Volkswagen’s electrified range is getting larger all the time and will soon be complete. The ubiquitous minibus is now getting a battery too. Such a vehicle is not particularly our cup of tea but we thought it would be interesting to take a look at this iconic vehicle which costs a fortune, by the way. If the many positive reactions we got during our test of a plain white press vehicle, the ID Buzz still gets the favors of many fans.
True, this electric minibus is distinctive, even more so when it’s got a two-tone finish. Unfortunately, this was not the case with our white on white test model. Even if the production version is much less breath taking than the 2017 concept, some of its styling cues were carried over unchanged : the largely open front bumper or the three vertical air vents in the D-pillar are reminiscent of its T2 ancestor. The rear end is blander, and much closer to the current Multivan. Compared to its ICE big brother, the ID. Buzz is 26 cm shorter. However, its modular MEB platform has wheels located right at the corners, something it shares with other electric models and it is supposed to offer just as much interior space as its bigger sibling.
I like it
In this case « minibus » is not adequate : the ID. Buzz being not available as a 7-seater yet. For the time being, it’s a monovolume featuring 5 seats, 2 at the front and a sliding 3-seater rear bench at the back. The interior is well designed, and can even be made more welcoming with body colored inserts. Obviously, these are a cost extra. Storage space is plentiful and can even be enlarged when the extra BuzzBox is fitted between the front seats. Finally, this Buzz is the first ID. model to receive the new 3.2 software offering enhanced navigation and integrated streaming services, not to mention an improved vocal assistant.
We were quite impressed by the on-road behavior of this 2.5-tonne beast. The batteries’ location under the floor reduces load space (we’ll come to that later) but ensures roadholding is good as the minibus likes to take bends in a very car-like way. Of course, if you get carried away, you will have to stop it and braking it will quickly bring you back to reality. However, that’s not what we were expecting from this van. So much so that, ever enthusiastic, we were kindly stopped by the police in a town center : we were driving in a sporty way, compared to some slouch other drivers…
I don’t like it
Fit and finish is not up to the usual Volkswagen standard, much rather like other ID cars. This will have to be put right as soon as possible if the German brand wants to maintain its reputation for reliability… even though, admittedly, it is a little overrated. What’s more, all the things helping the Buzz to be a pleasure to drive are cost extra, making it all the more expensive. Load space is hampered by the Multiflex floor and we must admit not to have fully understood its interest.
Why I buy it
The Kombi is an emblematic model that Volkswagen managed to recreate as an electric vehicle. It is quite spirited on the road and its performance can be astonishing. Instant acceleration, typical of electric cars, is enjoyable even though the ID Buzz is obviously no sports car. It is a very comfortable vehicle. All the seats are welcoming and nice to sit in while life on board is enhanced by numerous storage spaces and the completely enhanced infotainment system. Geeks will appreciate this more than we do.
Why I don’t buy it
The ID. Buzz starts from €63,283… quite a large sum of money but ticking some extras to further enhance this very fashionable MPV will make the final bill go up even more. Admittedly, Volkswagen likes to compare it to its legendary ancestor, but that requires a lot of imagination anyway. What’s more, this 77 kWh version offers a fairly modest range (from 270 to 330 km during our test) because of its rather high average consumption : we managed 28.7 kWh/100 km over 357 km… and the B regenerative mode was on most of the time. Fortunately, recharging it can be done using a 170 kW DC socket… (Translation: Dimitri Urbain)