Plenty of Volkswagen aficionados can finally welcome the return of the two-tone earth-friendly VW bus.
Volkswagen has today taken the wraps off the US-spec ID. Buzz, which is longer, more capacious, and better equipped than the European version revealed a little over a year ago, and VW's American representatives seem to be just as excited as potential buyers.
"The zero-direct emission ID. Buzz is the spiritual reincarnation of the Microbus, reimagined for our electric future," said Pablo Di Si, President and CEO of Volkswagen of America. "It is practical, sustainable, and packaged in an unmistakably fun way that is classic Volkswagen. With its launch, the Bus will once again become our brand hero in America."
As standard, the ID. Buzz channels the spirit of its predecessor with a rear-mounted power plant. While the Euro-spec model was limited to 201 hp, America's ID. Buzz uses a single rear motor generating 282 hp and up to 406 lb-ft of torque. This is the same new APP550-designated permanent magnet synchronous motor that will be used in the ID.7.
If buyers want more, a dual-motor AWD variant is optionally available with "about 330 hp." As with other current MEB-based vehicles, the Buzz features a multi-link rear suspension and struts at the back.
We also get a larger battery pack: 91 kWh versus 82 kWh in the two-row variant.
The new electric motor means you now have an electronically limited top speed of 99 mph compared to the Euro model's 90 mph. Totally rad, dude.
At 192.4 inches long, the three-row ID. Buzz is almost 10 inches longer than the regular version, thanks to a 127.5-inch wheelbase. Width stands at 77.9 inches while the height is 74.6 inches, which makes the Buzz five inches taller than an Atlas SUV with a similar width.
It should be pretty slippery through the air thanks to a remarkable drag coefficient of 0.29, but range estimates have not yet been revealed. We suspect EPA certification will take place next quarter, but for reference, the European version claims up to 258 miles on a single charge. With a larger battery but a little more weight, we predict a nominal but noticeable increase in range.
As for styling, retro cues abound. Just like the two-row, you get an oversized VW badge up front. This is illuminated and connected to a lightbar extending outward to each LED headlight. At the rearmost pillar, faux vents reference the air-cooled original, while an optional two-tone paint job blends in more tradition. Speaking of colors, you still get Energetic Orange, Pomelo Yellow, and Mahi Green to choose from, but now Cabana Blue (pictured here), Metro Silver, and Indium Grey are new. 20-inch wheels are less retro and a full 20% larger than those on the 1950 T2.
Inside, dark brown leatherette seats feature white piping, while blue door inserts and a dark wood-look dash are contrasted by a black headliner and other accents. Alternatively, you can spec light grey with clay piping and inserts and a light wood-look dash. The last combo sees brown leatherette seats with yellow piping, light grey door inserts, and a washed wood-look dash.
Other highlights include Play and Pause diagrams on the pedals and a removable center console with flexible storage on top. In this section, you can find dividers that again follow tradition by doubling as ice scrapers and bottle openers.
Features include an automatic tailgate, keyless entry, illuminated front door handles, and 30-color ambient lighting with five preset modes. Alternatively, the driver can choose to illuminate different areas individually. You also get 12-way powered front seats with dual armrests, ventilation, massage, and memory. The first two rows and the steering wheel are also heated, and the second- and third-row windows are tinted. Another option is to specify a panoramic sunroof with electrochromic tinting, which measures 67.4 inches by 40.8 inches, the largest of any in the Volkswagen Group. Take that, Bentley.
The second-row seats can be folded in a 60:40 split, and the seat backs can bend 16 degrees. The entire bench can also move over 7.9 inches of travel, with a four-inch forward movement for third-row ingress.
If you want more luxury, the seven-seat configuration can be changed to a six-person layout with second-row captain's chairs. Both rear rows fold flat, and the third can be removed entirely.
Back to the front, the driver has a 5.3-inch ID. Cockpit display, while infotainment is handled by a 12.9-inch central display with wireless App-Connect, wireless charging, eight USB-C ports, and 100-volt and 12V charging outlets. A 14-speaker Harman Kardon audio setup is also available.
Also worth mentioning is the ID. Light system featuring a light strip below the windshield that changes color and light movement to convey important driving information.
Following customer complaints, the infotainment has been revised with illuminated touch sliders for volume and climate control, and the infotainment screen now shows the climate functions at the bottom of the screen for easy access. It's an improvement, but we still want buttons. Are you listening, Wolfsburg?
Pricing has not yet been released, but sales in North America are planned to begin in 2024.