Independent, Expert EV Reviews & Advice Since 2006

Volkswagen ID. Buzz Review

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz has iconic design, it offers lots of space, and the driving experience has all the normal benefits of an EV including refinement and instant torque. Fun is back.

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Green Car Guide Rating: 10/10

Key stats

  • Model/Engine size:   Volkswagen ID. Buzz Style SWB 77kWh Pro 204 PS
  • Fuel:   Electric
  • Electric driving range (WLTP): 255 miles
  • Maximum rapid charging rate:   170 kW

Summary

  • One of the best designed vehicles on sale
  • Lots of space – but only five seats
  • Normal EV driving qualities such as refinement and instant torque
  • Not cheap

Background

Over the years Volkswagen has given us cars such as the Polo and Golf, which can’t really be described as displaying radical, cutting-edge styling. And then – after what feels like a long time talking about it – Volkswagen gives us the ID. Buzz, one of the most iconic designs of any vehicle on the road today. Does the substance match the style?

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Design & Engineering

Let’s start with the design. The Volkswagen ID. Buzz just looks cool. It’s not just ourselves that think that; most people who came to talk to us about the vehicle during its week on test thought the same thing. The two-tone yellow and white colour scheme helps it stand out even more – although it should be noted that the Candy White/Lime Yellow paint is a £1,800 option. As well as the exterior styling looking great, the interior is also designed to match the modern/retro look, and all the materials give the impression of being high quality.

The ID. Buzz is obviously a van (with seats) rather than a car; the main benefit of this is lots of interior space – there’s excellent rear legroom, a huge boot with 1,121 litres of luggage capacity with the seats up, and a payload of 498 kg. However the vehicle’s footprint is actually more compact than you might think, with a length of 4,712 mm – many cars are longer than this.

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The boot has a ‘false floor’ – officially called a ‘multi-flex board’ – which raises the boot floor to the same height of the rear seats when they’re folded flat. This results in a lot of wasted space under the false floor that isn’t particularly usable.

There’s also a ‘Buzz box’ – a storage console between the front seats that you can remove from the vehicle. At the bottom of the dashboard is a panel that you can pull out which opens up to provide two drinks holders. And central armrests on the front two seats can be used by moving them down, or stowed away by moving them up.

There are USB-C sockets in the front of the ID. Buzz, and in the inside panels of the sliding rear doors, which maybe isn’t the most practical idea when a phone is plugged into the door and the sliding door is opened. The rear side windows can’t be opened.

Under the floor sits a 77 kWh (net) lithium-ion battery and a rear-wheel drive platform.

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Volkswagen ID. Buzz Driving Experience

You climb up to get into the Volkswagen ID. Buzz, which reminds you that this is a van not a car. The driving position is good but also van-like – and the windscreen seems a long way away.

There’s no need to press a start button (although there is one), simply just twist the gear selector on the right-hand stalk on the steering column and you’re off. From this point the ID. Buzz is far removed from any experience of driving an old diesel van – there’s instant torque, delivered in virtual silence, and the entire driving experience feels as refined as any electric car. The ride quality is also excellent. Handling? This is a van, so it’s tall, but the centre of gravity is lower than most vans thanks to the battery being in the floor.

There are three drive modes: Eco, Comfort and Sport – as well as Individual. There are no steering wheel-mounted paddles to adjust the level of brake regeneration, but there is a ‘B’ setting on the gear selector to do this.

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Overall, the ID. Buzz is good to drive, but the main issue is the ID. infotainment system niggles, which are well documented on Green Car Guide and more widely – including by Volkswagen. We’re talking about the central touchscreen with four shortcut buttons underneath. Whereas the conventional wisdom adopted by most other manufacturers is to have shortcut buttons for the most commonly-used features such as maps/navigation, radio/media and phone, Volkswagen has chosen to provide shortcut buttons for ‘P Menu’, ‘Clima’, ‘Assist’ and ‘Mode’. It’s also very hard to see the graphics on the buttons in certain light conditions. There are also slider controls for volume and cabin temperatures under the screen that aren’t particularly easy to use.

