VW ID Buzz LWB Review: A Buzz Made Better

VW ID Buzz LWB Review: A Buzz Made Better

The characterful Volkswagen ID Buzz has gained a 250mm longer wheelbase, giving it the option of seven seats for the first time – and it’s all the better for it

The VW ID Buzz is an immensely likeable car. Volkswagen’s combination of a highly flexible, roomy interior and retrofuturistic T1 throwback styling has led to a car that sits in the middle of the head/heart Venn diagram.

That said, all hasn’t been entirely rosy in Buzz-land since it launched in 2022. Firstly, it’s rather expensive: right now, it starts at £59,035 in the UK, officially A Lot for a VW family car, even one as desirable as this.

Secondly, it’s had to make do with a weedy 201bhp electric motor, officially Not A Lot of power in something that weighs 2.4 tonnes. As a result, its 0-62mph time only just squeaks in below 10 seconds. Thirdly, the passenger-carrying Buzz has only come as a five-seater so far, which seems like a misstep in something that’s the size and shape of a van (and indeed, has a dedicated cargo version).

VW ID Buzz LWB - front, static

VW ID Buzz LWB – front, static

Thankfully, VW has set about fixing the latter two of those issues, without massively impacting the first. It’s launched a long-wheelbase version of the ID Buzz which, for the first time, opens up space for a third row of seats.

It’s 250mm longer than the regular Buzz, taking overall length to a smidge under five metres. The wheelbase stretch also allows for bigger sliding doors, allowing easier access to that third row. If sheer capacity is what you’re after, the standard configuration is a three-abreast bench in the middle and a pair of extra seats in the back.

You can also have a six-seater layout with two captain’s chairs in the middle and a walkthrough space to the rearmost bench – this layout’s also coming to the SWB Buzz. Finally, if you just want a bigger boot, you can order a five-seater LWB. 

VW ID Buzz LWB - rear, boot open

VW ID Buzz LWB – rear, boot open

On the subject of boot space, that third row naturally eats into it a bit, leaving it at a slim 306 litres. The two back rows can fold flat, though, and on the seven-seater, you can take out the back seats entirely.

That’s capacity dealt with, so what about grunt? Well, the ID Buzz LWB gets a new motor with 282bhp and 413lb ft. It drives the rear wheels in place of the SWB car’s gasping 201bhp motor, dropping the 0-62mph time from 9.9 to around eight seconds.

But wait – this more powerful motor has just replaced the original in all Buzzs in mainland Europe, and it’ll soon become the baseline in the UK too, which will bring extra punch to the whole lineup.

VW ID Buzz LWB - rear, static

VW ID Buzz LWB – rear, static

Also in mainland Europe, you can order the long-wheelbase Buzz in new 335bhp, two-motor GTX form. That’s reserved for the standard-length car in the UK, though, and to be honest, you don’t really need it.

The embiggening of the Buzz has also allowed the fitment of a larger 86kWh battery, compared to the shorter car’s 77kWh pack (soon to be 79kWh). This gives it a quoted range of 295 miles. That’s better than before, although other style-conscious seven-seater EVs, like the Kia EV9 and Volvo EX90, offer ranges in the mid-300s. Drive sensibly (and there’s no reason not to), and you should manage around 3 miles per kWh.

Mostly, though, it’s all good news – the extra grunt, range and space all make the Buzz an even more appealing thing. None of the three rows lack room, although as is often the case with these things, those at the very back get the short shrift a little on comfort, with firmer, oddly angled seats. Best reserve them for your two least favourite children (with that said, the cars we drove had US-spec rear seats – apparently the final Euro cars will get a slightly different setup).

VW ID Buzz LWB - interior

VW ID Buzz LWB – interior

The rest of the interior is superb: very comfy and refined, and with a much-improved infotainment system versus some of VW’s other recent efforts.

You can spec various jolly pastel colours inside, including for the seat fabric on the top Style trim, and there’s the option of a truly enormous panoramic sunroof that would make Kevin McCloud faint with delight. Despite a few tinny, scratchy materials here and there, it’s a wonderfully calming space to spend time.

‘Calming’ is a good way of describing the driving experience, too. The good news is that despite looking like a van, it doesn’t drive like one, because it sits on car underpinnings – VW’s scalable MEB EV platform, shared with the rest of the ID range.

VW ID Buzz LWB - front, dynamic

VW ID Buzz LWB – front, dynamic

It’s obviously not a thrill ride, either. 282bhp and 413lb ft are more than adequate, whisking the Buzz away from a standstill on a wave of EV torque, and never leaving you clamouring for more grunt. It’s not a pin-you-back-in-your-seat EV, though, and doesn’t need to be.

It’s an utterly neutral thing to drive – steering that’s accurate and well-geared for a car of this size, and brakes that are easy to modulate. The SUV-like driving position will appeal to many, and you’re cushioned by those big, soft captain’s chairs. The ride is comfy and the surroundings calm and quiet, until some wind noise makes itself known at motorway speeds.

VW ID Buzz LWB - interior, middle row

VW ID Buzz LWB – interior, middle row

It’s the sort of car you happily while away the miles in. It’s never going to make you lose confidence on a twisty road (as long as you remember its considerable length), but nor will it goad you into pushing it. It just drives like a big, electric Volkswagen.

Basically, the LWB is a Buzz made better. It makes better use of its van-like attributes, opening it up to everyone from larger families to particularly flush UberXL drivers, and takes advantage of the extra size for some palpable range benefits.

You don’t even have to pay much more – the seven-seater LWB starts at £59,545 for the base Life trim, rising to £64,345 for the plusher Style. Still a big chunk, but in both instances, that’s a relatively meagre £510 increase over the equivalent SWB model at the time of writing. It’s also a lot less than probably its closest real-world rival, the Kia EV9.

VW ID Buzz LWB - rear, dynamic

VW ID Buzz LWB – rear, dynamic

Obviously, if you’re just charmed by the Buzz’s character (it’s hard not to be) but never need to carry more than five, you may as well save yourself that cash and go for the shorter wheelbase, especially once it receives the more powerful motor.

The LWB, though, is almost in a class of one. Nearly every other electric seven-seater in the UK is either a brash SUV or a literal van with windows. For the large and well-to-do family that wants something with much more character, it’s a no-brainer.

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