VW ID. Buzz revealed: All the details on retro new Microbus

Published: 09 March 2022

► Volkswagen launches all-electric ID. Buzz
► Available as a passenger or cargo van
► Retro charm, modern hardware

This is the latest member of Volkswagen’s ID. family of pure electric models – and probably the most eagerly anticipated. The ID. Buzz is what we’ve been waiting for ever since the Microbus Concept Car debuted at the NAIAS back in 2001 – it’s since been recalled as the Bulli concept in 2011, the BUDD-e in 2015 and most recently the ID. Buzz Cargo concept in 2018.

It’s fair to say, then, that we’ve been waiting just about as long as we can handle for a proper electric microbus. But now that the production version of the ID. Buzz has been fully revealed, we’ll find out if it was worth the wait. We’ve already driven a prototype of the Cargo model, under heavy disguise – you can read our thoughts here.

VW ID Buzz front three quarter

The ID. Buzz is based on the same MEB platform as the ID.3 hatchback and shares a few of its modern design cues but stylistically it’s a revival of the Beetle-based Type 2, with an uncluttered design, distinctive two-tone paintwork and almost zero overhang front and rear.

Certainly looks the part

Inside and out. The front end utilises the now-ubiquitous light bar treatment VW’s been applying to most of its new models, connecting with slender headlights and a massive VW roundel.

Above it there’s a truly massive windscreen and masses of glass all the way round – pausing only for a 3-bar motif on the D-pillar to recall the cooling louvres of the Type 2’s rear-mounted, air-cooled engine.

VW ID Buzz rear three quarter

A full-height tailgate is bisected by another light bar, neatly splitting the two-tone paintwork – so far we’ve seen yellow, orange, blue or green underneath white.

At 4,712mm long it’s significantly shorter than a T6.1 Transporter, but has roughly the same wheelbase, maximising interior space and manoeuvrability.

What about the inside?

There’s plenty to like in here, too. Higher-spec models are brightly coloured – expect to see a lot more black plastic on more standard variants – but all share a huge central touchscreen and column-mounted instrument display. Display models have a swathe of wood across the dash while clever storage systems abound, including a large shelf above the glovebox lined with grippy rubber and the ‘Buzz Box’ storage bin in between the front seats.

VW ID Buzz interior

Another nice touch is the choice of materials. There’s no leather in here – instead, fabrics made from recycled plastic take centre stage. And you’ll find little Easter eggs peppered about – from little smiley faces on the screw covers to embossed vans in the arm rests. 

Initially the ID. Buzz will be available in one body length and with five seats, though a longer, three-row variant is in the pipeline and will be the only model offered in the US. When we viewed a pre-production model we noted that even the short-wheelbase has cupholders and armrests sculpted into the boot area, suggesting a short-wheelbase model with a third row is on the way. And VW’s promised ‘a variety of seating configurations’ similar to Caravelles and Transporters in the past, so expect options like captains chairs in the middle row.

One disappointment, though, is that the ID. Buzz doesn’t look to be as useful for families as we’d hope for from a ‘van’. The rear bench is a conventional, 60:40 split affair, instead of three individual seats – this means it won’t be as useful as, say a, a Peugeot 5008 for fitting three child seats side-by-side. There’s no Isofix in the front passenger seat, either.

The rear windows also don’t currently open, nor are there supplementary air vents for rear passengers, so it could get rather stuffy back there.

What’s under the skin?

A 77kWh battery pack and 201bhp electric motor combo – like its ID.3 sibling, this powers the rear axle. The battery is integrated into the floor for a low centre of gravity, and broadly it’s what we’ve come to expect from the MEB platform.

No word yet on official driving range or performance figures, but we’d estimate around 250 miles WLTP bearing in mind the van’s larger dimensions and bluff aerodynamics in comparison with the ID.3. The pre-production model we viewed had an estimated 290 miles of range displayed on the central touchscreen. The possibility of a larger, 111kWh battery and 300+ mile range has been hinted at in the past, though – and you can also expect optional AWD with a twin-motor setup to become available eventually.

VW ID Buzz interior

There’s some clever battery tech, too. 170kW charging is onboard, allowing an 80 per cent charge in around 30 minutes from a suitable DC charge point. It’s also fitted with vehicle-to-home bi-directional charging, allowing the ID. Buzz to integrate into your home power network.

Experiments with a fully autonomous variant are also well underway, and VW says it aims to offer this before 2025.

What about the Cargo variant?

The van version looks similarly funky, and can be specified in a few different ways. There’s a choice of full-height tailgate or barn doors at the rear, depending on your need, while the front seat can be either a two-seater bench or an individual pew.

VW ID Buzz Cargo

There’s space for two Euro pallets and a rather measly payload of just 650kg in the rear, behind a fixed bulkhead with an optional load-through flap.

First deliveries of the ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo start in the autumn. Prices and full specifications will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

By Tom Wiltshire

Bauer Automotive staff writer; enjoys Peugeots, naturally-aspirated diesels, column shifts and steel wheels

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