The new “bus” is electric. It is not just any commercial Volkswagen, it is – at least that is how the car company presents it – the reincarnation of the original “Bulli”, i.e. the Volkswagen Type 2, otherwise also the Transporter model of the T1 generation.
We, the public, have known for a long time that something like this would come, and officially since March of this year. Then the Volkswagen production model ID. Buzz presented. In June of this year, production started in Hanover. And at the turn of August and September, Novinky also had the opportunity to test it in the flat surroundings of Copenhagen and Malmö.
Volkswagen presents the ID.Buzz as an electric retro MPV and van
Volkswagen introduced two versions of the buzz – a five-seater MPV and a two- or three-seater utility cargo. Neither the six- or seven-seat version of the personal variant nor its extended version are available yet; their production will start later. The Cargo won’t be bigger – or more capable in terms of payload, if you’ve already skipped down to the specs and are a little sad about them.
But back to the sparrow in the handful. If the buzz seemed small in the pictures, know that it’s just the photos. In fact, it’s quite short for a van – it’s only about 4.7 meters, but that’s more of an advantage, especially in the city – it’s not a small car by any chance. Without mirrors, it is almost two meters wide and over ninety meters tall.
The electric drive means short overhangs, so the wheelbase of the car is almost three meters. Not that it is important for the interior space, after all, a flat floor is a matter of course for an MPV or a van. And thanks to the fact that the rear wheels are driven, and therefore the half-axles do not lead to the front ones, it has a great ride – the turning diameter of 11 meters is respectable for such a wheelbase.
A spacious but imperfect MPV
I jump to the personal version first. Almost literally – the A-pillars of both variants lack handholds, so getting in, similar to, for example, a new multivan, is not easy. The seat, although harder, as is usual with VW, is quite comfortable and, in the well-equipped version, also widely adjustable.
What is not so widely adjustable is the steering column. He can’t pull close enough to the body, so he has to mount to Muhammad. This means that the central display, which lacks any turning towards the driver, is too close. I can comfortably reach it, yes, but it’s very far from the road and I feel like I’m looking at it from the side, not the front.
Physical buttons are better than touchscreens, the test showed
I was a little worried about the view from the car, because there are two extra A-pillars and therefore more blind spots when looking diagonally forward.
But it is not so terrible that one cannot see where it is going; you sit quite high and you have a decent overview of the situation in front of the car.
Nevertheless, the windshield placed this far away has two disadvantages. On the one hand, if you want to attach a phone or camera holder to it, you cannot reach the device. And secondly, in the Czech Republic, where, with few exceptions, we do not have traffic lights on the opposite side of the intersection, it is very difficult to see the traffic lights if you are first in line.
That’s because of the roof stretched far forward. You can’t stop a bit further back, because you wouldn’t be standing over the induction loop in the asphalt that “signs you in” to the intersection control system, and you’d be waiting for the green light in vain.
Among the minor points of interest, it is worth noting that the transmission selector has replaced the wiper lever, which is controlled on the left lever. However, the system known from Mercedes and American cars has the disadvantage that you keep turning the gear selector, not pulling it like a classic lever under the steering wheel. But you can get used to it quite quickly.
The flip-up cup holders, into which the cable for charging the mobile phone can be inserted from the side, are also pleasant, so that the connected mobile phone is not upside down and the display is readable. Not that you want to look at it while driving, it’s deep at the feet, but the system is not bad. Likewise, a total of three USB-C sockets for the front passengers, a fourth at the top of the windshield for charging the dash camera and plenty more in the back are also nice.
And of course, the enormous amount of space. The buzz idea is the same as the T1 – to build the most spacious car on the smallest possible footprint. In addition to a lot of space on the front seats, there is perhaps even more space in the back, both on the back bench and in the trunk. It boasts a volume of over 1.1 m3 behind the second row of seats up to the roof.
The solid double floor is also interesting, with the folded backs of the rear bench creating a flat surface large enough for a person to lie down on quite comfortably. Volkswagen takes advantage of this and offers a camping insert and mattress as part of the accessories. But it’s nothing special, nothing comparable to a “full-fat” California of any size.
Test of the Volkswagen T6.1 with a residential insert: Two cars in one
The double floor has a clever gas-piston lift plate that can create that much-needed divider in an otherwise huge boot. On the contrary, if you wanted to maximize the area for cargo and fold the second row of seats to the first, as e.g. the VW Caddy can do, you’re out of luck – it’s not possible here. Likewise, the bench is divided exclusively 60:40, there is no possibility of three individual seats, and the windows in the electrically sliding doors are not retractable or openable in any other way.
“User” is very different
Together with the personal version, ID also enters the market. Buzz Cargo, i.e. utility version. It will be available with one or two sliding doors on the sides, and although the photos show a hinged rear end with glazing, there will also be sheet metal swing doors.
It is in the cargo area that the relatively high floor is most visible, but it cannot be said that there is not enough space. Between the wheel arches, a Europallet can fit across, and there is a total of 3.9 m3 of space. In addition, there can be rails with anchoring eyes or bags for small items on the sides.
Where the difference from the personal version is somewhat unexpected is the dashboard. It is significantly different and is quite a bit taller. Quite possibly so that it can have a long storage box on top, in which there is one 12V socket and one USB-C port on the sides.
There are more differences; instead of a flip-up box with cup holders, there’s a fixed compartment, the lower pockets in the doors are larger, and the entire dashboard is black plastic instead of the bright, multi-colored plastics seen in the personal variant. In short – a utility vehicle.
In the base, there are three seats without armrests; it doesn’t sit twice as comfortably on the right, and three burly workers would be quite a squeeze here. The second option is two more comfortable seats with individual armrests. The advantage in any case is the absence of any protrusion in the middle of the dashboard, which conventional vans need, for example, for the gear lever.
What you won’t get in the commercial version, and the designers deserve credit for that, are bumps on an uneven surface. Although a big box, the buzz isn’t noisy from the chassis like a number of other vans. The aerodynamic noise is a little worse in both versions, but still nothing terrible.
A rather fundamental omission – which Volkswagen also commits with the T series and the new Multivan – is the absence of small convex mirrors. The box version with only a reversing camera thus has relatively large blind spots towards the rear to the sides, which are solved by the security guard while driving, but are really unpleasant when maneuvering in the parking lot.
The ride is decently comfortable
What both versions have in common is a thoroughly good ride comfort. In particular, I don’t have the strong impression that I’m sitting on the tip of the metronome hand, which I can’t get rid of, for example, in the electric vans of the Stellantis concern. The price for this is a relatively stiff chassis, at least for a van, but it’s not at the expense of comfort, perhaps quite the opposite.
The 204 horsepower of the version we’re driving isn’t quite a lot considering the weight attacking the two-and-a-half-ton mark, so don’t expect asphalt shredders. Fast starts, but yes. As a matter of fact, the buzz isn’t designed for sharp cornering, but thanks to the low center of gravity given by the battery in the floor, it’s remarkably resistant to excessive side-to-side roll when you overdo it on cornering.
Power consumption is also good. The heavy and loud buzz has a decent 0.285 drag coefficient per van, so once you get going, you don’t need as much power to maintain speed. With the personal version, we drive for 20.6 kWh/100 km, the slightly lighter utility vehicle – with which we also spent more time in the city – takes 16.9 kWh.
The estimate of the real range on a battery with a net capacity of 77 kWh, according to the numbers I saw on the displays, can be somewhere around 382 km per charge for the personal version, or 444 km at cargo. However, I am considering an empty car in both cases; fully loaded, I haven’t had the chance to test yet. And as always, consumption will depend fundamentally on driving style and route profile.
id. The Buzz has its drawbacks, that’s for sure, but all in all, it’s a fairly pleasant car. It is clear that he prioritizes comfort over 100% practicality or suitability for demanding construction work. After all, the low useful weight of the Cargo version does not even match it. However, it is an extremely high-quality and stylish machine that is sure to impress its target audience.
|Volkswagen||id. Buzz Pro||id. Buzz Cargo|
|Engine:||Synchronous electric motor with permanent magnet|
|Peak power/torque:||150 kW (204 hp)/310 Nm|
|0-100 km/h:||10.2 s|
|Top speed:||145 km/h|
|Average consumption according to WLTP:||20.5-21.7 kWh/100 km||20.4-22.2 kWh/100 km|
|Average display consumption at the end of our test:||20.6 kWh/100 km||16.9 kWh/100 km|
|Range per charge according to WLTP:||402-423 km||402-425 km|
|Charging time:||7 h 30 min (0-100%, 11 kW AC)|
|30 min (5-80%, 170 kW DC)|
|Battery:||Li-Ion, 77 kWh usable capacity, 82 kWh total capacity|
|Length x width x height:||4712 × 1985 × 1927-1951 mm|
|Width x height of cargo space:||1204 (between wheel arches) × 1180 mm||1230 (between wheel arches) × 1279 mm|
|Cargo space length:||2.232 mm with rear seats folded down||2208-2232 mm|
|Volume of cargo space:||1121-2205 years||3900 l|
|Curb/Total Weight:||2471/3000 kg||2352/3000 kg|
|Maximum braked trailer weight:||1000 kg|
|Base price:||1,537,557 CZK||1,438,823 CZK|