Volkswagen ID.  Buzz: the return of electricity and lightning

Volkswagen ID. Buzz: the return of electricity and lightning

For more than twenty years, Volkswagen has been delighting fans of the old Microbus by revealing prototypes and spreading rumors of a possible return of the legendary model. Last March, the German manufacturer formalized this successful return by launching the ID. Buzz, the ultra-modern Microbus that joins the Volkswagen electric family.

We believe this is one of the most anticipated new cars. The editorial team has chosen it to appear on the cover page of the 2023 issue of Car guide with a nod to the previous example. Especially in Quebec, Car Guide traveled to Copenhagen to drive the Volkswagen ID. buzz. During our trip, we took the Øresund bridge to get to Sweden, where electric cars are very common on the roads. From this trip, we share with you a full report of our first impressions.

Attractive silhouette

It’s definitely different from the first Microbus, id. Buzz however remains true to his past on the aesthetic level. As we have seen with other models with a retro taste such as the MINI Cooper or the Volkswagen New Beetle, the current safety standards and modern standards in terms of aerodynamics represent a great challenge for designers. Identification. The Buzz is inspired by its ancestors with its flat and slightly curved front end, its large side glass and its sliding doors.

Photo: Germain Goyer

Details are scattered here and there. There is a smiling man behind the handlebars, for example, and the silhouette of a model car in the molded plastic of the seats. As a reminder of the first models and their air intake, the decorative element is placed on the D-pillar. Not surprisingly, the VW logo is placed in the center of the front. It remains to be seen if modern hippies will steal it to make pendants…

As seen in the picture, it is possible to choose a two-tone color, that is to say that one chooses a color from the list of the lower part to two thirds of the door and that the upper part is. white. It is both chic and different. We love it! Of course, you can ask for your car painted in the same color.

However, depending on the color chosen, it is more or less beautiful. For example, Lime Yellow is successful when combined with white, but it is completely bad for the whole body. As far as we are concerned, we especially appreciated the seller of Vert and Orange energetic. On the seats, the dashboard and the interior finish of the doors, we have the right to recall the exterior color. Again, it’s good.

Photo: Germain Goyer

From air-cooled engine to electric

From its introduction in the 1950s to its disappearance from the North American market in 2003, the popular Type 2 has come a long way. During the work of Vanagon, the model of the third generation, liquid cooling arrived. A big improvement! And with the advent of the fourth generation model, the engine moved from the back to the front. A big step forward, but blasphemy to the purists. When presenting ID. Buzz, no one at Volkswagen mentioned the Routan. Unusual? Not true. This Dodge Grand Caravan is designed, we prefer to forget it!

In terms of identification. Buzz, the gasoline engine is replaced by an electric motor. In fact, it is the basis of Volkswagen’s MEB architecture, as is the ID crossover. 4 that is already circulating on our roads.

At the beginning of our test, the on-board computer showed an estimated distance of 473 kilometers. After traveling a hundred kilometers on the wheel, the displayed freedom is reduced by one hundred kilometers. That’s solid. The dashboard showed a consumption of less than 20 kWh/100 km after driving around town, on country roads and on the highway. We rate the test conditions as more than ideal, with an outside temperature of around twenty degrees. The manufacturer advertises a range of 423 kilometers according to WLTP standards, which is more generous than ours. It is possible to adjust the regeneration rate during the decrease. However, it is impossible to drive a car with only one pedal.

Photo: Germain Goyer

The battery can be charged at a terminal with a power of 170 kW or less, and its capacity is 82 kWh, the same as for ID.4.

The tested model had the engine mounted only on the rear axle. It is a version powered by 201 horsepower. It’s nothing to write home about for his mother, we’ll admit. However, thanks to the quickness of the couple, the identification. Buzz didn’t seem impossible to us. We are light years away from the first generations of the design which has always been known to be very slow.

Considering that ID. Buzz borrows a number of structural and mechanical elements from the ID.4, no one will be surprised to know that its handling is close. The driving position is much more obvious and felt unique to us. Indeed, the space between the steering wheel and the bottom of the windshield is large, somewhat reminiscent of the Chevrolet Lumina APV, but with a better formula. As you can see in the picture, the front quarter glass is large. We are not used to such an arrangement of windows.

Photo: Germain Goyer

Although the car is relatively large and the interior is spacious and open, the ID. Buzz is not that tall: he measures 4.71 meters. For reference, the 2022 Chrysler Pacifica measures 5.18 meters. You should also know that we drove the European version of the model. In North America, our ID. The Buzz will be somewhat different: its wheelbase will be extended by 25 cm, to increase the third row and still benefit from a good load volume. Therefore, the number of occupants will increase from five to 7. At the beginning of 2023, the version intended for the North American market will be officially launched. A variant of two and four engines is also expected.

A commercial version that we will be denied

Manufactured by Volkswagen’s commercial vehicle division, id. Buzz is also available in a commercial version. So, in addition to being a family car, it can meet business needs. That said, it was with great disappointment that we learned that the commercial variant will not be with us. Let’s first say that the commercial vehicle division does not exist in North America, mainly because of the famous chicken tax implemented by our southern neighbors.

So it becomes a desire to import a car to sell it only in Canada. What’s more, the retail version is only offered with a standard wheel. It would be ironic to get a utility version shorter than the passenger version! Too bad, it would be an interesting alternative to a car like the electric Ford Transit.

Photo: Germain Goyer

When driving, the commercial version is almost identical to the passenger one. There is an independent rear suspension, which is unusual for a car of this type. Depending on the version chosen, you will have the right to one or two sliding doors at the back, and a separate front bench seat of 33/66 or two captain’s chairs. As usual, it comes with steel rims and hubcaps. It can also be equipped with alloy rims. Just like the passenger version, it could benefit from a two-tone color. A glazed partition separates the passenger compartment from the cargo space.

As you can imagine, ID. Buzz turned heads as we traveled between Denmark and Sweden. Several people called us to find out more about this curious car. And for good reason! It was interesting to see the eyes drawn even to the commercial version. A commercial vehicle has never attracted so many people.

Electric camp?

It is difficult to separate the Microbus from its various versions converted into a camping vehicle, especially by Westfalia. Many have been questions received about the version that we can sleep. With the popularity of the phenomenon of lifethis is not surprising.

However, you should know that these changes were made by independent Volkswagen companies in the case of older model generations. Imagine a car manufacturer having to insure a car with plumbing, an electrical system and a pop-up roof. That said, the German manufacturer doesn’t rule out the possibility of offering versions designed for short camping trips.

Photo: Germain Goyer

Let’s be patient

If we chased the ID too early. The buzz is because it will land on European dealers in the coming weeks. We will have to wait until 2024 to see the first units arrive in Canada. It’s long. A very long time. Meanwhile, ID. Aero, a hatchback will join the list. The factory in Hannover, Germany is responsible for the distribution of the world market. We are already feeling overheated!

Although our expectations could not have been higher for this little electric car, we were not disappointed. Without denying his past, id. Buzz will be able to be modern. However, one important difference is missing from the equation: price. At Volkswagen Canada, we understand that it is difficult to decide on the price of a car that will only arrive in two years.

One thing remains certain in our opinion. While the small car market has struggled to adapt and capture a new customer base, Volkswagen’s identity. Buzz can somehow revive a lot more than the old Microbus, but restore the appeal of the entire niche.