Modern version of the Combi
Twenty-one years is the time it will have taken volkswagen to realize his dreams of giving a successor to the mythical Combi of 1947. Admittedly, the line never really disappeared since its successor, the Carry, has always had family and motorhome versions in its range. But none of these descendants had the charm of the original model. With l’ID.Buzz, the German brand hopes to rekindle the flame among Combi fans. However, if the shape inevitably recalls its ancestor, the background is totally new.
The idea of giving a successor to the Combi dates back to the beginning of the 21st century. At the 2001 Frankfurt Motor Show, Volkswagen unveiled the Microbus. However promised as being close to the passage in series, this concept because will remain in the state. It will take 10 years for the project to take shape. The Geneva exhibition then serves as a framework for the presentation of the bulli. If this name resonates little in our French ears, it hits home with the Germans. Across the Rhine, Bulli is, in fact, the nickname given to the first Combi. Another highlight of this concept car is its engine. Exit thermal, the Bulli is 100% electric. And the oils of the brand confirm that, if there is marketing, it will necessarily be with this type of engine. But the Bulli also remains a dead letter and gives way, in 2016, to the concept Budd-e. Also electric, this prototype is based on the MEB platform, which is now used by ID.3, ID.4, ID.5 and, of course, ID.Buzz. But the design of the Budd-e is too massive and too far from that of the Combi. The project is therefore abandoned.
But, on the side of Wolfsburg, we are stubborn. In 2017, the fourth electric minivan concept, named ID.Buzz, is the star of the Detroit show. Launched into a massive electrification program for its range, following Dieselgate, Volkswagen ensures that this time it’s the right one. Today, the ID.Buzz has mellowed slightly aesthetically. But it is finally a commercial reality.
With its cubic profile, its front quarter panels which take place upstream of the doors or its false air intakes on the tailgate pillar, the standard version nevertheless takes up most of the styling effects of its ancestor. But it must also show that it belongs to the ID family. The round headlamps give way to stretched headlamps which, on the versions fitted with matrix headlights, resemble a pair of eyes. They stretch out in a luminous band that comes to die on the imposing logo, also inherited from the original model.
On the stern, the optics also give in to modernism. Sophisticated, they extend over the entire width of the tailgate. Here too, the manufacturer’s coat of arms is imposing. If the family resemblance with the Combi is, overall, very present, the ID.Buzz nevertheless lacks a more marked neo-retro touch, like what the New Beetle knew how to do it so well. To accentuate the line, it is however possible to opt for a two-tone body. But it will then be necessary to offload an additional €1,790.
On board, we also find this mixture of references to the past and modernism. On the one hand, the dashboard is as sober and slender in its design as that of the T2. Originally delivered in black, it can, for a minimum of €1,100, change to beige with blue, yellow, green or orange inserts. On the other, we find the now essential, and imposing, touch pad on which are grouped all the infotainment functions, but also the tiny instrument cluster common to all IDs.
If the general presentation is pleasant, the finish is still not at the level of those of thermal Volkswagens. The manufacturer has however made some efforts with, in particular, upholstery with a very qualitative appearance. Ergonomics, for its part, is excellent with regard to the main functions, such as air conditioning, GPS or radio, but the supporting roles are more difficult to flush out for the neophyte.
If the ID.Buzz is intended to be the descendant of the Combi, it must also be that of the Touran, near the end of his career. There is therefore plenty of space on board and the large glazed surfaces will be very popular with passengers. On the other hand, the rear seats are entrusted to a simple bench seat for three, and there is no possibility of opting for a third row of seats. Patience, however, because large families are not forgotten: a long version is promised by 2023-2024, and it should be equipped with these 7 places.
The luggage will be more than comfortable since more than 1m3 is reserved for them. This gigantic volume can also be compartmentalized thanks to several accessories, such as a double trunk board. The location of the engine on the rear axle therefore does not penalize the space dedicated to loading.
Mechanically, no surprise since the ID.Buzz uses the platform of all IDs. The engine, currently only available in its 204 hp configuration, draws its energy from a 77 kWh battery. The ID.Buzz thus promises 419 km of autonomy and shortened recharging times thanks to the acceptance of power up to 170 kW. This torque, imposed for the launch, however, turns out, on paper, to be the minimum required for this imposing baby, 4.71 m long and weighing more than 2.2 tonnes on the scale.