VW ID.Buzz Cargo Puts a Cute Spin on the Commercial Van


While the passenger version of the Volkswagen ID.Buzz has attracted the most attention so far, VW’s stylish electric Microbus revival is also offered as a panel van in Europe. The ID.Buzz Cargo has the same cool design with more than a few practical touches for the commercial buyers this model is targeting. It hasn’t been earmarked for the US yet, but we had the chance to drive one in Germany.

The main external difference between the cargo version and the passenger version is that it lacks side windows, but the slab-sided retro shape and its many interesting details remain unmistakably Microbus-inspired. While commercial fleets and small businesses likely slap on their own colors, the ID.Buzz Cargo is still offered in some fun exterior colors, including the blue-and-white paint scheme pictured here. Eighteen-inch steel wheels with hubcaps are standard, and glossier-looking 19- and 20-inch wheel options are available.

As you’d expect from a work vehicle, the truck’s interior is much more spartan than that of the standard Buzz. The useful front passenger compartment has very hard black plastic and durable cloth upholstery. The elevated seating position and large front windows ensure good visibility, and the small digital gauge display is clear and simple. Annoyingly, the cargo version has the same complicated infotainment system and touch-sensitive sliders that dot VW’s lineup.

Mechanically, the cargo version is identical to the passenger van, as both use VW’s MEB platform also found under the ID.4. The ID.Buzz Cargo is currently offered in one wheelbase length and in a single drivetrain configuration with a rear-mounted 201-hp electric motor and a 77.0-kWh battery pack. (The U.S. will get a long-wheelbase, three-row passenger wagon with a more powerful optional dual-motor setup and a larger battery, but VW said it doesn’t plan an LWB version of the cargo van.) It’s fast, with a claimed 62-mph time of 10.2 seconds. That said, our rear-drive ID.4 tester beat its German estimates by nearly a second, so the Buzz Cargo might see the middle nines. Either way, the electric motor is torquey enough to make the Buzz feel responsive around town.

Size-wise, the ID.Buzz fits between the short- and long-range versions of the recently discontinued Ford Transit Connect for the US market. The Buzz is highly maneuverable, with a tight turning radius, and it drives just like a typical compact crossover. Body movements are well controlled, the steering is accurate and the ride quality is good. We drove the Buzz without anything in the back, and it avoids the bouncy feel that many other unladen vans have, likely due to the heavy battery pack mounted under the floor.

The ID.Buzz Cargo can fit 138 cubic feet in the cargo area, and VW boasts that the space is optimized to accommodate a European standard pallet either lengthwise or crosswise. There’s also a clever pass-through space under the front passenger seat that can fit longer copper pipes commonly used for plumbing, as well as an underfloor compartment designed to hold wires and cables. Its payload capacity of 1429 pounds is somewhat low for a van of this size, and that’s due to the weight of the battery pack—claimed curb weight is a hefty 5185 pounds. VW also claims a towing capacity of 2204 pounds.

Of course, as we found in our test of electric vans, towing and towing with an EV will cut into the range drastically. Unloaded, the ID.Buzz Cargo has an estimated driving range of up to 264 miles, but that’s on the optimistic WLTP scale. It’s fine for urban use in smaller European cities, but it probably won’t cut it in the US

A spokesman for VW Commercial Vehicles said C/D that the company has not ruled out bringing the cargo version of the ID.Buzz to the US, but said it would have to manufacture the van in the US to avoid the chicken tax. Since many compact trucks have recently left the US market, the business case depends on your perspective: It’s either a sign that there isn’t much of a market left for this type of vehicle, or it’s an opening for VW to to fill with a cute and fun alternative. We think the ID.Buzz Cargo is charming enough that it could find an audience. Anyone ready to open a flower shop with a matching flower-power electric van?

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Volkswagen ID.Buzz Cargo
Vehicle type: rear-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, 2- or 3-passenger, 3-door van

Basis: $50,614 (Germany, converted from euros)

Motor: permanent-magnet AC, 201 hp, 229 lb-ft
Battery pack: liquid-cooled lithium-ion, 77.0 kWh
On-board charger: 11 kW
Peak DC fast charging rate: 170 kW
Transmission: direct drive

Wheelbase: 117.7 inches
Length: 185.5 inches
Width: 78.1 inches
Height: 75.9-76.8 inches
Cargo volume: 138 ft3
Combat weight (C/D east): 5200

60 mph: 9.5 sec
1/4-mile: 17.0 sec
Top speed: 101 mph

Combined/City/Highway: 85/88/80 MPGe
Range: 223 miles

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Header from Joey Capparella

Senior Editor

Despite being raised on a steady diet of base-model Hondas and Toyotas—or perhaps because of it—Joey Capparella nonetheless cultivated an obsession with the automotive industry during his childhood in Nashville, Tennessee. He found a way to write about cars for the school paper during his college years at Rice University, which eventually led him to move to Ann Arbor, Michigan for his first professional auto writing gig at Car Magazine. He was part of the Car and Driver team since 2016 and now lives in New York.