Supporting Motors

Nostalgia abounds with new VW model but price might be a sticking point for families

Volkswagen received high praise for being out there when the ID Buzz was first launched. A very long lead-in to that launch left a huge amount of expectation with everyone and when it arrived, it did live up to the hype.

Its retro leanings hide just how modern it is. It is a throw-back to the early days of Volkswagen vans and mini buses. That’s the romance of this car and is the most obvious topic of conversation when people come up to you to ask about it. It brings back great memories and stimulates interest in equal measures. Nobody was too surprised then when the Buzz won the Irish Car of the Year last November.

Taking it for a week of testing has been quite the discovery and what you get is simply more than expected. It is so easy to drive when you get in, and all is completely uncomplicated. Considering the expansive levels of tech on offer, plotting your way around the cabin and the multi-functional interface between the driver and the screen is not as complicated as it is can be with many new cars.

The ID Buzz drives the back wheels with a 150kW electric motor powered by a 77kWh battery pack similar to the popular ID4 SUV. All that is fine but how does it do in terms of range and charging?

Volkswagen claims a range 409km and when I picked up the car in Dublin on the Monday, there was 390km shown on the dash after I popped it into eco mode for the drive home. Sticking with that mode and not pushing it too hard and taking the old road from Dublin meant that a 220km journey wiped about 260kms from the battery – quite an impressive return in real life usage. In comfort mode that figure was 330kms. You can also use sport mode and the return here is ridiculous.

Inside, the ID Buzz is just as jazzy and the exterior suggests. The combination of bright two-tone colouring matching the Pomela Yellow and Candy White paintwork on the outside carries through on the interior. Those almost-luminous colours make it feel bright and spacious.

The materials are fairly robust without being overly luxurious and you get all the storage areas that you could throughout the cabin. Also, VW haven’t spared on connection point and features for the passengers in the back as well as the upfront traveller.

It has to be said that the ID Buzz has not been flying out of the showrooms in the number that you might expect. There is one major reason for that – the price. They start at €68,470 for the entry ID Buzz Life model, rising to €74,640 for the ID Buzz Tech. The model tested with some addition feature comes in at €77,590.

On the road, the vehicle feels a lot lighter than you would imagine for a car that weighs two and a half tonne when empty. It is nimble around town while being solid on the open road. There is 1,121 litres of space behind the back seats and up to 2,205 litres when they are taken out of the way.

Enjoyable is the word that comes to mind when looking back on a week in the company of this quirky vehicle. You can see what Volkswagen are trying to achieve here, but it is not that affordable for most families. Also MPVs have a limited market with the advent of so many SUVs on the go. Irish drivers have bought into the SUV trend and the ID Buzz will struggle to buck that.

Pictured: The Volkswagen ID Buzz.

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