In-depth reviews

Volkswagen ID. Buzz review

The ID. Buzz combines funky styling, a functional cabin and refinement to create a unique electric family car – and a particularly pricey one at that

Overall rating

4.5 out of 5

Pros

  • Funky styling
  • Thoughtful features
  • 170kW fast charging

Cons

  • Frustrating infotainment system
  • Van-based rivals are more practical
  • Not cheap
Car typeRangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge time
Electric255-258 miles12hrs 15mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)30mins (5-80%, 170kW)

If you thought MPVs couldn’t be exciting, think again. The Volkswagen ID. Buzz was one of the hottest new car reveals of recent times, coupling styling inspiration from VW’s classic Type 2 Microbus with clean, all-electric power.

The underpinnings are familiar; the ID. Buzz uses the 77kWh battery that’s offered in the Volkswagen ID.3, ID.4 and ID.5, with a 201bhp electric motor mounted on the rear axle. It’s fair to say that the Buzz isn’t quick by electric car standards, and it’ll only be slower with a group of people on board, but it’s surprisingly good to drive (thanks to most of the weight being kept low). Refinement is good, too, even with the Buzz’s bluff front end.

Unlike its main rivals – the Citroen e-SpaceTourer and Fiat e-Ulysse – the ID. Buzz isn’t based on an existing van. It feels much more car-like, and you don’t get anywhere near as many shakes and rattles as in one of those van-with-windows conversions. There is a panel van version, called the ID. Buzz Cargo, but these Buzz twins were created with an electric passenger car in mind from the outset.

The ID. Buzz may not be quite as practical as the nine-seat e-SpaceTourer, but it should still cope admirably with family life. Current models are five-seaters with a vast boot, but a seven-seat version is on the way, as well as a California camper-van variant. Our test car had the cupholders and armrests for the third row, just not the seats themselves. Visibility is excellent, and the position of the wheels (right in each corner of the vehicle) frees up a lot of space inside.

Up front, the cabin features some of the same frustrations as the rest of the ID. family. We’re mainly talking about the buggy infotainment system and the climate control sliders, which are difficult to use at the best of times and even more so at night, because they’re not illuminated. The Buzz is, however, more user-friendly inside than an ID.3. There’s a new digital information display ahead of the driver, with increased functionality, and there’s also a host of clever touches. The USB slot in the passenger door and the hidden phone charging zone suggest VW has been taking notes from Skoda.

The good news continues when it comes to range. While a Citroen e-SpaceTourer will have you searching for a charger after 140 miles, all versions of the ID. Buzz officially manage 250 miles on a charge. That’s due to a larger 77kWh battery, which is the biggest currently available in a Volkswagen electric car.

That’s reflected in the price, though. Entry-level Life models start from over £57,000; they may have a heated steering wheel, a reversing camera, keyless start, adaptive cruise control and 19-inch alloy wheels, but that’s still a fair chunk of money for a family-focused people carrier. The top-spec Style is around £5,000 more.

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz has been five years in the making, and it’s worth the wait. It’s not quite as practical as some of its van-based competition, but none of the electric SUVs out there can match the space or family-friendly features of this funky-looking minibus. Its styling might be what draws customers in, but beneath the Microbus-inspired looks, this is a very capable, if slightly pricey, EV. For a more detailed look at the Volkswagen ID. Buzz, read on for the rest of our in-depth review… 

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