Volkswagen's Evolution: From Iconic Classics to Electric Innovations

Golf. Beetle. Type 2. Rabbit. SP2. Karmann Ghia.

These are just some of the iconic names you’ll find when flicking through the pages of the extensive Volkswagen back catalog.

In the wake of the Dieselgate scandal, VW decisively pivoted towards an all-electric future, beginning with the ID.3. This marked the introduction of the ID. range of electric vehicles from Wolfsburg.

The latest addition to the ID. family is the ID. Buzz, a fully electric iteration of the widely cherished Type 2, reimagined for a new era. It retains the nostalgic appeal of the original with its retro design.

The ID.3's 2020 debut elicited mixed reactions, largely due to its aesthetic appeal or lack thereof. In contrast, the ID. Buzz appears to have won over a broad spectrum of enthusiasts. Testimony to its charm is its achievement of the 2022 Top Gear Electric Car Of The Year award. Indeed, a commendable accolade.

Has the ID. Buzz become the vehicle that restored Volkswagen's grandeur in the electric era? Continue reading to discover the answer...

What is the VW ID. Buzz?

VW ID. Buzz
Volkswagen may introduce up to six versions of the VW ID. Buzz
© VW Newsroom

The Volkswagen ID. Buzz, deemed the feel-good vehicle of 2022, is a modern reimagining of the much-adored VW bus, the Type 2. Like its air-cooled predecessor, it comes equipped with five seats, dual sliding doors, ample space for passengers, and a generous 1,100-liter cargo capacity. Unlike the classic Type 2, the ID. Buzz harnesses the power of a 204bhp, 77kW single electric motor, offering a range of up to 200 miles on a single charge. More powerful and longer-range versions are expected to be revealed soon. Set to hit the market later this year, the ID. Buzz is projected to have a starting price around £50,000. There's also a panel version in the pipeline, tailor-made for environmentally-conscious tradespeople.

How has the VW ID. Buzz Made Volkswagen Great Again?

Volkswagen ID. Buzz
The Volkswagen ID. Buzz is based on VW’s MEB all-electric platform
© VW Newsroom

The ID. Buzz truly demonstrates Volkswagen's knack for creating automobiles brimming with character without resorting to anything ostentatious. Opting for a VW has always signified a certain level of mature taste, as VWs have traditionally represented The Nice Thing. You might wonder why we used the term 'finally shown' earlier in this section. To clarify, we hold the VW's ID. range in high regard, particularly the ID.3, for reasons we'll discuss later. However, some renowned figures in the automotive world do not share our enthusiasm for VW's electric offerings. Jason Cammisa, for instance, harshly criticized the ID.4, labeling it a 'shitheap' and a 'rolling cartoon of poor design'. It's true that the early ID. models had their share of initial hiccups, but VW has assured current and potential owners that these issues have been entirely resolved. Trusting in VW's history of 'getting things done', we believe in their commitment to improvement. Now that the early issues with the ID. lineup are a thing of the past, the eye-catching design, range, and reliability of the ID. Buzz indicate that VW has indeed hit a home run.

So, is the VW ID. Buzz the Only Electric Volkswagen?

Volkswagen ID.3
The Volkswagen ID.3 was a sign that VW was taking its electrified future seriously
© VW Newsroom

Nope. Volkswagen also makes the Golf-sized ID.3, the small ID.4 SUV, the ID.5 SUV coupé, and the Chinese market only ID.6; another SUV around the size of a Touareg. All of these ground-up EVs are made in various VW factories in Germany, the United States, and China. Wolfsburg has also shown a concept of the ID. Vizzion, an all-electric sedan replacement for the rather thoughtful-yet-forgotten Passat, and a concept of its entry-level EV, the upcoming VW ID. Life which looks mint. Of all the VW ID. cars though, the ID.3 is the most important of the lot…

Why is the VW ID.3 Such an Important Part of the Volkswagen Story, Then?

Volkswagen ID.3
The Volkswagen ID.3 is the first purpose-built EV made by VW
© VW Newsroom

It’s no secret that Volkswagen has been experimenting with electric cars for some time. Back in the 1970s, it fitted a battery to its T2 camper to explore the benefits of electrified motoring. In 1980, it even did a short production run of the Mk1 Golf CitySTROmer; the first all-electric Golf. Over the years it has also made the Golves and Passats GTE, the e-Up!, and the e-Golf. As you’d expect, these are all rather lovely in the way that all VWs are lovely and comforting. The ID.3 retains all of these key VW qualities. However, it is built around a rather different philosophy - instead of being an electrified version of an existing ICE model, it is made using VW Group’s purpose-built, modular MEB platform, which was created specifically for EVs. The ID.3 then, is the first EV to be put together using the MEB architecture. Other MEB-based cars include the ID.Buzz, the ID.4, the ID.5, the Audi Q4 e-tron, the Audi Q5 e-tron, and the Škoda Enyaq. Like the Beetle and the Golf before it, the ID.3 is aimed at bringing affordable motoring into the mainstream; the ID.3, then, takes electrification to the nation. Oh, and if you were wondering, MEB means Modularer E-Antriebs-Baukasten or “Modular Electric-Drive Toolkit”.

What’s the ID.3 like inside?

Volkswagen ID.3
With plenty of natural light and space, the Volkswagen ID.3 interior has been designed with making all-electric motoring as easy as possible
© VW Newsroom

It’s everything you’d expect from a Volkswagen. Pretty much of the ID.3’s dials and switchgear are placed logically around the cabin. That said, the gear selector is a rocker placed next to the speedometer, which is a bit odd at first. Like most VW Group cars from recent years, the touch controls for the climate control are also enough to make a bishop swear. Like all purpose-built EV’s, the ID.3 is girthy. In fact, it weighs between 1,772 and 1,935 kilograms. With that in mind, VW has had to save weight. This means that some of the plastics are not exactly of the same vintage you’d find in the bombproof Mk7 Golf. Nonetheless, the ID.3 boasts a gimmick-free, spacious, comfortable cabin and its airy design allows for plenty of calming natural light. Not that you should be nervous in any way when driving the ID.3, because it has a range of up to 259 miles. Everything about the ID.3 shows it has been engineered with lovely, calm, electrified motoring in mind. Its interior is no exception.

Should the VW ID. Buzz and ID.3 be Considered Future Classic Volkswagen Models?

Volkswagen ID. Buzz and ID.3
The Volkswagen ID. Buzz (left) and ID.3 (right) will almost certainly be future classic VWs thanks to their status as ‘firsts’ for the brand
© VW Newsroom

Unless something drastic happens then yes, they will be. The term ‘classic’ is pretty fast and loose within the classic car world. After all, the first-generation Vauxhall (Opel, if you’re reading on the continent) Vectra and Rover 214 are now considered classic. This is strange because both of these cars were properly crap when they came out in the 1990s. Unlike wine, they have certainly not improved with age. Yet if we define a classic car as a ‘first’ of its kind, the ‘last’ of its kind, or a vehicle that changed its parent brand for the good, then both the ID.Buzz and ID.3 will certainly be considered electric classic cars of the future.

The New Volkswagen ID Buzz Is the Return of the VW Bus!

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