After years of ideas and months of leaks, Volkswagen has lastly unveiled its lengthy awaited electrical microbus – the ID Buzz. Higher but, we got the chance to expertise the ID Buzz in particular person at SXSW in Austin.
Now, earlier than you get too excited, we weren’t in a position to drive the ID Buzz but – simply see it and journey in it. Regardless, listed here are our first impressions after spending about an hour with it.
Traditionally, VW’s microbus is a giant deal. That is very true within the US, the place it was a major cultural icon from the 60’s to the 80’s, however was discontinued in 2002 after the fourth era (T4 / Eurovan).
In consequence, these vans – and particularly the Westfalia-branded camper variant – are nonetheless extremely wanted to today. Whereas different markets loved VW’s fifth and sixth era vans, North America was left wanting.
It makes use of the identical MEB platform because the ID.3 and ID.4
However the wait is nearly over. Whereas we have been ready to check out the quick wheelbase ID Buzz passenger van for Europe (launching Q3 2022), an extended wheelbase model with an elective third row of seats is coming to North America someday in 2024 – together with a California-branded camper variant. The ID Buzz can also be obtainable as a cargo van in Europe, however that is not destined for the US – hen tax and all.
The ID Buzz is constructed on VW’s Modular Electrical-drive Toolkit (MEB) platform, shared with EVs just like the ID.3 and ID.4. As such, the ID Buzz’s specs are just like its siblings, right down to the 82kWh (77kWh usable) battery pack.
Initially, it will likely be obtainable as a RWD mannequin with 201hp (150kW) and 228 lb.ft (309Nm) of torque, with AWD coming later, including an additional motor in entrance with 107hp (80kW) and 119 lb.ft (161Nm) of torque.
Whereas we haven’t any official vary figures but, the ID Buzz is predicted to ship between 220 and 250 miles (350-400km) of real-world vary. Clearly, that is not spectacular, nevertheless it’s most likely sufficient for almost all of use instances, together with highway journeys.
It additionally helps 11kW AC charging and 170kW DC quick charging with plug-and-charge functionality. That is 5-80% in half-hour – not too shabby.
It is retro and fashionable exterior
Design-wise, the ID Buzz’s exterior pays homage to the unique Kind 2 microbus, with a two-tone paint job, V-shaped hood (bonnet), and huge VW emblems back and front.
The highest half, roof, and hood are painted white, and the underside half is painted orange, yellow, inexperienced, or blue. However in contrast to the unique van, the ID Buzz’s home windows surrounds aren’t painted white (they’re black), and its headlights aren’t spherical.
Nonetheless, it really works. The lineage is apparent, and the ID Buzz appears nice. Attention-grabbing particulars abound – we like how the headlights stretch upward alongside the paintline below the A pillar, just like the chrome trim on the unique.
Ditto the form of the entrance quarter home windows, which echo the vent home windows on the microbus. Likewise, the D pillar options three horizontal trim items harking back to the engine cooling vents on the second-generation (T2) van.
The ID Buzz is not very huge for a van. At simply 185.5 in (4.71m) lengthy, the quick wheelbase model is about the identical size because the Tesla Mannequin 3. However the 20-inch wheels and quick overhangs make it look even smaller.
What’s odd concerning the ID Buzz’s design is the grille-like opening within the decrease half of the entrance bumper, which appears giant for an EV. Seems it is largely beauty, with solely half of the holes getting used for ADAS sensors and cooling.
It is spacious and modular inside
Inside, the ID Buzz is huge. By default, the quick wheelbase model will get a two-row 2 + 3 seating configuration, with an elective three-row 2 + 2 + 2 association (six captain’s chairs). The lengthy wheelbase mannequin can even provide a three-row 2 + 3 + 2 structure.
Both manner, the bench seat folds 60/40, strikes fore and aft, and seems to be detachable. Cargo area is a large 39.6 cu.ft (1,121L) with the seats up, 77.8 cu.ft (2,205L) with the seats down.
The ID Buzz’s inside is simply as distinctive as the outside. It is largely white (seats, headliner, door panels, steering wheel), with coloured accents matching the surface coloration (orange, yellow, inexperienced, or blue) inset into the dashboard, door panels, and cargo space.
