Volkswagen ID. Buzz MPV review
“The Volkswagen ID. Buzz is a funky, practical, 250-mile nostalgia trip… unfortunately, nostalgia costs money”
Verdict - Is the Volkswagen ID. Buzz a good car?
The Volkswagen ID. Buzz is a tech-filled and spacious electric MPV that oozes retro charm. A seven-seater long wheelbase version is coming, but the standard five-seat ID. Buzz is still packed with family-friendly features and boasts a usable electric range, enabling it to fill the role of a household do-it-all vehicle. However, if you only need five seats, £60k can get you an EV with a greater range between charges and a more luxurious interior, if you don't mind sacrificing boot space.
Volkswagen ID. Buzz range
Aside from the Beetle, the Type 2 van from the 1960’s is perhaps one of the most iconic Volkswagen models of all time. With over nine million examples produced, it has cemented its place within automotive history as well as our hearts.
Wind the clock forward to today and spearheading VW’s transition into the new electric age is the hotly-anticipated Volkswagen ID. Buzz. The new electric MPV model acts as the spiritual successor to the beloved VW Type 2 Microbus with its distinctive retro-futuristic design, and is available as both a five-seater people carrier and a load-lugging ID. Buzz Cargo van – a seven-seater variant has been unveiled by Volkswagen, that’s set to go on sale in 2024.
While its name may elicit groans (electric + bus = Buzz), the ‘ID.’ prefix ties the ID. Buzz in with the rest of Volkswagen’s electric car lineup. Yet, a name isn’t the only thing the ID. Buzz shares with VW’s other electric cars – the plug-in MPV sits on a modified version of the ID.3 and ID.4’s underpinnings, too.
At launch, the Volkswagen ID. Buzz is only available with the top-of-the-range ‘Pro’ powertrain. This incorporates a 77.4kWh battery alongside a single, rear-mounted electric motor with 201bhp. Impressively, 170kW fast charging comes as standard, allowing drivers to top-up their ID. Buzz from 5-80% in as little as 30 minutes.
After a full charge, Volkswagen claims the ID. Buzz should be able to manage around 250 miles before needing to be plugged-in again – on par with rivals such as the Peugeot e-Rifter and Mercedes EQV. While the 201bhp at the electric motor’s disposal suggests the ID. Buzz could be hot hatch-quick, the reality is that 0-62mph takes a confoundingly slow 10.6 seconds; a vehicle of this size and weight really needs a bit more power.
Speaking of size, the ID. Buzz feels incredibly spacious on the inside. The VW’s boxy shape means there is plenty of headroom and a multitude of clever storage solutions means that there is always somewhere to place your valuables. While there isn’t quite as much space as some van-based MPVs, the Buzz still packs a cavernous boot – almost double the size you’d expect in an equivalent electric SUV.
All versions of the ID. Buzz come well-equipped as standard; from launch there are two trim levels to choose from: Life and Style (the limited-run First Edition is now sold out). Starting at around £57,000, the entry-level Life trim gets things like LED headlights, 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control, a heated steering wheel and a reversing camera. For an extra £5,000, ID. Buzz Style models benefit from neat visual touches such as larger alloys and a front light bar.
While it may be expensive to buy outright, the ID. Buzz will appeal to company car drivers thanks to low Benefit-in-Kind company car tax bills. Despite costing over £40,000, the ID. Buzz isn’t liable for annual VED road tax either, due to its zero-emissions electric powertrain, which will help keep running costs low.
Volkswagen ID. Buzz LWB inbound for 2024, offering seven-seat practicality
A long wheel-base version of the Volkswagen ID. Buzz will go on sale in 2024, bringing more space and seven seats
Volkswagen has announced that the ID. Buzz will get a new long wheel-base variant (LWB) which adds an extra two seats to the electric MPV’s interior. The wheelbase measures 3,239mm compared to the standard car’s 2,989mm length, allowing for the increase in interior space, and giving an overall length measuring 4,962mm – that’s 250mm longer than the standard car, but still shorter than the new BMW 5 Series.
