We Went for a Spin in VW’s ID. Buzz Electric Van, and We Can Hardly Wait for It!

Taking A Spin In The Id. Buzz, Volkswagen'S Electric Van
It felt good to take a spin the ID. Buzz, Volkswagen's electric van. Photo: Scotty Reiss

This is the coolest un-minivan ever.

My family’s first minivan was actually a VW Microbus, the inspiration for the newest VW electric van, the ID. Buzz. Our bus was a large green and white van with three rows of seating, coach doors and a 30 horsepower motor in the back. My parents could put a play yard on the floor and let us play as we drove from New York to Florida (horrifying, I know). For them, it was the ideal family car because there was room for all of us to climb in and out, it was easy to manage us and it had good visibility of the road. 

Fast forward a *few* years and my dad and I were on a walk when we came across a VW Microbus from the same era. We had to stop and peek in the windows and my dad called out all its flaws: Its coach doors open outward, making getting in and out cumbersome; it didn’t have seatbelts (he installed them in ours); front seat passengers were seated so close to the front bumper that in a crash they would be crushed or sent flying through the front windshield. And for all its size, there was relatively little cargo space: a small cargo shelf sat over the engine compartment. So when we traveled, we crammed in next to luggage and toys (and that play yard) and let the high pitched rattle of the engine lull us to sleep. 

All of this explains why it took sooooooo long for VW to finally recreate the beloved freedom machine that is so revered for the lifestyle and creativity it inspires. 

The Microbus had to be reinvented to accommodate safety and other regulatory necessities, and it just couldn’t have a big engine out front; that would have ruined its iconic look. But with electric motors and batteries? Well, that changed the equation completely.

And now, the newest VW electric bus is nearly here: the VW ID. Buzz. The company kicked off a publicity tour at South by Southwest (SXSW, as it’s known) to let people experience it before it goes on sale in Europe later this year and in North America in 2023.

And, some of us got to go for a ride in this buzz-maker, which was a real treat. Here’s what it’s like.

Related: We’re absolutely Buzzing about the World Premiere of the Volkswagen ID. Buzz!

The Dash In The Vw Id. Buzz

The dash in the VW electric bus, the ID. Buzz. Photo: Scotty Reiss

This thing is zippy

Let’s start with the ride, because checking out all the fun features is one thing, but what’s it like to drive? In this case, impressive. Yes, it’s an electric van with lots of room, and when it makes its way to North America it’ll have even more room; VW is adding a 3rd row to make this a truly flexible van for US buyers. 

And when they bring it to the US in 2023, it’ll be even zippier. The 2 row version has the same motor as the VW ID.4, a 201 horsepower rear wheel drive that generates 229 pound-feet of torque. The 3-row will have 300HP and about 339 pound-feet of torque, as well as all wheel drive.

And while 200 HP may not sound like a lot, it was plenty. Not for a second did the ID. Buzz feel sluggish or slow. It zipped around Austin easily keeping up with traffic and effortlessly merging into faster traffic. Mark, our host and driver, has clearly mastered electric car driving— when you get good at it, you mostly only use the accelerator and rarely use the brake to maximize regeneration of the battery—and he kept us moving comfortably throughout our ride.

Related: I Wanted These VW Vans As Soon As I Saw Them On Instagram

Rear Tray Tables Are Attached The Backs Of The Front Seats

Rear tray tables are attached to the backs of the front seats. Photo: Scotty Reiss

It delivers a comfortable ride

The open, airy cabin is pleasant and comfortable with good visibility. It was easy to carry on a conversation with passengers in the rear seat, to see the road ahead and to take in the sights around us. And, its seats are made from all sustainable materials, like post-consumer plastics, and were really comfortable. Our test model didn’t have a sunroof, which I hope will be included when the ID. Buzz comes to the US, but with the white upholstery and lots of windows, it didn’t really need it. 

