Inspired by the classic Type 2 camper of the 1960s and 70s, the Buzz launched last year as a fresh-faced all-electric MPV.
It’s big, and very capable in more areas than you may think; but it’s not without its flaws. Here, we take a closer look at the ID Buzz and its finer features, while sharing some of its less appealing qualities.
Even though it’s a big machine, it manages to iron out lumps and bumps in the road well. Clever dampers help the Buzz over potholes and harsher rural roads, and there is a nice floaty feel to the car when travelling on smoother motorways. We’d argue that it’s more comfortable than the Tesla Model Y, even with bigger 21 inch alloy wheels.
The infotainment system isn’t as intuitive as its rivals, being slow to react to inputs. It’s carried over from the ID 3, which gained early criticism for not being as slick as cars like the Kia Niro EV – and the same can be said for the ID Buzz. We can’t fault it for its features as there are plenty to choose from, it’s just not very user-friendly.
It’s incredibly practical due to its excellent front and rear space – and the vast boot is able to swallow just about anything. In fact, the boot space can fit a whopping 16 carry-on suitcases below the load cover; that’s eight more than the BMW iX3 can take. Up front, there are several storage compartments in the dashboard, and some neatly designed cupholders.
Despite its commendable official range, it’s not the most efficient electric car. Volkswagen says the Buzz has an official range of 265 miles, but in the real world you’re more likely to achieve around 230 miles in summer and just 180 miles in winter.
In a recent winter range test conducted by sister title What Car? the Buzz was driven from 100% battery to 0%, and travelled 192 miles, but only managed 2.5 miles/kWh in terms of efficiency. For context, the Tesla Model Y managed 3.6 miles/kWh.
An even bigger version is on the way with an extra row of seats. The Volkswagen ID Buzz LWB is 250mm longer than the standard car and comes with a seven-seat configuration. It’s set to arrive with a bigger 88kWh battery and even more interior space.
There is a distinct lack of physical buttons which makes operating certain features even more tricky, especially on the move. You have to go into the 10in infotainment screen to adjust functions like the climate control, and while VW has tried to help with buttons below the screen, they’re touch sensitive and can be a bit laggy. In fairness, the voice-control system, although not error-free, does work well compared to rivals.
While some electric vans often use the same platform as their petrol equivalents, the Buzz uses the same MEB electric architecture that underpins Volkswagen’s road cars, such as the ID 5. This means it feels more like a car on the road, putting it ahead of rivals in terms of handling and ride.
It can be rather challenging to park in certain locations such as multi-storey car parks. Of course the ID Buzz is a big car because it was designed to swallow as much luggage as possible, but it can be a tense drive when navigating a narrow road or busy car park.
Alongside its practicality, it’s incredibly spacious both in the front and back. Its streets ahead of electric SUV rivals for both head and leg room in the back, while the front can accommodate even the tallest of passengers. There is also a real sense of spaciousness thanks to the airy feel of the interior and the large windows.
It’s not particularly cheap, with prices starting from £58,915 in Life trim; the range-topping Style variant comes in at £63,715. There’s no denying that the Buzz is refined and pleasant to drive, but its range and efficiency statistics don’t help its argument for such a steep price tag. Despite this, the Buzz has a good level of desirability meaning resale values are strong.