Volkswagen’s big electric push hasn’t yet struck gold. The funky and feelgood new ID. Buzz changes that...
Whoah, that’s cool…
We agree, and when was the last time the world went crazy for a new Volkswagen? It’s been a while. The current Golf? Hardly. The ID.3 electric hatch? Briefly, perhaps, but only until the cloying sense of disappointment became too much to ignore and we all went back to buying Model 3 Teslas.
But the world is going crazy for the ID. Buzz electric MPV. In the UK alone, some 15,000 people signed up to VW’s Buzz mailing list, and more than 1000 of those put down deposits in a one-month pre-booking window.
It’s easy to see why. The Buzz reboots one of the world’s best loved automotive icons for the electric age, riffing on the timeless and impossibly cool Combi to deliver 2022’s funkiest new car. Not before time, this is an electric VW you might actually want to buy.
How far, how fast, how good?
The Buzz is being made available initially as an MPV with five seats and as a van, the ID. Buzz Cargo, which is VW’s first battery-electric commercial vehicle. And those expectant deposit holders can rest easy – the Buzz is a fine drive. Yes, it’s big and heavy and not particularly fast. But fundamentally it’s a very sorted and capable electric family car.
As is standard practice for VW’s electric cars, a single 204bhp e-motor on the rear axle makes the Buzz rear-wheel drive, though an almost paranoid stability control system means you’d never guess as much from the driving seat. You’ll find no powerslides here, just smooth, easy and incredibly quiet electric progress. And because the entire drivetrain – battery, motor, reduction gearbox, power electronics – are below the floor, the interior is one huge and uninterrupted space.
Ride quality, even on the must-have 21-inch wheels, is superb, thanks to a combination of clever stuff (nicely judged spring and damping rates) and all that weight, which damps unwanted body movement. The ID. Buzz doesn’t so much charge down the road as waft, as you’d expect, but it does the important stuff brilliantly. Road and wind noise are all but absent, and the fine ride quality and instant response of the e-motor help make the VW feel far more lively than its performance figures might suggest. Agile in town, too, helped by the generous steering lock (no front driveshafts, remember).
Range? The Buzz promises more than 250 miles on a full charge, and the 77kWh battery is rated at 258 miles WLTP. But, as with any EV, drive with enthusiasm and that’ll drop fast. Worst-case scenario will be circa 150 miles to empty; just over 200 miles the norm. This isn’t a car you’ll want to hurry (just as well – 0-62mph takes more than 10 seconds, and top speed is just 90mph), which helps, but ultimately a car this big, heavy and bluff-fronted was never going to be efficient. VW claims 2.92 miles per kWh, but figure on more like 2.3 kWh.
What’s it like inside?
In short, gorgeous. Progressively, leather isn’t an option here. Instead, the ID. Buzz goes big on light, space, funky contrasting upholstery and light-touch technology, and it’s a very calming and enjoyable place to spend time.
Most of the control functionality is integrated into a central dash-top touchscreen (12 inches across on the flagship versions; 10 inches otherwise) while a small digital driver’s display sits behind the steering wheel. You drive via the steering wheel and accelerator and brake pedals (no gearbox, of course) marked with ‘play’ and ‘pause’ icons respectively. The second row, accessed via sliding doors, is equally spacious, plus there’s a vast boot out back.
The Charles & Dean Verdict
VW has finally found its electric mojo. Just as Ford’s used its iconic Mustang as design and naming inspiration for its key EV, the Mustang Mach-E, so VW has played a masterstroke dressing up its very capable family EV as the funky surf-ready campervan we all wanted as a teenager. Believe the hype.
VW ID. Buzz: from £57,115, 204bhp singe-motor EV, 10.2sec 0-62mph, 90mph