does it match the “real” Combi? –

Combi is “dead”, long live ID.Buzz! Although the mythical T1 and T2 are no longer in production, they are still among the most iconic cars of all time. And most desirable too. It is therefore no coincidence that Volkswagen decided to reinvent its star in the all-electric era.

The new ID.Buzz is designed to stay true to the spirit of the original van while bringing it fully into the 21st century. Risky bet but apparently successful, as we saw in our test of this electric Combi. Sorry, this Volkswagen ID.Buzz.

It’s like a Combi… but different

In this last rainy autumn, we went in the direction of Lisbon to discover ID.Buzz in its natural element. On the edge of the ocean, feet in the sand, with the sound of (big) waves that are very popular with surfers. Seventy-two years after the release of the first VW Bus and half a century after its iconic status peace and lovethe van has lost none of its appeal, on the contrary.

Volkswagen ID.Buzz

From the first sight, “it’s a game” ! If some rumors have similarities with the Multivan (especially at the rear), ID.Buzz cannot hide its relationship with T1. This is particularly visible through the two-tone bodywork (optional), with vibrant colors (orange, yellow, blue or green, like our test version) that contrast with the bright white smile of the van. At the front, we can also see the hypertrophied logo, which inevitably recalls the original Combi, while the 3 bars combined on the side at the back evoke the ventilation grilles of the past…

Inside, the environment is quite different with many technological additions (we’ll come back to this), but Volkswagen claims the use of reduced glass surfaces… just like in the T1! Nothing to interfere with visibility, however, ID.Buzz is designed to be comfortable on a daily basis. And that’s exactly what we want to check on Portuguese roads.

Electric ID.Buzz van test

The ID.Buzz, a car that makes you smile

After mentioning the aesthetic considerations, let’s look at the practical aspects of ID.Buzz. While we obviously tend to associate this model with vanlife and sunny road trips, we can mainly consider it a family model.. A new vision of the MPV or even the minivan (no, that’s not a bad word), in a segment currently fallow, occupied only by the Peugeot Rifter, Citroën Berlingo and Ford Tourneo, pending the arrival of the van electric Mercedes Marco Polo or the final version of the Renault Hippie Caviar Motel concept, based on the Kangoo (and recently seen at the Paris Motor Show).

In terms of size, ID.Buzz is not as impressive as you might think. At 4m71 long (for a height of 1m93 and a width of 1m98), it is even 1 centimeter smaller than a Tiguan AllSpace, for example. But thanks to its wheelbase of 2m99, it offers a wonderful room. Furthermore, thanks to the very clear floor, in front and behind, where 3 passengers can take place without getting in the way. And that’s still nothing compared to the XXL volume of the trunk, between 1121 and 2205 liters (with the second row folded down and the flat floor of the MultiFlex panel… optional).

Internal VW ID.Buzz

In terms of life on board, the ID.Buzz is best distinguished by its ample storage space. We especially appreciate the compartments in the doors (front AND rear!), equipped with a non-slip coating and a USB-C port. But above all the ID.Buzz Box (available as standard!) that knows how to make itself indispensable on a daily basis. This large and clever box, located between the two front seats, contains many compartments and plastic dividers that can occasionally be turned into… an ice scraper or bottle opener! Detachable, it leaves a larger front space when removed. And since the ID.Buzz is a fun vehicle, it also hides an engraved planisphere, which should evoke the link that connects this van to travel… A bit like a Jeep, this Easter eggs is not the only thing that can be found in the car and we let you look at the pictures below to try to find other winks from Volkswagen.

If ID.Buzz makes its inhabitants smile, what about the reactions of the people we meet? During the two days of this test, it was impossible to count the number of thumbs up, amused (and obviously flirtatious) looks and curious questions. Volkswagen calls its new toy a “smile generator”; it looks like the bet is win hands down!

electric flower power

Nostalgia, sympathy and ecology are the three words that guided the designers of ID.Buzz throughout its development. Since we’ve covered the first two, let’s see how the thorny environmental topic was tackled…

This iconic van is fully in line with the manufacturer’s Way to Zero decarbonization plan (with carbon neutrality targeted by 2050). The passenger compartment takes pride of place in recycled materials, with leather upholstery of vegetable origin. But of course, it’s what happens under the hood, well under the floor, that makes all the difference compared to the 1950 Combi.

