Up Close With the Volkswagen ID. Buzz: Not Your Average Minivan

The traditional minivan class is something of a stagnant segment in the U.S., with automakers having left it to turn their attention to SUVs. 


The all-new Volkswagen ID. Buzz, with its heritage-inspired design and all-electric drivetrain, doesn’t fit neatly among the other minivans available today, and there are better choices for those who need a family workhorse, but there’s no question it’ll inject some life into the class when it arrives in the U.S. in 2024. We got our first look at the new, production-ready ID. Buzz at the 2022 New York International Auto Show.

The ID. Buzz’s exterior design largely stays true to the look of the concept that debuted back in 2017 with its very short front and rear overhangs, rear sliding doors, two-tone paintwork and a giant VW logo set between the headlights. The connection with the original T1 Microbus is unmistakable, but the look overall is more modern than retro.

One of the most striking things about the ID. Buzz is how tall it is at 76.3 inches, which is 8 inches taller than a Honda Odyssey minivan and a half-inch taller than a Chevrolet Tahoe full-size SUV. Be sure to check the height of your garage door before ordering.

The view from the driver’s seat also differs quite a bit from other minivans. You step up to get seated rather than sliding sideways into the driver’s seat like in other minivans, and the ID. Buzz’s taller seating position lends a delivery-van-like view out the windshield.

Other aspects of the interior are familiar — for better or worse. The ID. Buzz gets the same small digital instrument panel and 10- or 12-inch center touchscreen as the brand’s all-electric ID.4 SUV, and both are reasonably intuitive. However, it also has the same liberal use of touch-sensitive controls as the ID.4; they appear below the touchscreen, on the steering wheel and on the left side of the dashboard. We’ve experienced these controls extensively in the ID.4, and for the most part, they’re just more cumbersome to use in everyday driving than the traditional knobs, switches and buttons they’ve replaced.

Volkswagen had a five-seat short-wheelbase ID. Buzz on the New York auto show floor with a second-row bench seat, but the U.S. is slated to get a long-wheelbase three-row version with seating for up to seven. The rear bench seat offers decent comfort and slides forward and backward, but it’s not removable like the second-row bucket seats in some vans, and it doesn’t fold into the floor like the Chrysler Pacifica’s Stow ‘n Go second-row seats. Volkswagen will offer a height-adjustable cargo floor to create a flat extended floor when the rear-seat backrest is folded, and the van’s tall roofline means there’s still decent cargo space above the folded rear seat.

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