A car doesn't just become a classic. In fact, the first generation of the Volkswagen Transporter was much more than just a practical car. Thanks to its low price and a big smile on its front, this van caught the eye of epicureans who even lived in it. Moreover, the "T1" (first-generation Transporter) played a role in many films, which is partly why it grew from just another "van" to a true icon.
The ID.Buzz is a modern interpretation of that classic van, and as far as Autozine is concerned, the designers have completely succeeded. The exterior dimensions have increased considerably and the lines are more modern and streamlined. At the same time, the cheerful look has been retained, which is why the ID.Buzz even exerts a huge attraction on those who don't need the space at all!
For those who do choose the ID.Buzz for space: at 4 metres 71 in length, the newcomer is shorter than Volkswagen's previous large family car: the Sharan. In fact, the ID.Buzz is much shorter than the Multivan. However, thanks to the electric drive, the cabin space is excellent. This is because an electric motor requires much less room than an internal combustion engine, and batteries are built into the floor. Partly for this reason, the wheelbase is relatively long, which makes for a lot of interior space.
The test car has a standard wheelbase (an extended wheelbase version will follow) and therefore only has two rows of seats. In the front and rear, the ID.Buzz offers good legroom and exceptional headroom. The seating position is that of a normal passenger car, not that of a van. The rear seat can be folded for extra luggage space, but is not removable like in some other MPVs. Very clever, though, is the height-adjustable load floor under which custom-made drawers can be placed (see luggage compartment photo).
The interior decoration is as fresh and original as the exterior. Clean and businesslike lines are interspersed with cheerful colours, so that one can relive the "flower power" feeling of yesteryear! Even just getting behind the wheel makes the ID.Buzz driver cheerful. However: those who touch the so nice-looking dashboard become less happy. The plastic is hard, feels cheap and does not match the image Volkswagen has built up and the price tag the brand puts on the ID.Buzz.
The ID.Buzz shares technology with the previously introduced Volkswagens ID.3, ID.4 and ID.5. That means modern equipment with innovative, thoughtful controls. The dashboard has almost no buttons and there is no gear lever on the floor. Forward and reverse are selected with a stork on the steering column. The power and brake pedals have, quite originally, "play" and "pause" symbols.
On top of the steering column is a small display that shows essential information for the driver. After all, an electric car has far fewer mechanics and therefore a tachometer and Christmas tree of indicator lights are unnecessary. In the centre of the dashboard is a larger display that controls the audio, communication and sat nav system. After some "teething problems" in the first ID models, this now functions completely satisfactorily.
Very handy is the ID.Light: a light bar across the width of the windscreen that uses colours and animations to give hints about navigating, loading and communicating with the voice-activated assistant. The ID.Light is a unique Volkswagen innovation and, as far as Autozine is concerned, offers real added value.
The ID.Buzz comes standard with a 77 kWh battery that theoretically allows for a range of 413 km. During the test drive in ideal weather conditions and with a lot of city traffic, it was even 450 km. Charging can be done at a maximum of 170 kW and that speed suits the battery's capacity well. Faster charging would make the car unnecessarily expensive, slower charging would make stopovers unacceptably long.
Despite the technical similarities with the smaller ID models, the ID.Buzz has a very different character. This is partly due to the different "final reduction" (the one fixed gear) and partly to the taller bodywork. Effortlessly, smoothly and in perfect silence, the ID.Buzz gets off the spot, but it never does so with the enthusiasm of the smaller electric Volkswagens. Only when it really has to, is the ID.Buzz quick and eager.
This gives the ID.Buzz a stately character which invites calm driving (which passengers will certainly appreciate). At the same time, it is noticeable that the ID.Buzz performs with much more ease than a similar car with an internal combustion engine and thus truly represents the future. Moreover: thanks to the high seating position in the beautiful interior, many feel so comfortable in the ID.Buzz that it doesn't need to go any faster at all! Despite the substantial height, the streamline is excellent and therefore the noise of the wind is limited.
Thanks to its angular basic shape (and nice big wing mirrors), the ID.Buzz is easy to survey, which also makes this MPV easy to drive. The edge of the bonnet can be seen from the driver's seat by taller drivers. The ID.Buzz is certainly not a small car, but thanks to its visibility, it is significantly easier to handle than a large SUV.
The steering is not indirect (not vague). However, it does require a lot of steering turns to make a sharp turn. This makes the ID.Buzz much less dynamic than the car could have been, because partly thanks to the low centre of gravity, roadholding is actually fine. However, Volkswagen has opted for calm, predictable and, above all, safe handling. Exactly as can be expected from a family car.
After a long wait, does the ID.Buzz live up to high expectations? The answer is: yes, for the most part it does. The interior and exterior design are undeniably successful. Moreover, the dimensions are very thoughtful. Unfortunately, the quality of the materials used, leaves much to be desired. This definitely does not match Volkswagen's price and image.
Thanks to the electric drive, the ID.Buzz is not only bought with the heart, but also with the head. The electric drive is not deployed to make the ID.Buzz fast or dynamic, but rather to offer more comfort than has hitherto been possible in a large family car. The range is more than enough for carefree driving, and thanks to fast charging, the ID.Buzz also lends itself to long-distance holidays.
In short: thanks to its technology, the ID.Buzz is superior to family cars with a combustion engine. Thanks to its attractive design combined with its space, the ID.Buzz can even revive the entire MPV market segment. It is this innovation that gives the ID.Buzz everything it needs to become a classic (once more)!
- Excellent handling
- Irresistible design
- Spacious and practical
- Hefty price
- Hard plastic in cabin
- Rear seats not removable