Exit the heat engine, the ID.Buzz is electric, with a propulsion of 150 kw (204 horsepower), delivering a maximum torque of 310 Nm. We see the 77 kWh battery already seen in other members of the ID family (ID.4 and ID.5 at the top), with the newcomer sharing the same MEB technical platform. It’s anything but a detail: the ID.Buzz is designed as a true electric car, not as a thermal model available in electric. This is not without consequences to the efficiency of the vehicle.

With its 2.4 tons in size, one can fear for its consumption and its autonomy. However, by alternating coastal roads and expressways near Lisbon, under changeable weather, our van has been reasonable by oscillating between 18 and 21 kWh. Enough to consider flirting with 400 kilometers before passing a charging station. And because it accepts fast charging of up to 170 kW, the ID.Buzz can go from 5 to 80% in 30 minutes (compared to 7:30 for a full charge in a domestic Wallbox).

Efficient and pleasant, the Volkswagen van strives to deliver driving sensations. From 0 to 100? 10.2 seconds. The maximum speed? Electronically limited to 145 km/h. Engine noise? None (unlike a T1). But is this really what we are looking for in the wheel of such a machine?

On the contrary, the technology makes the ID.Buzz particularly nimble and easy to drive. As in ID.5, we see the Travel Assist driving assistant (now with data exchange), which allows the vehicle to automatically respond to speed limits and adapt to surrounding traffic. With the new software version, overtaking is almost automatic: just activate the turn signal and the maneuver is done by itself. Closer to autonomous driving, the ID.Buzz can also park without outside intervention thanks to the Park Assist Plus function (also tested on the brand’s coupe SUV), which allows you to memorize and copy the last 50 meters from your usual parking lot.

And then, among the most remarkable (and surprising) novelties, we will mention having an LED strip running across the dashboard. It lights up while charging, to announce a smartphone notification, but also (and most importantly) to remind you of the GPS direction. A good point, especially since the infotainment system and its touch interface still struggle to convince us…

A pleasure with a price

After nearly 200 kilometers of travel, we definitely feel good about this ID tire. Buzz, despite a very common “utilitarian” driving position. We imagine that the kilometers are perfectly linked, as a couple or as a family (5), with the trunk full. In the absence of a sunroof (at the moment), it can’t be done in the wind, but never mind! Whether in town, in the narrow streets of Lisbon or Ericeira, the van will be able to get through in style, thanks to its impressive turning radius of only 11m10, almost equal to the Golf 8!

ID.Buzz Electric Combi

Now we come to the potentially sensitive point of this ID.Buzz: the price. While the historic T1 and T2 have seen their prices soar in the second-hand market, The new electric generation has already seen its prices start from €54,990 (€1,000 bonus deducted)… options not included. In particular, you need to add €1,790 for the two-tone paint, €3,350 for the Style Plus Premium interior or even €1,930 for the Open & Close Plus pack (to benefit from the electric tailgate and electric sliding door on the left and right). In total, our trial version, in his White Candy and Green Laurier outfit, saw his bill rise to €68,750… about the same price as the Ford Mustang Mach-E that Vincent tested. A proposal that is obviously very different, but of a car at least as legendary.

Pleasure therefore comes with a price… which enthusiasts seem willing to pay. Three weeks before the official marketing of the ID.Buzz (November 21, 2022 in France), about 2,800 pre-orders have already been made… that is, almost double the amount than the 1,500 registrations recorded by Alfa Romeo in France. in 2021.

In summary, our opinion on electric ID.Buzz

How not to be drawn to this reinterpretation of the Combi? How not to think that Volkswagen has already succeeded? True, this ID.Buzz is not (yet?) perfect. True, its price (from €54,990) makes it a model intended for a specific audience. But after two days behind the wheel, and facing the reactions of passers-by and other motorists, it was clear that this electric van already stirs up all desires.

Comfortable, welcoming, efficient, versatile and very visually successful, the ID.Buzz also makes it possible to offer an exceptional proposition on the market: the new generation minivan that is a pleasant place to live every day, both for the driver and for his passengers. And when we know that 6 and 7-seater and California versions will soon join the range (not before the end of 2023), we can reasonably imagine that the legend of Combi / ID.Buzz still has a bright future…

Electric ID.Buzz Review

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