Categories: Tests

Volkswagen ID. Buzz (2022): the return of the Combi in electric?

We had not had a “real” Combi since the Volkswagen Transporter T3 (Type 25), released in 1979 and replaced by the T4 in 1990. It will therefore have taken more than 32 years for the German firm to fill this gap in its range. Because yes, for purists, we call the “Combi” and Volkswagen vans having the rear engine but also having round headlights!

And only the first three Transporters had these characteristics, with the most famous of them, the T1 Type 2 (1950-1967), which largely contributed to the success of the models in the series. Immediately identifiable with its two-tone colour, its round headlights at the front and its huge logo placed on the bow, the original Combi is without a doubt an icon of the automobile!

It is with the arrival of the T3 that Volkswagen marks a break with the spirit of the original van. The manufacturer operates a complete overhaul of its model and abandons the rear engine. The look of the Transporter is much more conventional and it also abandons the round headlights. And if today Volkswagen still markets the Transporter and its variations like the Multivan or the California, the spirit of the original Combi was sorely lacking.

Volkswagen has nevertheless tried to send signals in this direction, particularly since the concept of the MicroBus, presented in 2001 at the Detroit Motor Show, but the wait was long. A second show car, the Bulli, was then presented in Frankfurt in 2011. Finally, we all remember more recently theID. Buzz Concept, presented in January 2017 at Detroit Lounge across the Atlantic which foreshadowed the model tested today.

The ID. Is Buzz really resurrecting the spirit of the original Combi? If it does not have round headlights, it does however have a two-tone tint (optional), the big logo on the front but also and above all an engine located on the rear axle! Except for one detail… this one is electric!

Design: a neo-retro combi with strong appeal

At first glance, impossible to be wrong, we are in front of a Combi. But not just any! This ID. Buzz is obviously 100% electric and takes up many stylistic codes of the original van that built its reputation.

In terms of design, we feel that Volkswagen wanted to offer something both modern, but while precisely retaining the aesthetic codes of the Combi of the 50s. On the front, it is noticeable by a huge VW logo placed on the bow, but also obviously by this two-tone color (White Candy / Orange Energetic), invoiced all the same 1 790 €! Without an option, the ID. Buzz will be offered in plain exterior paint, in Metallic Silver.

The optics here are no longer round like the old model but use the LED codes of the models in the ID range. On the lower part, the grille is mesh to cool the batteries and let the many sensors do their job.

In profile, we can still see other clues that remind us of the Combi of the 50s, such as those fake air intakes on the rear pillar for example, or these glasses from the guards quite imposing. Template level, the ID. Buzz is imposing, even if thanks to a worked design it doesn’t appear so “hefty” at first glance. This impression is due in particular to the large wheelbase (3 meters) with a very short hood (82 cm between the center of the front wheel and the bow). The van measures 4.72 meters long for 1.99 meters wide and 1.94 meters high. Interestingly, the turning radius measured at 11.1 meters is almost equivalent to that of the last Golf (10.9 meters).

At the front: a vast and complete interior

Inside this ID. Buzz, it feels good. Really good ! And that, the men of the art at Volkswagen have succeeded in their mission. On our test model, the light interior is very pleasant and adds a lot of light. The set is very refined and is obviously inspired a lot by the models of the ID range. In terms of screens, there is the same tiny screen in front of the driver, as well as a 12 inch large screen which sits above the center console.

Regarding the finishes, these are good but the choice of materials, like the other models in the ID range, is questionable. Many plastics are hard even if some are textured, and there is a faux leather present only inside the doors. On our model, an imitation light wood insert is placed over the entire length of the dashboard, but it sounds very, very hollow!

The ergonomics are the same as the ID.4 and 5, with capacitive controls present on the steering wheel or even under the central screen for the air conditioning in particular. Adaptation requires a little help…

There are many storage spaces on board this ID. buzz. Interior of the doors, spaces in the dashboard, induction charging, large cup holder, large glove box and finally a removable “box” in the center, which even offers an additional drawer! Not at all, you will have plenty of room to store your personal belongings.

At the rear: a single bench seat but a huge trunk

In the rear seats, there will be happy people, but also disappointed people. To start with the negative, for now the ID.Buzz

So precisely, the first disappointment here is that we find only a 3-seater bench, there is no other row of seats in the back, at least initially. So there will be a 7-seater version but that will arrive a little later!

Second black point, these are windows that do not open at all in the back. There is not even a crack, which can be a bit disturbing.