The ID. Buzz LWB will come as standard with the 77kWh battery, and thanks to its longer length there’s also a new 82kWh battery option. Range figures are yet to be revealed, but Volkswagen says the larger battery will give a longer range than the standard ID. Buzz despite its extra weight. Expect this to be at least 258 miles on a charge.
The 82kWh battery model will come with 200kW peak charging speeds, meaning it can recharge from 10 to 80% in just 25 minutes at a compatible chargepoint. The standard 77kW battery will have the same 170kW charge speed as before, taking 30 minutes to go from five to 80%.
The larger battery will also come with more power – the rear-mounted motor will produce 285bhp, propelling the large electric bus from 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds. The 77kWh model will likely fall short of the standard-length ID. Buzz’s 0-62mph sprint time of 10.2 seconds.
There will be some minor tweaks to the LWB model’s interior, such as a backlit climate control panel – a welcome improvement that should make them far easier to use at night. There’s also a new head-up display with speed and navigation instructions.
LWB models also get a choice of seating configurations – customers will be able to choose between a five-seater with two up front and three behind, a six-seater with three rows of two, offering each occupant a little more space, or a seven-seater with two up front, a three-seater bench in the middle and another two at the very back.
The standard three-seat second-row bench can be folded down into a 40/60 split, the backrest can be adjusted by up to 16 degrees, and the whole bench can be moved forwards and backwards by 200mm. The third-row seating can be folded down or removed completely for increased luggage capacity.
Speaking of which, the boot space varies from model to model – with five seats in place the LWB has 1,340 litres, and with seven seats this decreases to 306 litres. All rear seats can be removed to create a van-like loading bay with 2,469 litres of space.
Trim levels are yet to be announced, but the ID. Buzz LWB is likely to be offered in a ‘1st Edition’ version with a generous equipment list. Aside from this, we’d expect an entry-level ‘Life’ and range-topping ‘Style’ model mirroring the standard wheel-base ID. Buzz.
Pricing hasn’t been confirmed, but expect a significant increase over the standard car’s £58,915 starting price for the seven-seater practicality. It will go on sale in Europe in 2024.
New Volkswagen ID. Buzz GTX performance version on the way
We’ve spotted a hot GTX version of the Volkswagen ID.Buzz being tested in exclusive images
Volkswagen looks to be injecting an extra dose of spice into the Volkswagen ID.Buzz with a hot GTX version on the way. It’s been spotted testing without camouflage, shown here in the latest spy shots featuring a sporty new look.
It’s an overall subtle tweak to the design, but at the front the ID. Buzz GTX gets a lower redesigned bumper with a sharper, more chiselled look. We’d also expect the production version to get unique alloy wheels and colour options to help it stand out from the rest of the ID.Buzz lineup.
On the inside, the ID.Buzz GTX will also get a different steering wheel design which is already a fixture on the ID.4 GTX and ID.5 GTX.
The ID.Buzz GTX’s powertrain will be enhanced with an extra electric motor at the front giving the car four-wheel drive, compared with the standard car’s rear-wheel drive setup. Power is expected to sit around 295bhp compared to the 201bhp of the regular ID.Buzz. Improvements over the standard car’s 0-62mph time of 10.2 seconds and top speed of 90mph are also likely.
It will use the same 77kWh battery as the brand’s other GTX models, but given the extra power and performance, expect the ID.Buzz’s 255-mile range figure to drop somewhat.
Given the GTX will be the new flagship model for the ID.Buzz, it should be well equipped, getting everything offered on the top-spec 1st Edition – that includes 21-inch wheels and a 12-inch touchscreen.
Prices and complete technical specs are yet to be confirmed, but the ID.Buzz GTX should arrive sometime later in 2023.