Launch Report: VW ID.Buzz adds iconic design appeal to electric MPVs

18 November 2022

The Volkswagen (VW) ID.Buzz has a fresh, modern, and iconic design that can be traced back to the original T1 ‘Combi’ or ‘Bulli’. It also aligns with the rest of VW’s family of ID. battery-electric vehicles (BEVs).

Ever since the German brand first talked about the new family of BEVs, the ID.Buzz has been eagerly anticipated by customers and dealers, with reportedly high pre-sales. In the UK, for example, every available unit has already been sold and may have done so even if VW could have doubled supply.

Making MPVs cool

Although the ID.Buzz is essentially a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), it is not much bigger than other electric SUVs such as the VW ID.4 or the Ford Mustang Mach-E. Moreover, it offers over 1,000 litres of rear load space under the parcel shelf, which is double the capacity of most similar-sized electric SUVs. Visibility is also excellent because of the wide windows, making the vehicle even easier to drive and park. The model could make the MPV über cool and show that SUVs are not the be-all and end-all.

There are other practical, spacious family BEVs on the market but not all of them are exciting to look at or drive. The ID.Buzz addresses this need by offering a practical, spacious, super-stylish model that is as smooth and easy to drive as most other BEVs and sits relatively flat in corners.

Clean and minimalistic

Alongside the appealing exterior design, the interior is clean and minimalistic with straight lines, and some premium materials, especially on the seats. There are hardwearing materials rather than soft-touch surfaces, although some buyers may see these as beneficial in an MPV.

Electric-vehicle technology is fully integrated into the infotainment system, which incorporates the Car2X communication system. Standard equipment includes the digital cockpit, keyless entry, electric rear-door opening, park assist, wireless smartphone integration, battery pre-conditioning, LED headlights and 19-inch alloy wheels.

Limited configuration

Competition for the ID.Buzz is limited, but a downside is that the model is only available with one length/wheelbase configuration, with five seats. Meanwhile, competitors offer larger versions with seven or eight seats. Furthermore, the rear bench has a simple 60/40 split, without individual seats, meaning the middle seat is not as spacious.

However, there is ample space and practicality, especially in the second row because of the wheelbase and short overhang afforded by the MEB platform. Additionally, the rear seats are foldable, with no need to dismantle them. This is unlike in the Mercedes-Benz EQV or electric vans offered by Stellantis brands, such as the Vauxhall/Opel Zafira-e Life and Peugeot e-Traveller.

Although standard equipment is comprehensive, there is still quite a lot of optional equipment. This can make the comparatively expensive ID.Buzz even more costly when adding items like satellite navigation.

Class-leading power, range and charging

The 204-horsepeower motor in the ID.Buzz is the same as offered in the ID.3 and ID.4 and is the most powerful among electric MPVs, alongside the Mercedes-Benz EQV. However, the vehicle’s 2.5-tonne weight means it can feel weak when going uphill and the top speed is limited to 145kph. This raises some concerns in terms of overtaking on motorways, although the top speed is lower for competitors other than the 160kph limit of the Mercedes-Benz EQV.

Nevertheless, there is sufficient power for use in cities and on countryside roads, with precise steering and good handling. The car is relatively agile due to its forward seating position, short overhangs and rear-wheel drive. The turning circle is very small too, which is beneficial in urban environments.

Electricity consumption in the ID.Buzz is comparatively low and the official range of 418km (258 miles) is unrivalled by other fully-electric MPVs. However, this will reduce significantly in the real world when the vehicle is fully laden with passengers, luggage, or equipment.

The ID.Buzz can charge at up to 170kW. This means the battery can go from 5% to 80% in around 30 minutes, although finding a suitably powerful charging point can be challenging.

Supply-chain implications

Due to semiconductor shortages and the war in Ukraine, lead times for BEVs are longer than usual. These may extend further for the youthful ID.Buzz as it offers more practicality than electric SUVs, serving as a leisure vehicle or family car that appeals to a wide customer base.

When configuring the ID.Buzz online, VW’s UK website includes a disclaimer. ‘Availability of navigation and rearview camera may be restricted due to supply shortages, depending on the time you place your order. This is down to a number of reasons, including component shortages, in particular for semiconductors, and ongoing impacts of the war in Ukraine’

In conjunction with increasing demand for BEVs in general, this bodes well for residual value of the ID.Buzz, which is forecast to retain more of its original list price than MPV and SUV competitors.

View the Autovista Group dashboard, which benchmarks the Volkswagen ID.Buzz in France, Germany, Spain, and the UK for more details. The interactive launch report presents new prices, forecast residual values, and SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis.