Driving the VW ID.Buzz: patience is rewarded

For two decades, enthusiasts of the kind have been waiting for it. The neo-retro concept (Microbus released in 2001) that was initially presented with a strong gasoline engine has finally reached its production stage, and even in 2022, the flag more than ever covers the load because neo stands for a 100% electric drive, while the retro element is representing the design of the VW Transporter T1.

For our first introduction to the T1, we headed to Scandinavia, a region that is all into American cars and the illustrious predecessor of this ID.Buzz. The Volkswagen T1 can also enjoy sympathy there, if only because of its past as the ultimate hippie van and its roots as a camper.

Wannahave

Judging by the reactions, this car immediately scores in traffic, and, according to the more than interesting questions you invariably receive from bystanders when you park it, it is clear that this is definitely a gadget the market was waiting for.

The choice of an electric drive is brilliant in this respect, as believers will buy it precisely because it runs on electricity only. And skeptics who have so far turned their noses up at an electric vehicle may choose it for its design and take the electric drive as a bonus.

Charm works

In short, this way, VW is broadening the buying public because, despite the hefty list price of 60 699 euros, quite a few private individuals will also slaughter their piggy bank to park the cool ID.Buzz on the driveway.

Incidentally, Renault is conducting a similar charm offensive with its Renaulution program, where an electric remake of the legendary Renault 5 is in the pipeline that may be able to win more ‘souls’ than the Renault Zoe…

Known base

Despite its attractive design, the basis on which the car was built is not unfamiliar to us. Under the skin, the ID.Buzz is, after all, identical to the ID.3 and the ID.4 with whom it shares its MEB platform.

VW designed this base plate modularly so that it could build the most diverse models on this base. It succeeds quite well, as the ID.Buzz measures 4,71 meters and boasts a wheelbase of almost three meters. By placing the batteries under the floor, the center of gravity is low, and most of the weight even sits fairly centrally.

This translates into safe and predictable handling, but this ingenious packaging cannot reduce the driveable weight of almost 2,5 tons. In terms of comfort, the Buzz benefits from its long wheelbase to neatly absorb large body movements.

Short bumps are clearly less efficiently filtered out, but that may also be due to the 20-inch rims our test car was equipped with. The ID.Buzz mostly encourages a rather smooth driving style.

Double sliding door as standard

Like the trendy bodywork, the occupants inside are conceived with a clean interior. The driver is entitled to a digital display, and centrally on the dashboard sits an additional floating touchscreen that controls the entire infotainment and ventilation.

Fortunately, there are also some physical shortcut keys so you can switch between the various main menus more quickly. Today, the interior seats five and is accessed through two electrically operated sliding doors.

Apart from the spacious rear seats, a rear luggage space of 2 200 liters remains. An XL version with seven seats would also follow later. The flanks of what is today’s trunk already reveal extra armrests where additional seats will later come. Those wanting even more cargo space can also opt for the van version that offers almost 4 000 liters of cargo volume.

Usable

The MEB platform makes it immediately clear that this ID.Buzz is driven on the rear wheels. VW makes no secret of the fact that a 4Motion version (with two electric motors) is also being developed.

The version we got our hands on features a rear-mounted electric motor producing 204 hp (310 Nm of torque), which is enough for a more than smooth drive, but don’t expect GTI performance here either, as the vehicle’s real mass makes itself felt here too: a 0-100 km/hour sprint succeeds in 10,2 seconds.

With a battery capacity of 77 kWh (the same as in other ID. products), a theoretical WLTP driving range of 400 km should be possible. AC charging succeeds three-phase at up to 11 kW, via a DC fast charger; the charging flow increases to 170 kW so that (when this full power is available at the charger) you can top up the battery from 5 to 80% in 30 minutes.

Right now, sales are running like crazy, and VW can barely keep up with orders. Hopefully, delivery problems here won’t throw a spanner in the works like at sister company Audi. The ID.Buzz passenger car in the pro trim level costs €60 699, while the van version comes from €53 155.

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