The reality behind the wheel of the Volkswagen electric Combi (Test ID Buzz)

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The Volkswagen ID Buzz will be marketed on November 21. With him, the rebirth of the Combi, in electric, capable one day of becoming autonomous. Are we buying?

Reality behind the wheel of the Volkswagen Electric Combi (ID Buzz Test)

The Volkswagen Combi is one of these “rolling legends”, this indestructible tank, a reflection of a carefree era. After 63 years of production, it bowed out in 2013. Its rating has increased a lot since then, even becoming, for some surfers and some followers of the hippie current, a partner on the road at a golden price.

Almost ten years after its abandonment, Volkswagen has decided to renew the myth with a new model which is now called ID Buzz. A desire that the brand had had for a long time, she said (not surprising, given the popularity of the car), but which “we had to wait for the arrival of the MEB platform”, explained one of the product managers.

Behind this acronym, the modular platform of Volkswagen's 100% electric range. Made up of ID3, ID4 and ID5, it is now opening up to another segment, which is similar to that of vans or minivans (we will come back to this later in this essay). Stretched to its maximum, the chassis therefore suggests that the replacement for the Combi will be 100 % electric. And it is indeed the case.

 Reality behind the wheel of the Volkswagen Electric Combi (Test ID Buzz)

Several colors are available , but Volkswagen does not offer its standard two-tone colors © Presse-citron

It was even the condition sine qua nonwhen exiting the model. ID Buzz draws its lines from those of the famous van of the 60s, but is nonetheless in its time, with batteries under the floor, USB-C ports everywhere, and a cabin identical to that of the rest of the electric range. What else do you need to know? Let's go aboard this ID Buzz together to find out more about it.

ID Buzz : van or minivan ?

To draw its lines, the new ID Buzz had to be electric. The explanation lies in the layout of the mechanics. The engine placed on the rear axle has freed up space at the front. Specific to electric models, the steering wheels turn more and the absence of a radiator, essential on a thermal car, has enabled the designers of the new electric Combi to offer a very vertical front.

Realityé at the wheel of the Volkswagen electric Combi (Test ID Buzz)

Volkswagen's new electric Combi is 4.7 meters long © Presse-citron

The result is this template, very cubic, but with rounded lines, which during our test showed a particularly significant sympathy capital. Everyone turns to the new ID Buzz. Success is on the way. Many thanked Volkswagen for having managed to stay faithful to the original 2017 concept car, and managed to pay homage to the lines of the vintage Combi T1 and T2.

But then, is it a van or a minivan? Originally, the T1 was launched as a van. Even today, the new ID Buzz resembles a small van in its design and proportions. Let's take this opportunity to point out that a utility version of the vehicle is also available for professionals. The new electric Combi is 4.7 meters long, which is not particularly large either, but still 2.2 meters wide, and 1.9 meters high (watch your head in underground car parks).

The interior gives us a little more detail on the purpose of the ID Buzz and its uses. Unsurprisingly, we find most of the parts shared with ID3, ID4 and ID5. For its price, one can ask questions. But Volkswagen still arrives with a particularly well-made imitation wood part on the dashboard to forget the rest in hard plastic. Few storage spaces are available in the end, while the passenger compartment is particularly designed so as to be more functional than comfortable.

Reality at the wheel of the Combi Electric Volkswagen (Test ID Buzz)

The interior of the new ID Buzz © Presse-citron

So we are not on board a plush and enveloping SUV, but rather in a minivan. The space is substantial. It is possible to choose a configuration with three seats at the front at the end of 2023. Visibility is excellent, both for driving and for admiring the landscape, even if Volkswagen was unable to offer a glazed roof lining on its model (where it would have been most relevant to find it on a vehicle). Small downside on the side of the rear view, we would have liked mirrors a little bigger. By the way, the reversing camera is optional… The trunk, at a minimum, offers 1,121 litres. It opens up to over 2,200 liters once the rear seats are folded down (but don't expect to be able to remove them).

 Reality behind the wheel of the Volkswagen Electric Combi (Test ID Buzz)

The trunk of the Volkswagen ID Buzz, in standard position (minimum 1121 liters). Unfortunately, the rear seat is not retractable. © Lemon Squeezer

We will greatly appreciate the location of the USB-C sockets, in each door. In total, there are 8 in addition to the other sockets. If you are used to using your smartphone for navigation, however, you will not be able to take advantage of the wireless charging positioned in a small storage slot located to the right of the steering wheel. Now Volkswagen has cleverly added a compartment-level power outlet for the inside rear-view mirror, so you can plug in a dash cam.

 Reality behind the wheel of the Volkswagen Electric Combi (Buzz ID test)

On board, the windows provide excellent visibility, both front and rear. But as you can see, the Volkswagen ID Buzz is not meant to be a very road car. The seats are very vertical © Presse-citron

The equipment on the dashboard does not differ from other models in Volkswagen's electric range. We then find the same infotainment screen, with its particularly precise navigation system. Rather than a head-up vision system, Volkswagen is opting for a small handset placed behind the steering wheel with the most important information for driving. This minimalist bias, from an ergonomic point of view, is excellent.

 Reality behind the wheel of the Volkswagen Electric Combi (Test ID Buzz)

L’ interior of the Volkswagen ID Buzz incorporates all the equipment present on the rest of the electric range (ID3, ID4, ID5) © Presse-citron

The brake on autonomy

Volkswagen has equipped the new ID Buzz system with the most powerful battery of the brand, namely 77 kWh. It is not the most powerful module of the group, but only Audi reserves the use of the 95 kWh block signed LG Chem (86.5 kWh operated). Maybe it was enough after all, when the car already weighs 2.5 tons. But as you will be able to see with our estimates, breaks will be frequent when traveling on board the Volkswagen ID Buzz.

The new electric Combi does indeed have a limited range, which could prove to be a hindrance for customers looking to be able to drive at least 400 kilometers. During our test, we found that it was possible to travel around 350 kilometers on the highway only – and with more than mild weather. We will have to stay in town to get the 400 kilometers. And in winter, you will certainly have to count on a maximum range of only 350 kilometers.

Fast charging allows a maximum power of 170 kW. At this power, it will be possible to recover 200 kilometers in 10 minutes. And it will take 30 minutes to go from 5% to 80% charge. The Volkswagen ID Buzz does better than the rest of Volkswagen's electric range, while the ID5 is limited to 135 kW (150 kW in the GTX version). Otherwise, on an AC outlet of 11 kW, it will take 7h30 to fully charge the ID Buzz, from 0 to 100%.

 Reality behind the wheel of the Volkswagen electric Combi (Test ID Buzz)

© Presse-citron

Designed to one day be able to be equipped with 100% autonomous driving technologies, the new ID Buzz now incorporates the Travel Assist semi-autonomous driving mode, with its set of active safety features present in the Volkswagen electric range. We still note the presence of the lane keeping mode which is supported by a lane change assistance that can be activated via the turn signal. The Park Assist mode is also part of it with its memory function to save 5 parking lots. This equipment is only available as an option, however.

On the road in an electric Combi

To dream like a van, to live like a minivan… the new ID Buzz is to drive like a sedan. It shares the driving pleasures of electric cars in general, where in view of its size and weight, things could have been much more complicated.

Body roll is almost non-existent, the car behaves particularly well in curves thanks to its low center of gravity. The steering is a good compromise between precision and comfort. The braking, once you become familiar with the regenerative mode of the batteries, is powerful enough. All this would be nothing without the turning capacity, of only 11 meters of radius, which is similar to that of a compact sedan. Honorable.

Reality at the wheel of the Volkswagen electric Combi (Test ID Buzz)

High point, the new ID Buzz points as well as a Golf © Presse-citron

The reminders are very good up to 80 km/h with the block combining the equivalent of 204 horsepower. The car is not a thunderbolt, will not surprise its passengers or be a driver with radars, but is more than enough to fit into traffic and take hilly roads. Like what, this same engine that equips the ID5 and the Audi Q4 e-tron in particular is particularly efficient, whatever the size.

