Volkswagen’s latest new vehicle debut is an electric revival of the classic VW Microbus… again. Yes, the ID Buzz is back after a European debut in 2022, however, this new three-row Buzz is bigger, more powerful and bound for 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 stubby nose and fascia to the long flat roof and boxy silhouette. The three-row Buzz’s massive front VW logo is now illuminated, a new bit of flash for the US debut.
Nearly 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 that additional length going into the now 127.5-inch wheelbase. This means that while the Buzz’s footprint has grown significantly, it still retains its short overhangs, which helps it look 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 from bumper to bumper, is about 8.3 inches shorter than the SUV. The Buzz bus is also 74.6 inches tall, or around 5 inches taller than the Atlas. (And, for fans of the old Microbus, the big Buzz is nearly 2 feet longer than the Type 2.)
The increased size makes room for more interior volume, particularly in the second row, with a downright luxurious amount of legroom. The new Buzz seats seven with its standard sliding bench seat, but a six-passenger option with captain’s chairs will be available. Pushing the bench forward even makes room for full-size adults to fit with reasonable comfort on the new third row. And, of course, both rows fold flat to create a lengthy cargo floor for bulky items.
The longer power-sliding side doors now feature small power-opening square windows that sit flush when closed. Above the passenger area lives the largest glass roof ever fitted to a production VW vehicle (64.7 inches long by 40.8 inches wide), with an electrochromic layer that shifts from transparent to opaque at the touch of a button.
Up front, a 12.9-inch version of VW’s new infotainment system lives at the center of the floating dashboard. Similar to the 15-inch unit that debuted on the ID 7 electric sedan, this setup now features illuminated volume and temperature sliders and a dedicated climate control bar along the bottom edge of the screen. The big screen is complemented by a compact 5.3-inch ID Cockpit digital instrument cluster just ahead of the steering wheel.
Volkswagen hasn’t published new volume or capacity numbers for the three-row Buzz — and I wasn’t allowed to break out my tape measure — but the company assured me we’d get more updates closer to launch.
Bigger battery, more power
Two of the biggest changes to the three-row ID Buzz aren’t visually apparent. The longer wheelbase also makes room for a bigger battery. The electric van will arrive in the States powered by a 91-kilowatt-hour battery pack (rather than 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 new performance drive unit now outputs 282 horsepower, 81 hp more than its smaller sibling, and 406 pound-feet of torque. The new motor features stronger permanent magnets, more coil windings and improved cooling. It’s also fed power via a more powerful inverter. The extra juice has allowed VW to raise the speed limiter to 99 miles per hour, nine more than the two-row’s 90 mph max speed. The three-row Buzz will also be available with two-motor all-wheel drive, which VW currently estimates at around 330 hp.
Unfortunately, VW was tight-lipped regarding range estimates, so some guesswork is required. The two-row with the smaller battery is currently estimated at 258 miles per charge, but that’s on the more generous WLTP cycle. The three-row boasts a bigger battery but will also be a touch heavier and subject to our more stringent EPA testing cycle. I expect the official estimate will remain in the same 260 to 270-mile ballpark.
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 fans of EV vans when it arrives on North American roads in 2024. More details — range, capacity, price, etc. — and announcements are expected over the coming months.