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Long-term review

Volkswagen ID. Buzz - long term review

Price: £62,995/£66,607/£680pcm
Published: 23 May 2023

How to spec an electric Volkswagen ID.Buzz

It’s March 2022 and I’ve just put a £1,000 deposit down on an ID.Buzz. At that stage that was all I could do. There was no configurator to while away the hours on. But I was about to get a lot more facetime with the Buzz.

Because I’d done a deal with VW that would get us a drive in an undisguised, production ready Buzz months and months ahead of anyone else. The car’s international launch was scheduled for August 2022 in Copenhagen, but I’d persuaded Volkswagen Germany to let us have a car for two days in late March, in the UK. There were a few stipulations. We couldn’t do more than 100 miles in it, and I had to have a VW chaperone in the car with me whenever I drove it. No issues there, because let’s be clear about these sort of world exclusives: they never happen.

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But this one did. So I asked for the Buzz to be delivered to the centre of the British surf van scene – Newquay in Cornwall – and for two days I used it as much as I could: driving, loading stuff in it, used it as a changing room, loaded people in and so on. It culminated in us staging our very own Bugjam festival, where I invited VW owners clubs, modifiers, camper converters and fans to have a look around the Buzz and give their verdicts.

It was fascinating. Not least because they picked up the same issues I had. Although the front cabin is superb, the rear is pretty dull and not that spacious as the bench doesn’t slide back as far as it should. Behind it, the boot is huge but featureless. And actually only huge by SUV standards – if you compare it to a T6 it’s actually about a third smaller inside.

So I came away from Cornwall with some doubts about the practicality, but none about the way it looked or drove, and only some minor reservations about range. But the attention it had attracted, the sense of it offering something different, of being a brighter, better way to travel, that was all very compelling. It might not be a camper, but my chaperone, one of VW’s product planners, tipped me off about an optional mattress that would sit flat on a raised plinth and across the folded back seats. So I got home and chased the dealer again.

Nothing for another three months or more. Then in July, some proper progress: firstly, a request for another £1,000 deposit which the salesman at Marshalls in Reading seemed as perplexed about having to ask for as I was. And secondly the configurator went live. Let the games begin.

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They didn’t last long. There’s not much point being on the waiting list if you’re not going to have a 1st Edition, which comes with almost everything attached already (at least I assumed it did – that will backfire on me later), and I was already 95 per cent sure we’d have the two-tone Lime Yellow/Candy White paintjob. But at this stage it becomes a family decision. I decided I knew my wife well enough. I step away from the configurator and give her free rein. I come back. I’m looking at a green van on small wheels.

I’m just trying to plan a strategy to tackle this residual value nightmare, when she bursts, “Ha! Your face was a picture. Just joshing – I want the full sunny ice cream van”. After that there really aren’t many options to add. The paint was £1,800, I was always going to have the £980 retractable towbar for bike carrying, I added the £190 charging cable and my invoice informs me I also ticked the box for the £90 toolkit with jack.

There were other more hidden extras as well. Marshalls chipped in, offering me everything from tyre insurance to vehicle value protection to Lifeshine which just seems to be an extra layer of wax and some upholstery spray. It’s £499 and somehow I say yes to it. And an extended £349 12-month warranty. Oh well, in for a penny…

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