Bionics, green cred and parties on wheels: VW's I.D. Buzz and what people think

Photo credit: REUTERS

Volkswagen Bus-inspired concepts at auto shows are not that rare of sights. What would be rare, however, would be one of those concepts making it all the way to production. The Volkswagen I.D. Buzz concept, unveiled at the Detroit show earlier this month, may just do that. After the concept’s debut, sources say the concept is very close to what could be built starting in 2022. Here’s what people are saying about the Volkswagen I.D. Buzz concept. 

Photo credit: REUTERS

“VW put a forward-looking spin on its usual hippy nostalgia trip with a Microbus concept that promises electric power and autonomous driving features. Note the steering wheel, which could retract flush into the dash for — Look, Ma! No hands! — fully driverless motoring. The Buzz would use a new architecture — VW’s modular electric drive kit, or MEB for short — VW developed for its upcoming electric vehicle sub-brand. It’s the second concept from the brand, which aims to begin selling vehicles by 2020. That makes the Buzz worth listening to, despite its flower child pretensions.”

-- Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press

“If you're the type of nostalgic Volkswagen owner who has ever yearned for a modern microbus, VW may have finally answered your prayers. Well, sort of. What it has come up with might be better than the Woodstock crowd ever hoped for, because the new I.D. