By converting its mythical Combi into electric with the ID.Buzz, Volkswagen is taking a big gamble: to appeal to as many people as possible, whether they are fans of great expeditions or city dwellers. But what is it really worth on a daily basis? Essay.
After a first quick start between Denmark and Sweden at the end of the summer, we decided to get back behind the wheel of the Volkswagen ID.Buzz for a long-term test and above all closer to our daily lives. Winter temperatures, congested roads, charging infrastructure tests and home-office journeys put this worthy electric successor to the Combi to the test.
Presented in March 2022 in Germany, the ID.Buzz is part of the Volkswagen electric family along with the ID.3, ID.4 and ID.5. This is clearly seen at the front, with honeycombed air intakes and headlights very similar to those of the aforementioned models. The optics are connected by a thin light strip and a large VW logo in the center of the V-shaped bonnet. This can be painted white with the rest of the roof for a two-tone bodywork, like the first Combis. Three small inserts placed on the quarter panels evoke the air vents of the rear-engine “Bulli”.
Decent performance despite the weight
A nice wink, since this “Combi of modern times” uses an engine placed at the rear in its only version at launch, the strong Pro variant of 204 hp. This block, which is shared with the other electrics in the range, displays a torque of 310 Nm. It offers correct performance for getting out of Parisian traffic. Despite the substantial weight of the beast (2.4 tons!), the electric van is doing well in town and on the road when it comes to overtaking or reaching cruising speed. But it is limited to a maximum of 145 km/h, which could put off users of the Autobahn…
With its Norman cabinet size (4.71 m long, almost as much as a Tiguan Allspace or a Tesla Model 3, but 1.98 m wide excluding mirrors and 1.94 m high), it has tendency to pitch on the main axes. Especially in the event of strong side winds as was the case during our test. The roll is relatively well controlled, but that does not mean that the ID.Buzz should be seen as a dynamic model. The voluntarily adjusted firm damping and the 21-inch wheels penalize comfort, which is more reminiscent of the world of professional utility than that of the private vehicle on certain potholes or speed bumps.
In town, the tiny turning radius (only 11.1 m, as much as a Golf!) and the large windows work wonders. On the other hand, the direction hesitates between precision and lightness and is less convincing, especially on the road. Fortunately, air noise is well contained and the electric motor allows you to move in silence whatever the playing field.
Boil of love
A silence often broken by questions from motorists or pedestrians. “Is this the new Combi? It’s beautiful, I love it! Can we see inside?”, throw passers-by at each stop in a parking lot or at a red light. It’s very simple, almost everyone turns around in the street. Many have also asked us if there is a motorhome version. At the moment, only the five-seater variant and the Cargo model dedicated to the pros are offered. But an extended seven-seater ID.Buzz and a fitted California variant (mattress, small kitchen, tent on the roof?) are planned for the near future!
In the meantime, the most impatient can already transform the ID.Buzz into an extra bed thanks to its large width (a 1.20 m mattress fits easily) and the two-level floor (optional). This removable element makes it possible to store two foldable storage boxes, practical for placing charging cables, which are often dirty after dragging them on the ground. The element forms a flat floor extending to the 60/40 bench seat, sliding over 15 cm. The boot is simply huge, with a hold varying from 1,121 liters in 5-seater to 2,205 liters when the seats are folded down.
Ergonomics could be improved
As we have said, the exterior presentation appeals to almost everyone who comes across it. But inside, it’s a little less joy. If efforts are made on the colors with reminders of the body tone, we find the same defects as on the other ID models. Namely a very perfectible ergonomics and a quality of light finish. The dashboard is covered with hard plastics and faux wood inserts, while recycled materials are used for the upholstery or the steering wheel. This can be heated (and seems to activate from the start when the temperature is low) like the front seats. Comfortable, they have optional personal armrests on each side like an armchair, which you have to remember to raise to get out of the vehicle easily…
A removable center console is available as an option, with tricks like cup holder dividers with bottle opener or storage drawers. These are very numerous and vast, and sometimes contain amusing little details such as smileys or drawings of ID.Buzz. USB type C charging sockets are integrated throughout the cabin, whether for front or rear passengers. A small space near the steering wheel is used to store your phone, and acts as an induction charger.
After about 300 km, alternating between the city, the blocked ring road and national roads at 80, 90 or 110 km / h, the results are mixed. The consumption displayed on the on-board computer is relatively high. During our test in winter conditions, without restricting too much on heating, consumption stabilized at 27 kWh/100 km. This offers a range of just under 300 km on paper. This is little compared to the 409 km announced (and even 559 km in the urban cycle) and 21.30 kWh / 100 km according to VW.
Fortunately, recharging the 77 kWh Lithium-ion battery is fast. On an 11 kW AC charger, the transition from 0 to 100% is done in 7:30. But thanks to the DC fast charging terminals and a charging power of up to 170 kW (compared to 135 kW for the other ID models), the time can be reduced to around 30 min to go from 5 to 80%.
WE love :
- The adorable look and the sympathy capital
- Modularity and interior space (giant trunk and plenty of storage)
- Fast charging up to 170 kW
We like less:
- High consumption
- The salty prices
- Perfectible ergonomics and quality of finish
- The consequent weight
Volkswagen ID.Buzz Pro
Version tested: €65,441
Consumption during the test (kWh/100 km): 27
WLTP combined consumption (kWh/100 km): 20.8-21.7
CO2 (g/km) / bonus (€) : 0 / 0
Fiscal horsepower (CV): 5
Country of manufacture: Germany
Motor: electric, rear
Transmission: to the rear wheels, 1 gear
Power: 150 kW (204 hp)
Couple : 310 Nm
Batterie : lithium-ion
Capacity (kWh): 77
Autonomy announced (WLTP): 416 km
Charging time AC 11 kW (charging from 0% to 100%): 7:30 h
DC 135 kW recharge time (5% to 80% recharge): 30 min
Maximum charging power on DC socket: 170 kW
0 to 100 km/h: 10.2 seconds
Curb weight: 2,407 kg
Vitesse maxi : 145 km/h
Also read on Auto-Moto.com:
Volkswagen ID Buzz GTX: in a sports suit to honor its 340 hp
Volkswagen: all the new features expected in 2023
Volkswagen ID.4 Pro 4Motion and ID.5 GTX test: Icelandic getaway