This first taste of the VW ID. Buzz people carrier isn’t a definitive review as yet, on the basis the vehicles we drove were pre-production prototypes. That being said, in its five-seater form it’s clear the Buzz has potential to operate as a funky looking family vehicle, given it will feature all the technology and comforts you’d get in the ID.3 and ID.4 on which it is based and is just as easy to drive. For buyers looking for a more socially-conscious and practical alternative to an SUV this could be very attractive, while existing ‘lifestyle’ van owners looking to make the switch from their Transporter Kombis will find it equally appealing. The ID. Buzz Cargo meanwhile serves the commercial market and is a more the traditional panel van. We won’t see production versions of either until later in the year but, suffice to say, there’s already a buzz about the Buzz.
“If you can actually get one resale values will likely be very strong indeed, which should help monthly finance costs”
Like all the verdicts in this review consider this a provisional score until we have pricing and other costs for the ID. Buzz. But you can expect it to cost in the region of a well-specced ID.4 or Skoda Enyaq, with which the Buzz shares its foundations. So it won’t be cheap to buy. But, like all electric vehicles, you’ll claw a lot of that back in terms of running costs, especially if you have facility to charge at home. Unlike a Transporter or similar van-based vehicle you’ll have to pay full passenger car tax rates and Benefit In Kind but, at the moment at least, these remain very attractive for electric vehicles so there are still savings to be had over a conventional SUV here.
In terms of residual values demand for vans is currently very high, sending second-hand prices soaring. Given the hype around the Buzz expect this to be multiplied and, if you can actually get one, resale values will likely be very strong indeed, which should help monthly finance costs.
Expert rating: 4/5
Reliability of a Volkswagen VW ID Buzz
“VW has been working hard to address glitches with over the air updates that can hopefully fix bugs without need to visit a conventional workshop”
The ID. Buzz is built on Volkswagen’s dedicated electric platform, which is still new tech but already widely used across other brands in the group, including Skoda, Cupra and Audi. There have been some reported issues with infotainment systems on these models but VW has been working hard to address glitches with over the air updates that can hopefully fix bugs without need to visit a conventional workshop. Given the huge investment VW is making in this technology it needs to get it right, so if issues do crop you’ll have to hope the support is there.
Expert rating: 3/5
Safety for a Volkswagen VW ID Buzz
“Expect all the usual emergency braking and lane-keeping tech you’d get on an ID.3 or ID.4”
Although the ID. Buzz we drove was still a prototype we’re familiar enough with the tech underneath to take an informed judgement on the kind of driver assistance and other safety technology that will be included. So expect all the usual emergency braking and lane-keeping tech you’d get on an ID.3 or ID.4, with the option to expand on that with more sophisticated driver assistance technology as you progress up the range or specify upgrade packages.
Expert rating: 4/5
How comfortable is the Volkswagen VW ID Buzz
“You sit a little more upright but the seats and controls all feel just as user-friendly as an ID.3 or ID.4”
Pre-production or not from our drive it’s obvious the ID. Buzz will be an easy transition for buyers coming from regular passenger cars, on the basis it takes up no more road space than a large SUV. Some may be intimidated by the idea of driving a van-based vehicle but the fear factor doesn’t last long, on the basis you have the raised seating position SUV drivers love but the view in front of you is even better. You sit a little more upright but the seats and controls all feel just as user-friendly as an ID.3 or ID.4 and the boxy shape actually makes judging gaps in traffic and parking very easy. Nor will tight car parks or spaces present too much of a problem, given the incredible turning circle and support from cameras and sensors to help you.
If none of that wins you over the practical benefits certainly will. Sliding side doors make loading kids into the back simple even in tight car parks and space for three child seats across the back row will be a blessing for bigger families. It goes without saying boot space is in a different league too, with room to swallow pushchairs, dog baskets, bikes or whatever kit your lifestyle demands. One of the vehicles we looked at featured a neat double-decker floor with space under for bags and other kit and a conventional load area above that was still way bigger than any car boot. The power tailgate offers a great spot to shelter on a rainy day, though it does require quite a bit of space to open.
Expert rating: 4/5
Features of the Volkswagen VW ID Buzz
“Features we’re familiar with from the ID.3 and ID.4 will carry over”
Given most of the dashboard was covered with a big cloth we’ll have to wait and see what kit VW includes on the ID. Buzz. But it’s obvious features we’re familiar with from the ID.3 and ID.4 like the small instrument ‘pod’ behind the wheel and large central screen will carry over. It’s also clear the interior will be properly fitted out and trimmed like a passenger car as well, so it shouldn’t feel too basic and van-like inside.
Expert rating: 3/5
Power for a Volkswagen VW ID Buzz
“The performance feels well up to the job, with an unexpected turn of speed when you need it”
Volkswagen is keen to draw an emotional link to classic Transporters of the past with the fact the ID. Buzz also has its engine in the back. In reality it’s a pragmatic choice dictated by the layout of the shared platform with the ID.3, ID.4, Enyaq, Cupra Born and Q4 E-Tron and more about the packaging than anything. More information will come but we already know the ID. Buzz will use the same 77kWh battery and 204 horsepower motor combo offered on many of those models and the performance feels well up to the job, with an unexpected turn of speed when you need it. It’s also super quiet and very relaxing to drive. Range figures are yet to be confirmed as well but, based on the size of the battery and the 3.3 miles per kWh we were getting on our test drive, the ID. Buzz should comfortably do 200 miles on a full charge.