We finally have an opportunity to drive the Volkswagen ID. Buzz, right here in the U.S.!
So far, our only real experience with VW’s growing range of electric models has been the ID.4 crossover. It’s a solid choice in its segment, but it obviously doesn’t have the market to itself. Much like gas-powered crossovers, the automaker’s first MEB platform-based model here in the U.S. dukes it out in a ferociously competitive area. Apart from the likes of Tesla, Ford and General Motors, if an automaker isn’t in the EV crossover space yet, they soon will be. But that’s not the case with the Volkswagen ID. Buzz.
It may share similar underpinnings to the crossover, but we’ve been interested in Volkswagen’s modern take on the classic microbus because it’s different. It offers a unique flavor on an EV, and something that could well be a huge hit among those who are tired of shopping for what is, at the end of the day, just another damn crossover. Well, some early units are finally on the ground here in the U.S., and Kase and Alex had the opportunity to try it out first in southern California.
What makes Volkswagen’s modern electric van tick?
It’s been six long years since the ID Buzz Concept first rolled out in 2017, with Volkswagen saying at the time that the production version would be nearly identical. There’s been the usual toning down in terms of some exterior elements like the lighting as well as the interior being far more practical (like using a normal steering wheel). On the whole, though, VW brought forward a production-intent van that quite literally looks like nothing else on the road — just like the old Microbus.
Like some of Volkswagen’s crossovers, we will only get the long-wheelbase version of the production ID. Buzz next year. It will be nearly a foot longer in wheelbase than the European version’s 117.7 inches, accommodating a third row of seats and more cargo volume. The one Kase and Alex drive does not have that third row, but cargo volume still measures out quite nicely against an equivalent crossover. At 185.5 inches long, even the short-wheelbase ID. Buzz is the largest vehicle (at least outside the Chinese market) on the MEB platform.
When it arrives here, we’ll likely get a single rear-motor and dual-motor configuration options, just like the ID.4. While exact options and specs are still subject to change, the power output could range from 204 horsepower with the RWD version to 295 horsepower for the all-wheel drive model, based on the European ID. Buzz and U.S.-spec ID.4.
According to existing specs, our overseas friends get around 250 miles of range on a charge, according to the WLTP cycle. Per EPA specs, the U.S.-market ID.4 AWD Pro gets 255 miles on a charge, so the ID. Buzz may land in the same ballpark.
It’s a cool-looking vehicle, and the guys enjoy driving it on the sunny California coast. That’s arguably the best place for it, though the laid back and fun vibe could translate well to the country at-large. It’s ultimate success may hinge on price, however, and that’s still a complete mystery at this point. Odds are it will launch in the mid-$40,000 range (just above the ID.4), with prices over $50,000 for an AWD version.
We’ll have to wait a bit for more concrete details, but take a look at how the ID. Buzz is shaping up below: