In today’s world the concept of being iconic often gets used more frequently than it deserves. This is not so in the case of Volkswagen’s new ID.Buzz because it builds on the brand image of seven decades while creating a whole new world of electric car travel.
This new Volkswagen ID.Buzz brings reflections of the past from the T1 Volkswagen van to a new electric driving generation that preserves an image from an icon of the past and creates a new icon for the future.
That’s probably why everyone that I met when I drove the ID.Buzz, was truly captivated by the this five-seat people carrier concept. The response was always a mix of fascination and favour, while overwhelmingly this is a car that brought a smile to many, including myself.
The styling is very modern, and the inside is clean and minimal. There’s a lot of technology under the no-fuss interior, that combines a larger infotainment screen with a smaller screen just behind the steering wheel.
Setting the phone to pair for Apple CarPlay was easy. The rest of the system takes a little more time to learn and customise to your satisfaction. But trust me, there is a lot going in inside the IT system of this car, that’s effectively programmed for an autonomous (no driver) driving era.
The colour styling of candy white and pomello yellow metallic along with 21-inch Bromberg alloy wheels, gave the car a striking look that certainly gets you noticed. That colour effect is carried though to the interior where Volkswagen make a point of the fact that there are no leather materials in use.
This new ID.Buzz comes with impressive safety credentials included a high safety rating from Euro NCAP. What surprised me was that there were only two Iso-Fix child seat points in the rear when I had expected three individual seats rather than a bench type arrangement.
The car scored 92 per cent of the maximum possible ratings points for occupant protection, thanks to the combination of the driver, front-seat passenger, centre and side airbags in the cockpit, plus curtain airbags with the appropriately laid-out vehicle body structure.
The Volkswagen team has created a modern electric car that’s practical and clean. It uses a 77kWh battery neatly sandwiched under its floor to deliver power to a 204bhp/150kW motor that drives the rear wheels. And because the battery is mounted low on the ID.Buzz, it is very stable and solid on the road. I expect that it will not experience traction issues in frosty road conditions.
I took the ID.Buzz for a lengthy series of road drives, and clocked up more than 980km. That meant using the public network charging system and planning journeys with more care than necessary with a petrol or diesel engine car.
Despite the significant weight of the ID.Buzz at close to 2,500kg, the car comes with a range rating of over 400km. Initially, the car was set to achieve a maximum of 80% charging ability, which limited that range to 340km, while this feature can be adjusted to suit conditions.
With a little planning the issue of range anxiety was not a feature of my driving experience, and planning journeys is for me becoming a feature of modern electric car driving. Charger availability is more the issue and the good news that I notice is that there are now more fast chargers in place, but sometimes you need to be prepared to queue at the busier motorway charging points. That’s the bit that certainly needs more attention.
The economy efficiency of electric cars is measured by kilowatt hours per 100km driven, that’s another new concept that we need to get our heads around. The ID.Buzz comes with an official rating of 21kWh/100km, which in theory is very impressive.
My test driving returned a figure of 17.8kWh/100km, which is considered to be good by industry standards. That was achieved by adopting a more careful driving style. At no point did I even have ambitions to reach 120km/hr on the motorway, it was a driving life of cruise control setting at 100km/hr and that brought a welcome efficiency. On smaller rural roads the ID.Buzz is clearly efficient at lower speeds.
To achieve that efficiency, you need to be prepared for the longer journey times. These are rarely any more than just marginally longer trips, so driving takes on a new mindset and you need to condition yourself for change. If not you will become fixated with range and equally important the cost of driving an electric ID.Buzz will not be any less than that of an engine driven car. This is because fast charging of electric cars may be a clean alternative, but it’s not necessarily a cheap one. Volkswagen claims that using a fast charge CCS plug connector the battery charge level rises from 5 to 80% in about 30 minutes, and you’ll pay well for that service.
Entry prices for the passenger ID.Buzz start at €68,470 or £58,915 in N Ireland, which is a significant jump over Volkswagen’s spacious ID.4 car. The ID.Buzz is a different driving experience and comes with huge boot space because its also available as a van with the rear seats removed. The 1950’s Volkswagen Bulli icon lives on in the ID.Buzz; the driving experience is impressive but it’s a pricey one.
Volkswagen ID.Buzz – specifications
Engine 77 kWh battery
Engine Power 150kW/204bhp
Engine Torque 310 Nm
0 – 100km/hr 10.2 seconds
CO2 Rating 0g/km
Battery Capacity 77 kWh
Road Tax Annual €120
Main Service 12 months
Euro NCAP Rating 5 Star (2022)
Boot Space 1121/2205 litres
Towing Capacity 1000kg
Turning Circle 11.1m
Warranty 3 years or 90,000km
Entry Price €68,470 or £58,915 in N Ireland