Otherwise, in terms of the seat, I’m 1.87m tall and we’re pretty well seated, especially for head and leg space, it’s good, we can make long trips. Another very practical detail is this sliding bench seat which will further increase the size of the boot.

And precisely this trunk is a big strong point of the ID.Buzz since we are more than 1121 liters. And if we fold down the rear seats, we get a flat floor and we exceed the 2000 liters loading volume!

At the wheel: absolute comfort but autonomy to monitor

So if we take a little technical data, Volkswagen here resumes SEM platform of the group which is used throughout the ID range. For the moment, this ID.Buzz is only available with a single electric motor. de 204 chwhich draws its energy from a battery of 77 kWh.

The first thing we can say is that despite its 2.5 tonswhat modern Combi is quite nimble despite its size, it is quite surprising. We have a very low center of gravity so it doesn’t rock in the turns. With its wheelbase of 3 meters we have a similar turning radius to that of the last Golf. (11.1 meters)

So of course you shouldn’t expect thrills with this combi but that’s good, that’s not what we ask of it. Here the 0 to 100 km/h done in about 10 seconds and the speed is limited to 145 km/h. Also, the very far windshield gives a rather strange driving sensation, it takes a little time to adapt all the same to handle this van.

At the level of depreciationit’s rather a good surprise, it’s less firm than on the other ID models, the car absorbs the deformations of the road well.

So in use, the van is very pleasant to drive despite its 2.5 tons, but here is who says heavy weight says precisely reduced autonomy.

In fact the iD.Buzz embeds the same battery of the ID series. (capacity of 77 kWh) that can be found in the SUVs of the group, but except that here we have a maximum weight.

On the autonomy side, therefore, this ID.Buzz cannot work miracles. Volkswagen announces nearly 419km in the WLTP cycle, but in reality once the van is fully loaded, we will be more around 300-350km of autonomy. That’s quite problematic for a van that’s supposed to take us far from cities.

Note that a “GTX” version like the ID.4 and ID.5 will also be planned, with therefore 2 electric motors on each axle and which will also develop 300 hp.

Finally we end all the same on a positive note, it is in terms of soundproofing. For the ID.Buzz, the engineers have really worked on this aspect, there is almost no air or rolling noise. It was already excellent on the other members of the ID range such as the ID.4 or the ID.5 but there really we evolve in silence and it’s super pleasant.

Read also :
Volkswagen ID.Buzz: a 300 hp GTX version approaching?
https://www.autoplus.fr/essai/volkswagen-id-5-gtx-2022-suv-coupe-essai

Verdict: a successful bet

So what about this fully electric Neo retro combi? First of all, it should be remembered that aesthetically it is rather successful, we have several nods to the old Combi, it’s quite pleasant. We also have a vehicle that offers a nice Pleasure and a precisely dosed road behavior. But now, we are still a little unsatisfied with this first version of the iD.Buzz.

First at the square here we only have one seat, the 7-seater versions will arrive later. Then we have mainly autonomy that sins and which will not be enough to play the globe trotters with only between 300 and 350 km of autonomy it is not enough. And last but not least the priceavailable from 56 990 € from which you have to withdraw 2000 € of ecological bonus, it is still a model that will not be made for all budgets, especially since a well-optioned example like ours quickly exceeds the 65 000 € !

In the end, we have a very nice van, but with a high price and low autonomy, it does not yet have all the qualities necessary to seduce us completely.

Data sheet of the trial version:

  • Version : ID. Buzz
  • Finish: Professional
  • Prix : 68 750 € (54 990 € sans options)
  • Bonus : – 2 000 €
  • Motor type: 1 electric motor (synchronous with permanent magnets)
  • CV : 5
  • Power: 204 hp (150 kW)
  • Couple : 310 Nm
  • Fuel: Electricity
  • Transmission : Propulsion
  • Gearbox: 1 gear
  • Battery: 77kWh
  • WLTP Autonomy: 419 km
  • Manufacturer acceleration: 10.2 s
  • Length: 4.72m
  • Width: 1.99m
  • Height: 1.94m
  • Poids : 2 471 kg

Options of the model tested (+ €13,760):

  • Plain/metallic two-tone paint Candy White/Energetic Orange (€1,790)
  • Interior Style Plus Premium (€3,350)
  • 21” ‘Bromberg’ alloy wheels (€980)
  • Pack Design (1 760 €)
  • Pack Assistance Plus (2 170 €)
  • Pack Open & Close Plus (1 930 €)
  • Comfort Plus Pack (€670)
  • Pack Infotainment Plus (130 €)
  • Folding coupling device with electric release (980 €)

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