On the passenger side, especially in the rear, the feeling of being in a sedan takes precedence over being in a minivan. The seats are practically at the same level as in the front and it can be a little difficult to see the road. But the large windowsmake us forget everything. It is so pleasant to follow the landscape like this, rather than through narrow windows, which SUV design has a habit of grabbing from the surface (to enhance the design and make the whole thing more dynamic).

The car is surprisingly well insulated, despite its 21-inch wheels (on our test model) and the imposing glass surface. With this raised cabin, we imagine ourselves in a “real” SUV with high legs. The driving position is good, but the seats are not necessarily very enveloping and breaks during a long trip will be necessary to stretch. We would have liked a little more support and especially slack on the seats. Moreover, the damping is quite firm and the roughness of the road is not really smoothed out.

Reality behind the wheel of the Volkswagen Electric Combi (ID Buzz Test)

After testing the Volkswagen ID Buzz, what do you think? What verdict? © Lemon squeezer

Our opinion after testing the Volkwagen ID Buzz

Our opinion on the Volkswagen ID Buzz would be completely different if the electric Combi had found some enough to last more than 400 kilometres, take care of certain parts in the passenger compartment and offer more storage space. Pleasant to drive, with undeniable sympathy capital, the new electric Combi looks more in the passenger compartment. Sleek, it is not necessarily functional and we would perhaps have liked to find a storage space at the level of the roof sky, for example. With a premium design, its materials stand out. The rear shelves look particularly fragile, as does the front storage hatch under the center console.

For music, not enough to satisfy music lovers either. The Volkswagen ID Buzz is large and despite its soundproofing, the sound system does not follow, despite its 9 speakers. We will continue to salute the ingenuity of the placement of the sockets to recharge its devices, and the multiple possibilities to modulate the space as it pleases (two or three seats at the front). That said, if you want 7 seats, Volkswagen is counting on you to be patient. Same thing for the versions equipped like a van, to be able to put a bed and all the possible storage there. The calendar does not foresee anything before 2024.

At a time when electric is not yet a sufficiently effective solution for venturing far, and fast charging stations are still too limited to major roads, choose to launch an electric van is a real gamble. To expand its audience, ID Buzz has done well to rake the side of the minivan market. The station wagon segment, left aside in recent years in favor of SUVs, has succeeded in Volkswagen, which manages to offer a car with a nice look.

Reality behind the wheel of the Volkswagen Electric Combi ( Test ID Buzz)

A Volkswagen ID Buzz that you will have to try before you buy © Presse-citron

Prices of the Volkswagen ID Buzz in France

With the arrival of electric, minivans are more dexterous, more stylish. But the price impact is substantial. For a family vehicle or to live the van life, count no less than 55,990 euros, added bonus. The new Volkswagen ID Buzz will be marketed on November 21 from 56,990 euros including tax. Only one version is available, the one with its 204 horsepower, its 77 kW battery, in a 5-seater version. Additional equipment can be found in the options catalogue.

While a lot of standard equipment is available as standard, most of the elements that make the ID Buzz are only available as an option. To choose one of the two-tone bodies specific to the model, such as laurel green, energetic orange, lime yellow or starlight blue, you will have to pay 1,790 euros more. Travel Assist and Park Assist are also expensive options, at more than 2,170 euros.

Finally, for charging, Volkswagen still offers customers to subscribe to its We Charge card, at 12.99 euros per month. This allows you to benefit from preferential rates on the Ionity network in particular. Each kWh is thus billed at 0.35 euros instead of the 0.79 euros it costs for non-subscribers. A 12-month commitment is required to subscribe.

Volkswagen ID Buzz

56,990€

 Reality behind the wheel of the Volkswagen Electric Combi (Buzz ID Test)

6.9

Driving

8.0/10

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Interior

6.0/10

Embedded Technologies

8.5/10

Autonomy

6.0/10

Prices/equipments

6.0/10

We love it

  • The return of stylish minivans
  • Drive like a sedan
  • Super-fast charging
  • The electric van life

We like less

  • Quality of materials in the passenger compartment
  • Lack of storage space
  • Limited autonomy
  • Price
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