Volkswagen ID. Buzz review: Love Buzz
The computer industry uses the term ‘vapourware’ to describe a product that has been announced, but will seemingly never be delivered.
Given that Volkswagen revealed a concept version of the reborn Type 2 Microbus in 2001, some questioned if the real thing would ever arrive. However, after two decades and several other false-starts, the all-electric ID. Buzz is finally here. Was it worth the wait?
On looks alone, Volkswagen has a hit. Oozing retro charm, especially with the optional two-tone paintwork, the ID. Buzz generates an incredible amount of attention and goodwill. Be prepared for questions in car parks, not to mention people wanting selfies with this classic-in-waiting.
Summer of love
Although it’s shaped like a van (there is a Cargo version available), the ID. Buzz MPV is actually more conventional. It shares a platform with Volkswagen’s electric car range, and has a 77kWh battery powering a 204hp motor on the rear axle. More powerful versions with all-wheel drive are promised for the future.
In the fancier ID. Buzz Style, as tested here, the official figures suggest a driving range of 255 miles. However, recent freezing temperatures saw this drop instantly to 190 miles.
At least the Volkswagen can charge at speeds of up to 170kW, replenishing its battery to 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes. Plans for cruising the country in a summer of love will need to factor in plenty of charging stops.
Doors and drawers
Until a seven-seat version arrives later this year, the ID. Buzz is strictly a five-seat MPV. The back bench is disappointingly conventional, splitting and folding, but without the ability to remove individual seats.
The sliding rear doors are a massive bonus, though, and a reminder of why MPVs can beat SUVs for practicality. USB charging points and storage cubbies are dotted around the cabin, too.
The bonus of only having five seats is a boot that can be accurately described as ‘cavernous’. It holds 1,121 litres with the rear seats up, and boasts a clever split-level floor in Style trim. This comes with neat drawers beneath the load area, which are perfect for storing charging cables. Compared to an equivalent electric SUV, the ID. Buzz comes up trumps for luggage space.
Seeing the light
In the front, the ID. Buzz has a minimalist design, with most functions controlled through a central infotainment screen. As with many of its VW peers, this is a frustrating process, although there are buttons beneath to quickly access certain settings. A vast amount of natural light helps the interior feel even more accommodating.
Big windows also help with placing the ID. Buzz on the road, as its 2.2-metre width requires your attention. The rest of the driving experience is smooth sailing, though, with instant torque from the electric motor and light, accurate steering.
Optional 21-inch alloy wheels made the ride feel a little unsettled on our test car, but the overall vibe is one of calming comfort.
Somewhat less relaxing are ID. Buzz prices. The entry-level Life version starts from £57,115, with the Style at £61,915. Including options, our Buzz came in at an eye-watering £69,265, which feels like an awful lot of money for a five-seat people carrier.
In practical terms, the biggest threat to the ID. Buzz comes from within. The Volkswagen Multivan offers a more versatile interior (including seven seats) and is cheaper to buy. It may lack an electric drivetrain, but you can choose a plug-in hybrid option.
Still, for those who love the style and image of classic air-cooled VWs, we suspect only the ID. Buzz will do. Even with the limitations of this launch version, Volkswagen won’t have a problem finding customers, such is the strength of feeling towards it. In a head versus heart battle, nostalgia is always likely to win the day, especially after such a long wait.
John Redfern writes for Motoring Research
PRICE: From £57,115
TOP SPEED: 90mph
BATTERY SIZE: 77kWh