Electric Cars Reviewed

Review: Volkswagen ID. BUZZ 2023 Review

The Volkswagen ID. BUZZ is a funky MPV that is a fully-electric reimagining of the classic VW Camper’s. EV Powered’s editor, Charlie Atkinson, gives his verdict on one of the most exciting electric vehicles on the market today!

This is the ID. BUZZ and it’s an aptly named electric vehicle because there was quite the buzz about this car when it was first unveiled by Volkswagen, and for good reason.

This fully-electric MPV is a modern-day reimagining of the classic VW Camper’s, but there is so much more to this EV than its retro-design and funky colours.

Design

“With the ID. Buzz, we are transferring this T1 DNA to the present day and thus into the era of electric mobility,” said Jozef Kabaň, Head of Volkswagen Design.

The 1950’s inspiration is clear to see, with a smiling front end, V-shaped front panel and two-tone paint finish all clear representations of the manufacturer’s original camper. There are other cute details, too, such as the large VW badge on the face of the vehicle and the straked detailing at the rear. There is a super-small overhang at the front of the vehicle, too, much like the original models which had no overhang at all.

There is, of course, a modern touch to the ID. Buzz as well. Powerful LED headlights occupy the front of the car and wrap around the side, with the EV-standard LED lightbar also in place at the rear.

There’s also sliding doors, a much longer wheelbase than the original and 18-inch alloy wheels which can be upgraded to 21-inch as well.

On the inside, Volkswagen has drawn inspiration from its other ID models rather than its funky retro past, with a fully kitted out interior.

With every model, you’ll be greeted with colourful décor, a 5.3” digital drivers display and a 10” infotainment system, which can also be upgraded to a bigger and better 12” screen. The ID. Buzz is a five-seater as standard, with 1,121 litres of boot space. Six and seven-seater options will be available next year. Other features include ambient lighting with 30 colour options, and an interior produced from recycled materials for seat covers, floor coverings and decorative headliner.

In terms of design, the ID. Buzz is a colourful blend of fun and practicality. There is a playful dose of nostalgia with all the quirky design features, but the ID. Buzz has all the features and trappings of an electric vehicle that is fit for the new era of mobility.

Tech specs

The ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo, the LCV variant, are launching across Europe with a 77 kWh battery, which will provide a current to a 150 kW electric motor, which – as the flat engine once did in the T1 – drives the rear axle, with 204bhp and 310NM of torque.

Able to receive as much as 170 kW in charging power, the Buzz can charge from 5 to 80% in as little as 30 minutes. The lithium-ion battery can also be charged from wall boxes or public charging stations using 11 kW alternating current (AC).

Volkswagen has yet to confirm details such as range and top speed, although it is expected to offer around 250 miles, and achieve a top speed of 90mph, with an estimated 0-62mph time of ten seconds.

The ID. Buzz will also feature the latest generation ID. software with new assistance and charging functions. Included as standard in the ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo is the ‘Car2X’ local warning system, which utilises signals from other vehicles and the transport infrastructure to spot hazards in real time.

Other models and variants

 A few different variants of the Buzz have also been revealed, such the aforementioned ID. Cargo, as well as the ID. Buzz Pro and the ID. Buzz Pure, which will be the entry level model. A long-wheelbase version will also be available, in addition to the ID. Buzz ‘California’ campervan that won’t be available until at least 2025. Rumours are also circulating around a performance ‘GTX’ model, if Volkswagen follows a similar path to the ID.5 which was unveiled earlier this year.

Whilst details on other models are few and far between, the manufacturer has revealed a prototype autonomous version of the ID. Buzz, which will be deployed in commercial services from 2025.

Developed by self-driving specialists Argo, the ID. Buzz AD prototype uses a suite of sensors, software, and the computer platforms to provide a 360-degree awareness of the vehicle’s environment, predict the actions of pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles, and direct the engine, braking, and steering systems so that the vehicle moves safely and naturally, like an experienced driver.

Testing of the ID. Buzz AD occurs in collaboration with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles at the Argo AI development centre in Neufahrn, near Munich. Argo also has a nine hectare closed-course near the Munich airport to test a variety of traffic situations unique to European driving conditions, in addition to their test track in the United States.

Mobility service provider MOIA will be the first user of the self-driving vehicles, rolling the ID. Buzz AD out across its fleet which operates as Europe’s largest, all-electric ride pooling service.

“The ID. Buzz AD test fleet represents a milestone in our partnership with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles,” said Bryan Salesky, founder and CEO of Argo AI. “Building on our five years of development and learnings from our operations in large, complex U.S. cities, we are excited to soon begin testing on the streets of Munich in preparation for the launch of the self-driving commercial ridepooling service with MOIA.”

On the road

The model we tested was the 77kWh variant of the ID. BUZZ and it is the perfect advert for the electric powertrain. Usually, a vehicle of this size would be sluggish with an ICE due to its considerable size and weight, but with the instant torque and power delivered from the electric motors, the ID. BUZZ is a great deal of fun to drive.

A 0-60mph time of just ten seconds might be modest in comparison to most electric vehicles, but it is enough for it to feel agile, nimble and most of all, nippy. In the corners and on bendy country roads, the vehicle feels well-balanced meaning you have the confidence to put your foot down and enjoy your time behind the wheel of the BUZZ.

A range of 256 miles is plenty, and with its fast charging capabilities, the ID. BUZZ is a practical option as an everyday electric vehicle.

Verdict

Since its launch, the ID. BUZZ has earned rave reviews, picking up a number of ‘Car of the year’ awards along the way and it’s clear to see why.

It has an iconic design, a stylish interior and a decent performance package, too, and so just like vinyl records and bootcut jeans, the ID. BUZZ has proved that retro is still cool.

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Charlie Atkinson

Editor for EV Powered, covering and reviewing all things electric.