2024 Volkswagen ID. Buzz Hands-On Preview: The 'Bus is Back
Volkswagen’s ID. Buzz is that most rare of vehicles: as desirable as it is practical.
VW has spent over 20 years teasing a modern-day Type 2. There have been more concepts than we can count, and persistent rumors of production models the whole time. But finally, with the brand’s MEB platform serving as a base, it’s finally coming to life as the 2024 ID. Buzz.
On the New York Auto Show floor, the reborn ‘Bus draws one of the most consistent crowds, despite debuting over a month ago. For many in attendance, this is still the first time to see the ID. Buzz in person. Volkswagen invited small group of journalists to a guided tour of the Euro-market Buzz, and AutoGuide was part of it. Here’s what we learned about what might be one of the coolest new vehicles coming to market next year.
Big ‘Bus (will be bigger here)
It’s very hard to put into perspective the size of the ID. Buzz. Pictures convey the single-box shape accurately enough, but they don’t show off the width or height. The best way to put it? The Buzz has substantial volume.
Of course, the dimensions give it serious space inside, the vehicular equivalent of 10-foot ceilings. Helping matters is that low, flat floor: the Buzz and Tiguan are roughly the same length, but the added ride height of the latter compromises its space for people and their things.
And this is just the Euro-spec version, measuring 185.5 inches (4,712 millimeters) from nose to tail. The eventual North American model will see a stretched wheelbase with longer rear doors. Volkswagen hasn’t said how many extra inches the Buzz will pack on for our market, but we know it’ll be enough to accommodate a third row of seats. It should still be comfortably shorter than the smallest traditional minivan on the market, the Kia Carnival (203.0 inches / 5,156 mm).SEE ALSO: 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 AWD First Drive Review: Broadening the EV Appeal
The ID. Buzz very clearly nods to the history of the T2 without being a slavish copy. The two-tone paint helps, sure, but VW credits the electric architecture for making such a cab-forward design even possible in the first place. There’s minimal surface detailing, letting the large expanses of clean sheetmetal convey a sense of space.
The thin head- and taillights also emphasize the Buzz’ width. Look closely and there’s subtle branding within the lighting units themselves. I’m a fan of the notch in the taillights to extend the guide tracks for the sliding doors. The original Samba Bus had a trio of cooling vents on each side of the rear; VW has mirrored that design element on the D-pillar of the ID. Buzz here.
Even the curve the two-tone paint follows on the bumper, and the diamond pattern below it, is a nod to the original. It’s a subtler one though, not coming to a point as before. “It’s more of a U than a V,” admits a VW rep.
The interior is more of a departure, but we love that VW isn’t afraid to match the bright colors of the exterior. It’s fun!SEE ALSO: 2022 Volkswagen GTI and Golf R First Drive Review
Clever storage solutions
As it turns out, the Buzz is big and clever. This five-seat model is chock-full of real, practical solutions to everyday needs. The center console between the front seats features a big roll-out bin for second-row passengers. Don’t like it? A press of a button lets you just lift the whole thing out. Even in place, the center console leaves an ample pass-through between the front seats. There’s a pair of flip-out cupholders in the lower dashboard, preserving that space when not in use.
Without a traditional center console, Volkswagen has migrated the passenger’s USB-C charge port to a dedicated cubby within the door panel. It’s the sort of simple solution we’re shocked hasn’t happened elsewhere. Not only is this a more natural spot for passengers to stick their phones, but even in cars with a larger center console, it would free them from ever bumping hands with the driver. I fit my iPhone 13 Pro Max in the cubby just fine, so anything short of a tablet shouldn’t be a problem.
VW has also included trays in the front seatbacks, with integrated cupholders. These are less impressive, at least here in pre-production form, due to thin plastic and an overall fragile feeling. There’s a definite use for them, so we’re curious to see how VW evolves the setup between now and the Buzz’s on-sale date.
Second-row passengers have nearly six inches of fore-and-aft travel to play with. The 60/40 row also folds flat, resulting in a wide and deep storage space. North America won’t be getting the cargo van variant, but fear not: the Buzz should still swallow tons of stuff.SEE ALSO: Honda Odyssey vs Toyota Sienna Comparison: Minivan Mix-n-Match
More Easter Eggs than a bunny
Suiting its slightly cheeky look, the Buzz houses a variety of surprise-and-delight Easter Eggs. Hunt around the interior and it doesn’t take long to spot little line drawings of the ‘Bus itself, on the sides of the seats and on the pockets in the cargo area. Inside the door handle recesses hides a winking smiley face, too.
Pull out the drawer in the center console and there’s the drawing again, making its way around the globe.
This is just the beginning
Just as the original T2 was built off the basic bones of the Beetle, the ID. Buzz is just a jumping off point. Already Volkswagen has shown off this five-seater, the cargo van version, and there’s the upcoming LWB model. Given the long and storied history of its predecessor, we expect a whole cavalcade of campers, surfer vans, and other fun takes from the aftermarket. SEMA should have a field day with the Buzz.
We expect more powertrain variants over time, too. Initially the Buzz will use the 201-horsepower, 229-pound-foot electric motor found in the ID.4, powering the rear wheels. It will pull its juice from an 82-kWh battery pack, as well. The ID.4 already offers an AWD model, and there’s no reason to think VW couldn’t drop that into the ID. Buzz as well.
Like Tom Petty said, however, waiting is the hardest part. Europe will say hello to the Buzz’ smiling face before the end of the year, but we’ll have to wait until later in 2023 to do that here, with the car arriving as a 2024 model.
We’re big proponents of the minivan here at AutoGuide, and the 2024 Volkswagen ID. Buzz only strengthens that position. VW won’t want us calling it that of course, but after poking around this Euro-spec model, we’ve got another word: cool.
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Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.
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