Volkswagen will reveal a stretched, three-row version of its new electric ID. Buzz this year.
Car & Driver reports word from the German brand that the long-wheelbase ID. Buzz will debut in June 2023 before going on sale in the US next June as a 2025 model year vehicle.
Volkswagen Australia has said introducing the LWB version locally is a “no brainer”, while it’s also putting its hand up for the also yet-to-be-revealed, dual-motor all-wheel drive GTX.
The two-row ID. Buzz and its load-carrying ID. Buzz Cargo counterpart are being targeted for a mid-2024 launch in Australia, with the brand bringing an example of each Down Under last year to show media.
The LWB version has been previously spied wearing practically no camouflage, revealing there will be few, if any, styling changes to differentiate the SWB and LWB models beyond the obviously longer body.
The rear overhang also looks unchanged, so all of the LWB’s extra length comes from its stretched wheelbase. In addition to the LWB’s enormous rear sliding doors we can also see a third row of seats, boosting seating capacity beyond the SWB’s five-person limit.
At the beginning of 2023, Volkswagen confirmed the ID.Buzz will seat up to seven people with two middle-row captain’s chairs that can swivelled around 180 degrees to face the three-person rear bench.
Some of these seats can be folded or even removed to improve cargo carrying capability.
The company has also confirmed the LWB will have a 3148mm wheelbase, a 250mm increase over the current SWB version. If our expectation about the rear overhang is correct, the ID. Buzz LWB will be 4962mm long.
Designed primarily for the North American market, the ID. Buzz LWB looks likely to be a fair bit shorter than the Chrysler Pacifica, Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, and Kia Carnival, which are all 5.16m or 5.17m long.
While it may be five to 37mm shorter than these rivals, the ID. Buzz LWB will boast a significantly longer wheelbase than any of those cars, which range from 3.0m to 3.09m.
As for motivation, the ID. Buzz LWB will be available with an twin-motor all-wheel drive layout, although outputs have yet to be announced.
While Volkswagen has confirmed there will be a 250kW ID. Buzz GTX, we’re not certain if this drivetrain will be offered in both SWB and LWB guises.
At present, the ID. Buzz SWB is sold in Europe exclusively with a 150kW/310Nm motor driving the rear wheels and connected to a 77kWh battery pack.
So equipped, the ID. Buzz takes a leisurely 10.2 seconds to complete the 0-100km/h standard.
It’s been a long, long road getting a Kombi-inspired, three-row people mover to market.
Australia has been fortunate in having consistent access to vehicles like the Multivan and Caravelle, which are genuine successors to the Kombis of yore.
In 2001, Volkswagen revealed the Microbus concept with more overt Kombi-esque design cues, very much targeted at the US market, but plans for a production version were cancelled a few years later.
Volkswagen last offered a Transporter-based people mover in the US market in 2003, and hasn’t offered any people mover there since 2014.
The company filled the people mover void from 2009 to 2014 with the Routan – a restyled Chrysler Town & Country/Voyager.