Volkswagen clearly is a big fan of the saying “save the best for last” – while the ID. Buzz is a groundbreaking EV – no doubt, the US version of it brings its true potential to life. With the iconic Huntington Beach, California, chosen for the debut location, VW brought the 7-seat ID. Buzz in a classic two-tone finish – blue with white roof – for its global unveiling.
VW ID. Buzz went on sale in Europe last year, and we’ve had plenty of time to get used to its retro-futuristic styling. The car has won the hearts and minds of customers and journalists, that’s despite it being fairly expensive, and despite its rather mediocre 201 hp (150 kW) powertrain in the Pro version. Volkswagen has learned its lessons quickly, and the US version fixes many problems. Even better – we shouldn’t be calling it the “US version” – the longer ID. Buzz is coming to Europe as well. Hallelujah!
First – the room. The US version is available in 6 or 7-seat configuration, and at 195.35 inches it is 9.84 inches longer than its European sibling. The extra row of seats is just one benefit – 9.3 ft³ of extra cargo space with all the seats down is cool, but the biggest benefit is the new battery.
The 91 kWh unit (85 kWh usable) adds an extra 8 kWh capacity when compared to the shorter ID. Buzz. The company hasn’t revealed the range estimates yet, but we should expect far more than a 10% increase. That’s due to the fact the US version comes with the latest APP550 powertrain first introduced by the brand new VW ID.7 – it’s not only more powerful, it’s far more efficient at the same time.
Unlike the European VW ID. Buzz that struggles with its weight in the Pro version thanks to its puny 201 hp electric motor, the US model starts with 286 hp (210 kW). The much larger (and heavier) 7-seat Buzz accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in 7.9 seconds – 2.3 seconds quicker than the European Pro version, and the top speed is increased to 99 mph.
But that’s not all – the AWD version is available from the launch, it uses the same powertrain that Cupra introduced with the new Tavascan – 250 kW (340 hp) of giggle-inducing power coupled with 501 lb-ft of torque will turn any school run or camping trip into an unforgettable experience. If that’s not enough, 2024 will see the debut of an even more powerful GTX version.
The US version comes fully equipped – power seats, power windows tinted at the back, optional captain seats for the second row, and a new smart glass roof that goes from opaque to transparent at a touch of a button. The rear bench can move 7.9 inches back and forth, and it slides 4 inches forward when passengers need to jump out of the car.
The new heat pump keeps the interior cozy while sipping the electricity gingerly, the heated steering wheel and heated windshield keep things warm, while the improved infotainment keeps the operations simple. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, coupled with wireless chargers and optional 14-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, complete the experience.
The long-wheelbase ID. Buzz comes standard with the IQ.DRIVE system, it keeps the car centered on the highway, it alerts the driver to obstacles when driving around the town, and it reads the road signs. Park Assist with remote parking is optional, but the clever head-up display is standard.
While the shorter ID. Buzz makes sense for many buyers, and for many situations, the longer version brings a real value – adding only 25 cm to the Buzz, VW has made a perfect electric car. It is still easy to park and navigate even the most narrow streets in Europe, but it offers way more room. Kids, dogs, bicycles, surfboards, Ikea furniture – no longer a problem. Way better performance and bigger battery – a most welcomed improvement. This really is shaping up to be a best seller and an EV that many people will put on their bucket lists, the question is – what price will the VW put on our dreams?