The result of having a strange choice of physical shortcut buttons, and no permanent buttons on the screen, is that more button-pressing is required to access regularly-used items such as maps. You have to regularly press the one button on the right of the screen that takes you to a home screen where you can then select navigation. There’s also too much button-pressing needed to access basic heating and ventilation controls (when you get to the climate screen you then have the options of smart climate, classic climate and air care).

The lane departure warning system also interferes annoyingly with the steering, and to switch if off you have to press the Assist button, which brings up a screen with a graphic of the vehicle with elements such as road markings around it; you press the blue line which brings up another screen which gives you the option to switch off the lane departure warning system – you can then select the ‘inactive’ option. That’s a lot of looking at the screen and button-pressing, by which time you’re more likely to have crashed than if the vehicle didn’t have a lane departure warning system in the first place.

And perhaps the biggest issue with the ID. Buzz is that you can spend all this time switching off the lane departure warning system, and if you then have to get out of the vehicle, for example to open a gate, the ID. Buzz switches itself off and you have to reset all your settings.

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Volkswagen ID. Buzz Electric Range and Charging

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz has a combined WLTP electric driving range of 255 miles. After a week of mixed driving the real-world range was averaging 220 miles.

The ID. Buzz’s maximum ultra-rapid DC charging rate is 170 kW. This translates to a 5% to 80% charge taking 30 minutes. Using 11 kW 3 phase AC charging, most commonly found at workplaces in the UK, a 0-100% charge should take 7 hours 30 minutes.

The ID. Buzz also has bidirectional charging functionality, allowing it to feed power back to a house.

How to charge an electric car

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Price And Model Range

The basic price of the Volkswagen ID. Buzz Style SWB 77kWh Pro 204 PS is £53,105 excluding VAT; the total price including VAT is £63,715.

Our test vehicle had the following options (prices include VAT): Infotainment Package Plus (£1,560), 21-inch ‘Bromberg’ bi-colour alloy wheels (£515), Comfort Seat Package (£2,305), retractable tow bar with electric release (£980), Mode 2 Type 2 charging cable (£190), Candy White/Lime Yellow / Lime Yellow-Mistral colour and trim (£1,800), taking the total price, including VAT, to £71,065.

There are two trim levels, the ID. Buzz Life (from £58,915) and the ID. Buzz Style. There’s also the ID. Buzz Cargo van.

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Conclusion

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz is brilliantly designed, outside and inside. With lots of space, it’s very practical (although it only has five seats). It’s as good to drive as any electric car – and better than most vans. It’s not cheap, but the £60,000+ price is what we expected, and we don’t see this being a barrier to sales. The only main downside to the ID. Buzz is the same downside that is common to all ID. models – the infotainment system that requires too much button-pressing for basic features such as navigation. Volkswagen is aware of this and is due to improve the user experience with new models such as the ID.7. In the meantime, some people may not be bothered about this issue, and so it’s a tough call to downgrade the Green Car Guide rating of 10 out of 10 that the iconic Volkswagen ID. Buzz deserves.

Car facts and figures Volkswagen ID. Buzz Review

  • Test electric driving range: 210 miles
  • Consumption (WLTP): 2.93 miles/kWh
  • CO2 emissions (WLTP): 0 g/km
  • Vehicle tax rate (VED):   £0
  • Benefit in Kind (BIK) company car tax liability (2022/23): 2%
  • Price:   £63,715
  • Insurance group:   TBC
  • Power:   204 PS
  • Torque:   310 Nm
  • Max speed:   90 mph
  • 0-62 mph:   10.2 seconds
  • Weight:   2,502 kg
  • Towing capacity:  1,000 kg
Paul Clarke

Review by:
Paul Clarke, GreenCarGuide Editor