Related: What Are VW ID.4 AWD’s Best Features? Here are 5 I Loved In this All Electric Car

The View Of The Driver'S Seat In The Vw Id. Buzz

The view of the driver’s seat in the VW ID. Buzz. Photo: Scotty Reiss

It’s easy to maneuver in traffic

Mark reported the ID. Buzz to be easy to drive. It’s not oversized, so it fit right in with the rest of the traffic even on some relatively narrow traffic lanes in East Austin, one of the city’s older neighborhoods. And with quick acceleration and easy slowing by just lifting off the accelerator, the ID. Buzz easily kept up with the traffic flow. When pulling into a turn lane, and when turning a corner, the motion felt natural and visibility was good. And when it came to getting up to speed to merge into traffic the ID. Buzz was smooth and confident. 

Related: How to Decide if an Electric Car Is Right for Your Lifestyle

The Pop Out Front Seat Cupholders

The pop out front seat cupholders. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Sliding doors mean easy in and out

I just love this detail. Why every SUV ever didn’t add sliding doors is beyond me. If doors can slide, they should. It’s just easier, more convenient and allows more room for getting people and things in and out. And, no door-ding shaming, which is priceless.

The Cargo Area In The Vw Id. Buzz

The cargo area in the VW ID. Buzz. Photo: Scotty Reiss

It has great cargo space — small and large

This is one of the things I appreciated the most: lots of good places to put stuff. Like the bin in front of the passenger’s seat, and a pull-out bin on the center dash that has cup holders. There’s a phone cubby that doubles as a wireless charge pad that also has two USB ports. And there’s a center console between the front seats that has lots of storage, including a pull-out drawer for rear seat passengers. Or, it can be removed if you want to install something of your own or leave the space open. 

Rear seat passengers have that cargo bin, door panels and USB charge ports, as well as lots of leg room and a flat floor, so no one will trip over a hump in the floor when getting into the car.

Rear passengers also have this: A pop up tray table! Yes, there’s a table attached to the rear front seats so back seat passengers can have a snack, prop a tablet on the table for viewing, or maybe, get their homework done.

And then, there’s the cargo area. Unlike the original bus, the ID. Buzz has a really large cargo floor and it will likely be even bigger in the 3-row model; it’s expected to have a cargo well, too.

The tailgate offers a nice height; it’s not too high, like many SUVs can be but not too low. The cargo floor will be easy for loading in heavy things or to allow puppies to hop in with ease. 

The Front Panel Of The Id. Buzz Folds Down; This Is Where The Windshield Washer Fluid Is Replaced

The front panel of the ID. Buzz folds down; this is where the windshield washer fluid is refilled. Photo: Scotty Reiss

No gas station stops!!!

I’m the queen of “I’ll get gas in the morning” and then, not having enough time, derailing my entire day by having to stop to fill up before school drop off. So, no gas station stops avoids that issue (as long as I don’t forget to plug in the car). 

With an estimated 260 mile range — similar to the VW ID.4— you can drive right by all those gas stations with glee. And, no need to listen to your kids fighting in the car while you’re pumping gas. Or frantically trying to find a baby wipe to clean your hands so you can put a straw into a juice box or pop a pacifier into a screaming mouth. Right?

And this may just be the first fully electric minivan on the road. The race is on for sure, but the VW ID. Buzz is the first to be seen on the road and allow ride-alongs.

There are so many fun, clever and creative features on the VW ID. Buzz. And, we are pretty sure there will be more than what we saw in the prototype. Swiveling center row captains chairs? More pop up tray tables? Reverse charging so you can use your ID. Buzz to power your campsite? The possibilities are pretty endless, and we have no doubt that VW’s designers and engineers will delight us with them. We can’t wait.

There Are Lots Of Fun Little 'Easter Eggs' In The Id. Buzz

There are lots of fun little ‘Easter Eggs’ in VW’s electric bus, the ID. Buzz. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Have a thought or comment? Share it with us on social media! You can find us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. And be sure to sign up for our email newsletter!

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss