Volkswagen’s latest new car debut is an electric revival of the classic VW Microbus… again. Yes, the ID Buzz is back after its European debut in 2022, but this new three-row Buzz is bigger, more powerful, and hitting US roads for the first time in over 20 years.
The broad strokes of the three-row ID Buzz are essentially unchanged from its European counterpart. The electric van still features a design inspired by Volkswagen’s iconic Type 2 Microbus, from the chunky nose and front end to the long flat roof and boxy silhouette. The three-row Buzz’s massive front VW logo is now illuminated, a new flash piece for the US debut.
Almost 10 inches longer
However, the Buzz that will arrive in the States will be 9.9 inches longer than the two-row model, with all of that extra length fitting into the current 127.5-inch wheelbase. This means that while the Buzz’s footprint has grown significantly, it still retains its short overhangs, helping it appear smaller than it is.
To give you a sense of scale, the three-row ID Buzz is about the same width (77.9 inches) as Volkswagen’s three-row Atlas, but at 192.4 inches bumper-to-bumper, it’s about 8.3 inches shorter than the SUV . The Buzz Bus is also 74.6 inches tall, or about 5 inches taller than the Atlas. (And for fans of the old Microbus, the big Buzz is almost 2 feet longer than the Type 2.)
The increased size makes room for more interior volume, especially in the second row, with downright luxurious legroom. The new Buzz seats seven with its standard sliding seat, but a six-passenger option with captain’s chairs will also be available. Pushing the bench forward even makes room for full-sized adults to fit in reasonable comfort in the new third row. And of course, both rows fold flat to create a long cargo floor for bulky items.
The longer power-sliding side doors now feature small, mechanically opening square windows that flatten when closed. Above the passenger area is the largest glass roof ever fitted to a production VW car (64.7 inches long and 40.8 inches wide), with an electrochromic layer that changes from transparent to opaque at the touch of a button.
Up front, a 12.9-inch version of VW’s new infotainment system lives in the center of the floating dashboard. Like the 15-inch device that debuted on ID 7 electric sedan, this setup now includes illuminated volume and temperature sliders and a dedicated climate control bar along the bottom edge of the screen. The large screen is complemented by a compact 5.3-inch ID Cockpit digital instrument panel just in front of the steering wheel.
Volkswagen hasn’t released any new volume or capacity figures for the three-row Buzz—and I wasn’t allowed to get out my tape measure—but the company assured me we’ll get more updates closer to launch.
Bigger battery, more power
Two of the biggest changes to the three-line ID Buzz are not visually noticeable. The longer wheelbase also makes room for a larger battery. The electric van will arrive in the States powered by a 91-kilowatt-hour battery pack (instead of the 82-kWh European unit).
We’ll also get a more powerful standard electric motor. Mounted at the rear of the vehicle – just like in the OG Microbus – the powerful new power unit now outputs 282 horsepower, 81 hp. more than its smaller sibling and 406 lb-ft of torque. The new motor features stronger permanent magnets, more coils and improved cooling. It is also powered by a more powerful inverter. The extra juice allowed the VW to raise the speed limiter to 99 mph, nine more than the two-row’s 90 mph top speed. The three-row Buzz will also be available with dual-motor all-wheel drive, which VW currently estimates at around 330 hp.
Unfortunately, VW has been tight-lipped about mileage estimates, so some guesswork is required. The two-row with a smaller battery is currently rated at 258 miles on a single charge, but that’s on the more generous WLTP cycle. The three-row has a bigger battery, but it’ll also be a little heavier and put through our tougher EPA testing cycle. I expect the official estimate to stay in the same range of 260 to 270 miles.
We’re still not getting the two-row ID Buzz here in the US, so the three-row will be the only option for nostalgic EV van fans when it hits North American roads in 2024. More details – range, capacity, price, etc. — and announcements are expected in the coming months.