Volkswagen ID Buzz first look: the icon is back, with electric power and Easter eggs

A classic-modern style EV

After years of brainstorming and months of leaks, Volkswagen has finally officially unveiled its long-awaited electric microbus , the Buzz ID. Better yet, we had the opportunity to experience ID Buzz firsthand at SXSW in Austin.

Volkswagen ID Buzz first look: the icon is back, with electric power and Easter eggs
Volkswagen ID Buzz first look: the icon is back, with electric power and Easter eggs

Now, before you get too excited, we still can’t drive the Buzz ID – just watch it and drive in it. Regardless, this was our first impression after spending about an hour with it.

Historically, VW’s microbus has been a major problem. This is especially true in the US, where it was an important cultural icon from the 60s to the 80s, but was discontinued in 2002 after the fourth generation (T4/Eurovan).

As a result, these trucks – and especially the Westfalia-branded camper variant – are still much sought after to this day. While other markets prefer VW’s fifth- and sixth-generation trucks, North America is abandoned.

It uses the same MEB platform as ID.3 and ID.4

But the wait was almost over. While we were able to consider the short wheelbase ID Buzz passenger truck for Europe (launch Q3 2022), a long wheelbase version with an optional third-row seat will arrive in North America around 2024 – including a different California-branded camper van. The Buzz ID is also available as a cargo truck in Europe, but that doesn’t apply to the U.S. – chicken taxes and all.

Id Buzz is built on the basis of VW’s Modular Electric Driving Toolkit (MEB), which is shared with EVs such as ID.3 and ID.4. Therefore, the specifications of the Buzz ID are similar to its brethren, reduced to the battery level of 82kWh (77kWh usable).

Initially, it will be available as an RWD model with 201hp (150kW) and 228 lb.ft (309Nm) of torque, with the AWD coming later, adding a front-facing engine with 107hp (80kW) and 119 lb.ft (161Nm) of torque.

While we don’t yet have any official figures on the range, the Buzz ID is expected to offer a range of 220 to 250 miles (350-400 km) in the real world. Obviously, that’s not spectacular, but it’s probably enough for the majority of use cases, including road trips.

It also supports 11kW AC charging and 170kW DC fast charging with plug-in and charging capabilities. That’s 5-80% in 30 minutes – not too bad.

Outside it is classic and modern.

In terms of design, the exterior of the ID Buzz embodies the reverence of the original Type 2 microbus, with two-tone paint, a V-shaped hood (bonnet) and a large VW logo on the front and back.

The top half, roof and hood are painted white, and the lower half is painted orange, yellow, green or blue. But unlike the original car, the surrounding windows of the Buzz ID are not painted white (they are black) and its headlights are not round.

However, it still works. The lineage is clear, and the Buzz ID looks great. There are a lot of interesting details – we like how the headlights stretch up along the paint line under the A-pillar, like the chrome border on the original.

In the shape of the front quadrant windows, resemble the vent windows on the minibus. Similarly, the D-pillar has three horizontal trim pieces reminiscent of the engine cooling vents on the second-generation van (T2).

The Buzz ID isn’t too big for a truck. With a length of only 185.5 in (4.71m), the short wheelbase version is about the same length as the Tesla Model 3. But the 20-inch wheel and short overhang make it look smaller.

The strange thing about the design of the Buzz ID is that the grille-like opening in the lower half of the front bumper, which seems big for an electric car. It turns out it’s mostly cosmetic, with only half of the holes used for ADAS sensors and cooling.

It’s spacious and modular inside.

Inside, the Buzz ID is vast. By default, the short wheelbase version has a 2+3 two-row seating configuration, with the option of three rows of 2 +2+2 seats (six captain’s seats). The long wheelbase model will also provide a three-row layout of 2+3+2 seats.

Either way, the bench is foldable 60/40, moves forward and backward and seems removable. The cargo space is a whopping 39.6 cu.ft (1,121L) with seats up, 77.8 cu.ft (2,205L) with seats.

The interior of id Buzz is just as unique as the exterior. It is mainly white (seats, head coverings, door panels, steering wheel), with color accents that match the outer color (orange, yellow, green or blue) inside the dashboard, door panels and cargo areas.

The floor, windshield trim, rear door, sill, seat belts and some controls are black, but there are also silver accents throughout (pull doors, dashboard and center console).

And did we mention that there is also open wood on the panel? Yes, this may sound like a mess of colors and materials (recycled), but honestly, it all comes together really well.

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