view is a real treat, coming in very handy when navigating narrow spaces or tight parks. It essentially provides a birds-eye view of your vehicle on the display screen, revealing just how close the car is to the sides of the driveway, for example, or neighbouring vehicles. 

Volkswagen ID.5 Pro+ interior
Photo credit: Supplied

Now for the important stuff: charging and range. The ID.5 has a WLTP range of 530km, while the slightly older model, the ID.4, offers a WLTP range of 519km. To put that into perspective, I had the ID.5 for four days and got plenty of use out of it, driving in traffic, residentially, on the motorway, and from Devonport to the Waitakere Ranges and back, and still had a decent amount of juice - of course, all while maintaining zero CO2 emissions. 

While I didn't need to charge my model during the loan period, the 77kWh battery is designed to charge quickly and intelligently. The fastest charge is via a 125kW DC Super-Fast Charger, which will take you from zero to 80 percent in 40 minutes. A domestic AC 3-point plug (1.7kW) will get you from flat to full in 49 hours, while a WallBox charger (7.2kW) will get you to 100 percent battery in approximately 12 hours. 

Volkswagen ID.5 Pro+
Photo credit: Supplied

To briefly cover the ID.5 from an aesthetic angle, the car itself is very easy on the eye. Its elegant design is sleek, streamlined and futuristic, combining the aerodynamic silhouette of a coupé with the strengths of an SUV, with ID-exclusive 19-inch HAMAR Alloy wheels. Plus, there's ambient lighting inside and out, spanning 30 colours, which added a little something extra to my colourway - moonstone grey with a black roof.

All in all, my verdict on the Volkswagen 5 is this: if you're looking for a more sustainable vehicle that's ideal for family life, road-trips and day-to-day duties, the ID range could have the vehicle for you. If you live a fast-paced, booked-and-busy lifestyle and need a little less stress in your day, the ID.5's quiet confidence, serene, airy cabin and stress-free handling will undoubtedly make a difference to your daily commutes. 

With safety measures in spades (and a 5-star ANCAP safety rating), a spacious interior and plenty of tech to ensure everyone is happy, the ID.5 in particular presents a striking performance vehicle with all the modern comforts - and it looks damn nice in the driveway. 

Volkswagen's 'electric trade-in' $14,000 discount offer extended 

If you are in the market for a Volkswagen ID, good news: with the new Government announcing the end of the clean car discount on December 31, Volkswagen is extending an electric trade-in offer on the ID range.

The 'electric trade-in offer' invites customers to bring in any electric item that may be gathering dust, whether it's an old iron, modem, air fryer or keyboard, and receive $7000 off on a new ID vehicle in addition to the current clean car rebate of $7015 - amounting to a $14,000 discount. All electrical items will be sustainably recycled, and it's hoped the offer will incentivise the purchase of Volkswagen's sustainable offerings. 

With an electric trade-in item, the ID range starts at $65,975.

Pro vs Pro+ 

The ID.5 is available in a Pro and Pro+ model - my loan vehicle was a Pro+. There is essentially no difference between the two under the hood, with the same electric range and energy consumption, but the Pro+ offers a few upgrades in terms of interior and exterior, such as the front LED light bar, a variable luggage compartment, and a Climatronic 3-zone air conditioning system as opposed to 2-zone. The Pro+ also comes with a massage feature in the front seats, which are also power-adjustable with memory function and an electronically adjustable lumbar support.

The only other major difference is the Pro comes with a standard six speakers (front and rear), while the Pro+ is equipped with a premium sound system spanning six speakers, a 12-channel digital amplifier and subwoofer. So if you're serious about your on-road tunes, this could tip the Pro+ in your favour.

Specs (Pro and Pro+)

Price: The ID.5 Pro is available for a maximum retail price of $86,490, while the ID.5 Pro+ sells for a maximum of $95,490. 

Maximum power: 150kw 

Maximum torque: 310nm

Drivetrain: Rear wheel drive

Transmission: Single speed reduction gear

Battery capacity: 77kwh (net)

Luggage capacity: Rear seats up -  549L; Rear seats folded - 1561L

Ground clearance: 163mm.

Lana Andelane was loaned a Volkswagen ID.5 Pro+ for the purposes of this review.