What if Volkswagen did the new Beetle trick again? This little magic trick, which relies on everyone’s nostalgic streak to rekindle a car memory from another era, is working again. After launching its first electric models with the ID.3, ID.4 and ID.5, the German brand aims to add some color to its zero-emission range with a model that is original to say the least. ID.Buzz isn’t just buzz in its name.
The revisited version of the mythical Combi of the 1960s is an electric promise for adventurers, couples looking for an escape or van life, but also professionals because ID.Buzz will also be available in a Cargo version. But is it enough to update the old sketches of Bulli, and take the basic architecture of IDs to create a new phenomenon? To realize this, there is nothing better than controlling the animal.
We could have gone to California, to the sound of Mamas and Papas or Creedence, but it was in Portugal, on the shores of Lisbon, that the gods of car trials chose to take us. Regardless of the destination, the journey is what matters and this ID is on board. Buzz, it’s not without interest.
A little Woodstock in our lives
Aesthetically speaking, the ID.Buzz, from Volkswagen, has sudden power. Its rounded features, friendly face and cheerful proportions bear no resemblance to the down-to-earth cars we’ve seen all year. Above all, it embodies the characteristic features of a myth, an automotive legend: the Combi. This one didn’t build its reputation on engine noise or track prowess. No, Combi or Buly is the symbol of a way of life, of a certain state of mind. This image still clings to his skin.
Moreover, there are signs that do not deceive. Rarely in our various trials have we been challenged so much behind the wheel of a vehicle. Not a roundabout without heads turning as we approach, not a stop without onlookers demanding to see ID. Buzz up close, thumbs up as we pass… Undoubtedly, the electric version of the combi enjoys an extraordinary capital of sympathy.
Volkswagen left nothing to chance with the design of this ID.Buzz. Two-tone paint as standard, a V-shaped front to form a smile and a massive stamped logo, the new version of the T1 is an obvious evolution of the one released in 1950. After 72 years, the features have softened , and the The back face got in modernity, it is logical, but the eternal face of Bulli, present.
Life on board: the ID key, winks and maximum space
If the first contact with ID.Buzz couldn’t be more pleasant, what happens when you get on board? First, there is a sense of size, the cabin is particularly spacious. This interior is exact, it is made with many recyclable materials, for upholstery or seat belts for example. The approach is interesting and tends to multiply among car manufacturers, but is not necessarily synonymous with quality. However, some elements of the dashboard are unlike what VW has offered in previous years.
In the end, we are more comfortable installed with this ID.Buzz, leaving time to find everything Easter eggs whose designers are scattered everywhere. Winks abound and will delight die-hard Combi fans. From the single movement of the windscreen wipers to small scratches on the interior plastics, the reminders abound. But Volkswagen’s great idea is not to be content with playing on nostalgia and only offer a modern, electrified version of its van. Indeed, if on the outside everything evokes adventure, on the inside, the German manufacturer thought of its vehicle as a utility. Storage, non-slip coverings, six USB-C ports, shelves for rear passengers… no option is missing. And what about the ID.Box, this ingenious all-purpose box full of gadgets, including an essential bottle opener, which takes place between the two front seats, in place of the traditional gear knob and can be removed to take… to the beach for example. The only downside: the lack of a wide roof that would add more beauty (and light) to the ID.Buzz. This is only temporary. In fact, according to our information, Volkswagen plans to offer this option on next year’s models.
Where the shoe pinches, as it often has in recent years at Volkswagen, is on the technological side, which is particularly important to us. Whether or not we adhere to the dual-screen system (small digital display for instrumentation and large 10-inch screen for infotainment), we can only contend with its ergonomics, its dying OS and its voice assistant that is active according to as he wishes and always when he is not asked. Moreover, it is no coincidence that the VW team has recently reviewed its copy in terms of buttons on the steering wheel by deciding to return to the classic buttons. Unfortunately for ID.Buzz, it suffers at this point from decisions made at group level, before the launch of the latest generation of Golf in 2018. The OS of the ID range has not helped this dangerous situation. However, if this aspect remains frustrating for a lover of new technologies, there is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a functional interface, quite clear in its navigation and benefits from an undeniable advantage: being able to change without even using a CarPlay or Android Auto cable.
