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Up Close and Personal With the VW ID. Buzz, a Retro Styled EV That Lives Up to the Hype

You can say a lot about retro-styled Volkswagens. There's a perfectly reasonable argument for their retro-futuristic design language, particularly with the New Beetle, being misguided and ill-fated. But when it comes to the new ID. BUZZ EV, the next generation of the famed T1 "Hippy Bus," there's a sense it's in the right place at the right time.
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The ID Buzz is the result of innovations inspired by VWs drive to put the scourge of the recent past behind them. Minds from Europe, the U.S., and many other countries informed its design language and the technological needs demanded. Yes, it was a European example on display at the 2022 New York Auto Show in Manhattan. But rest assured, the North American example was engineered to meet demands.

Firstly, the ID Buzz is an EV that may look like its exterior shell was created before the drivetrain was even ready. Given its ancestral heritage and all, that would make sense. But there's a sense that's just not the case with this EV van. Electric cars are starting to differ from this norm. As with any good modern battery-EV, the ID Buzz had to start with a strong foundation, one supported by a single rear-axle APP-310 electric motor with an output of 150 kW (201 hp) and 310 N⋅m (229 lb-ft) of torque, at least in the short-wheelbase variant.

VW claims an electric range of 400–480 kilometers (250–300 miles) from fully charged to fully drained in this trim. It's capable of accepting charges from both AC and DC power sources, although it gains a substantial boost from modern DC-current fast charging systems popping up in North American major cities. Future software updates are due to allow quick authentication in city EV charging centers using proprietary ISO 15118 encryption purpose-built for EV-charging authentification purposes.

Press release photos sometimes fail to paint the full picture of a vehicle's true appearance. But we must say in terms of the ID. Buzz, the photos never gave it anything close to justice. The Euro-spec edition on hand comes straight from the VWs assembly plant in Hanover, Germany. With standard-wheelbase figures measuring 2,988 mm (117.6 in), and both ID. Buzz models are 4,712 mm (185.5 in) long and 1,985 mm (78.1 in) wide, excluding wing mirrors, these aren't giant vehicles, nor are they tiny.

VW ID\.Buzz 2022 NYIAS
The short wheelbase ID. Buzz is 1,937 mm (76.3 in) tall in its passenger form, while the cargo version is 1,938 mm due to slight differences in the chassis. With a turning circle of 11.1 meters (36.4 ft), it's sure to be a whale of a great time to drive in busy city centers throughout the world. The interior matches the flavor of the exterior better than any M&M candy.

With tasteful white synthetic stitched leather seat covers sporting massage and memory functions, there's ample luxury to be had for what's supposed to be the electric "boogie bus" of the present and future. From the factory, a ten-inch Digital Cockpit multitouch display joins with a ten-inch center-mounted infotainment system. An upgraded 12-inch display with navigation is optional.

Seating is arranged in two rows of three in the standard wheelbase option and in a two-three-two pattern with the extended wheelbase. With folding seats which stow away as close to flat as possible, you could haul some serious loads in this van if not for the range anxiety that comes along with that commitment.

On first impressions, we could see the queue line stretching all the way outside the front door of VW dealerships across the country just to get their hands on a test drive. In the same way that the New Beetle ultimately failed to have the same curb appeal as its forbearers, the ID. Buzz, the next in the lineage of the iconic Hippy Bus, is getting the equal yet polarly opposite response.

VW ID\.Buzz 2022 NYIAS
People are drooling and frothing at the mouth to get their eyes on this bus, even just at the NY Auto Show's first press day. If the response to the first road Legal North American example is anywhere near this much of a frenzy, you might just see all the ill-will from VW's past start to erase away the same way that today, most people don't know that Harley Davidson was guilty of the exact same thing.

Check out the gallery above if you want to see more. Thanks for reading our coverage from the 2022 New York International Auto Show.

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