June 2, formerly just another day, the 153rd day of most years and the 154th of a leap year, has now been declared International Volkswagen Bus Day. Who designated this? Apparently there is such a thing as the “National Day Calendar” where such things can be somewhat officially certified and cataloged. Sounds like a good racket, but how a day expands from “National” to “International” is a mystery.
What inspired this designation is the debut of the longer, three-row version of the new ID. Buzz sort-of-revival bus at an event held this coast in Huntington Beach, California this Friday. This is the version of the all-electric van that will go on sale in the United States sometime next year. Yes, comedian Gabriel Iglesias was there with all his Fluffy-ness and infamous van-obsessivity to spark interest. And the interest was all over.
Meanwhile, the ID. Buzz is familiar. It was first shown in concept form at the 2017 North American International Auto Show, and the two-row version has been on sale in other parts of the planet since 2022. This was the first chance to see the American version. And it won’t go on sale for another year and a half… in the fall of 2024 and probably as a 2025 model.
That will be almost eight years after the concept was shown. This is such an excruciatingly long and teasing vehicle launch, what’s surprising is it’s not for a Tesla.
With approximately 400 vintage canisters in stock, the love for the original, air-cooled, internally burned Microbus is astonishingly widespread, intense, genuine and enduring. Not exploiting that affection would be marketing abuse. So here’s a VW event that references Woodstock (incessantly), surfing (intense) and even the look of a van in Fast times at Ridgemont High (oblique). A crowd of perhaps 2,000 showed up to ogle the new van and bask in Vee Dub solidarity. The social media representation ranged from gyroscopically stabilized high-definition cameras to hundreds of smartphones and very deep down to the most basic of social media, dogs sniffing each other’s butts. Lots of good vibrations.
Raised on the goodwill of the public, the ID. Long-wheelbase Buzz looked mighty attractive. The longer wheelbase – barely four centimeters compared to the two-row – flatters the shape of the van. There’s almost a Disneyland monorail/Japanese bullet train sky in the air. Even if it didn’t have a huge, illuminated VW logo embedded in its nose, it would look cool and sleek.
To temper that enthusiasm, the preliminary specs announced for the US market car contain some lackluster numbers. The 260-mile range for a 282-horsepower rear-wheel-drive version might have been impressive a few years ago, but it won’t be so exciting in a few months. The 91 kilowatt-hour battery pack is larger than the current Euro-spec ID. Buzz (at 82 kWh), and competitive in today’s market. But this is a big beast at 195.4 inches (for the stretch) and the version crash tested for Euro NCAP hit the scales at 2384 kilograms. That’s 5256 pounds American. The bigger US market machine should weigh more. And with only 282 horsepower, it probably won’t be among the faster electric motors.
The two-engine, four-wheel-drive version is supposed to have 330 horsepower, but weigh even more. VW vans have always been slow – the 1950 original had a 1.1-litre flat-four rated at 24bhp – so at least that Anti-Destination League tradition can continue.
The interior is flexible, almost avant-garde in its details and packed with the expected technology. There is a lot of white leather in the vehicles on display; although more dirt-hiding shades may be more practical. The middle row seats are almost sumptuous in their room, but the legroom in the back row isn’t generous. Expect many owners to stow the rear seat and leave the rear open for cargo.
No one outside of VW has driven with the US ID. Buzz not yet. So it’s an open quest
ion how it will perform in the real world. But even with those reservations about range and acceleration, it’s natural to want to drive such an attractive and potentially practical machine.
VW is nowhere near announcing pricing, but our Hearst Autos colleague Mark Vaughn from Autoweek made the logical argument that given the way the current VW ID range is structured, a base in the range of $60,000 seems likely with prices rising from there. Given the mania out there for this vehicle, expect dealers not to be embarrassed to ask for more. Much more.
It will be another year (at least) before VW finally pays the buzz on the ID. Buzz with some press coverage. So hold on tight. Or, more in bus parlance, hang loose.
You might also like it