The ID. Buzz on the road, what does it give?
The biggest challenge for ID.Buzz is obviously to ignore its weight (2.4 tons) and its dimensions (almost 3 m wheelbase). In fact, the VW van was not helped by its size. Nor can it rely on its relatively modest engine (204 hp and 310 Nm) to compensate for its size and weight. However, despite this initial handicap, the ID.Buzz is great to drive and particularly easy to use.
how? Thanks to a controlled chassis, a relatively precise direction and above all an amazing turning radius (11.1 m) due to the size. Sprinkle all this with well-oiled driving aids (especially for parking) and you get a car that, despite its size, drives very simply. In addition, ID.Buzz integrates the full panoply of level 2 autonomy aids available at VW. Features such as lane change assistance (over 110 km/h) or automatic parking in the last 50 meters, which we had the opportunity to test during our ID.5 test .
On the other hand, you shouldn’t expect any particular emotion from this ID wheel.Buzz. No dazzling acceleration, no seat-sticking recovery… Nothing abnormal, you tell us, this car is made for that. On the other hand, the relatively high driving position and the enormous space up front may remind you of the small truck you rented during your last move.
Autonomy: plan cool trips
In our test version, ID.Buzz had the largest battery that its platform could accommodate. It offers a capacity of 77 kWh, which allows VW to announce some 419 km of autonomy (WLTP). In fact, it is often more limited. Unsurprisingly, the vehicle’s heavy weight (almost 2.5 tons empty) and its “improveable” aerodynamics do not help to lower power consumption. In our testing, we saw an average of 20 kWh/100 km on a mixed route that also took in highways. Expressways, which, in Portugal, are limited to 120 km / h, remember.
Because of this, the autonomy of the ID.Buzz should be changed downwards, between 320 and 350 km with a full battery. As for the charging part, it is quite interesting, the VW van that offers a maximum power of 170 kW. In fact, it allows, if you are lucky enough to find a fast terminal, to recover 80% of the battery in 30 minutes. The performance is decent, but to travel, with ID.Buzz, you will need to make sure to follow the implementation of Superchargers (we have seen better in terms of van life), or take your time. Fortunately, that’s the spirit of this electric van.
Price and positioning: without competition
ID.Buzz enjoys an undeniable competitive advantage: it has no… competition. It’s quite simple, there is no other electric van on the market, so no one will overshadow it. Therefore, it becomes more difficult to judge its quality / price ratio. At almost 60,000 euros (56,990 euros for the base price), Volkswagen’s electric van can still claim the minimum amount of ecological bonus (2,000 euros), but it is almost impossible to add the smallest option to it.
From a price point of view, its most serious competitors are rather high-end electric SUVs such as the Tesla Model Y or a Mercedes EQA, but these are less versatile vehicles and do not have the same aspirations. . However, this makes it possible to measure the minimum price of ID.Buzz. This one is far from being as accessible as its elder, the Combi, but it remains coherent.
From a professional or utilitarian point of view, it is almost possible to put two vehicles in front of the ID. buzz. In fact, the e-Traveller and ë-SpaceTourer from Peugeot and Citroën are aimed at both craftsmen. However, without insulting the style of the French brands, it must be admitted that the VW model far exceeds them in terms of satisfaction and even allows itself the luxury of being cheaper.
Will the ID.Buzz be as big a success as the New Beetle. It’s very difficult to make such predictions, but the commercial debut of Volkswagen’s electric van is roaring (more than 20,000 pre-orders in a few weeks). The new generation Combi is enjoying an impressive hype which is proving to be well deserved! Volkswagen’s success was not content with reviving its iconic model. The manufacturer has managed to offer an amazing mix between an electric utility vehicle and a van symbol of adventure. He did this while maintaining what makes his iconic model strong: an unparalleled capital of sympathy and a unique look. By revisiting and electrifying its Combi, VW made no mistake. He just designed one of the most remarkable cars of 2022.