The ground, windshield trim, rear tailgate, seat pedestals, seat belts, and a few controls are black, however there are additionally silver accents all through (door pulls, dashboard, and heart console).
And did we point out there’s additionally open-pore wooden on the dashboard? Sure, this seems like a multitude of colours and (recycled) supplies, however truthfully, all of it comes collectively rather well.
The ID Buzz’s inside appears simply as nice as the outside. VW even contains some enjoyable easter eggs, just like the smiley face behind the door pulls, the ID Buzz silhouette embossed within the orange panels within the cargo space, and the Beetle-like white straps hooked up to the B pillars.
You will discover two cup holders behind a panel within the decrease center of the dashboard. The middle console is detachable, and features a pull out bottle holder and two USB Kind-C ports.
Talking of which, there are two extra USB Kind-C ports (together with a Qi wi-fi cellphone charger) subsequent to the steering wheel, one within the passenger-side door, one in every sliding door, one on all sides of the cargo space, and one by the rear view mirror (for a dashcam).
These sliding doorways are power-operated, and so is the tailgate, however in contrast to most different fashionable vans, the ID Buzz’s sliding door home windows do not open, which is unlucky.
On the plus aspect, second row passengers get a pair of airplane-style folding trays mounted on the backs of the entrance seats. It is also price mentioning that the entrance seats are power-operated, embody a massaging perform, and are additionally heated and (presumably) ventilated.
It packs acquainted tech and options
A lot of the ID Buzz’s controls and screens carry over from the ID.3 and ID.4, together with the 5.3-inch instrument show, 10-inch (and optionally 12-inch) heart touchscreen, three-spoke steering wheel, window and mirror switches – and even all these annoying capacitive buttons.
The gear selector has been relocated from the correct aspect of the instrument show to the correct stalk, whereas the wiper controls have moved over to the left stalk.
Clearly, relating to tech, the ID Buzz additionally follows within the footsteps of its ID.3 and ID.4 siblings. It options VW’s IQ.DRIVE superior driver help (ADAS) and security package deal, self parking, a 360-degree view, LTE connectivity, over-the-air (OTA) updates, WiFi hotspot performance, wired and wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto help, the Hiya ID voice assistant, and ID.Gentle for visible cues.
This driving and security tech is enabled by a number of cameras (within the entrance, on the backside of the windshield, on the aspect mirrors, and within the again) plus ultrasonic and radar sensors throughout.
Total, the ID Buzz delivers a complete set of tech options, nevertheless it does not actually break any new floor. We have been hoping for extra performance, like the power to stream video on the infotainment show (Tesla fashion), or energy home equipment from the battery pack (hiya, Ioniq 5).
It is tremendous quiet and comfy
VW took us on a 20-minute journey round Austin – away from the downtown hustle and bustle of SXSW – to expertise the ID Buzz in movement. This city loop largely included floor streets and a short jaunt on the freeway throughout the Colorado river.
As a passenger, the electrical microbus principally feels lots just like the ID.4 RWD. Primarily based on a single acceleration run, we might peg the ID Buzz’s 0-60mph (96km/h) time within the 9-second vary.
Clearly, there’s extra to an EV’s efficiency than acceleration. The ID Buzz’s journey is agency however compliant, and dealing with appears nicely sorted – particularly for a van – thanks little doubt to the low heart of gravity afforded by the big battery pack mounted under the ground.
It seems to make use of the identical strut-type entrance and multi-link rear suspension setup, and the identical entrance disc and rear drum brakes because the ID.3 and ID.4.
We sat within the ID Buzz’s entrance passenger seat, and certainly one of our colleagues sat behind the driving force within the bench seat, and we each discovered the seats comfy sufficient to be road-trip worthy.
Leg, shoulder, and headroom are excellent, and so is visibility – as you’d anticipate from the excessive seating place. However what struck us essentially the most is how quiet the ID Buzz is in comparison with a typical ICE (inner combustion engine) passenger van.
Finally, our temporary time with the ID Buzz left us extraordinarily impressed. VW’s executed a wonderful job creating a contemporary electrical successor to the enduring microbus.
Nonetheless, with out vary and pricing particulars – and particularly specifics concerning the long-wheelbase model coming to North America – it is arduous to attract an correct conclusion. As such, we’ll reserve our remaining verdict for after we drive the US-market ID Buzz subsequent 12 months.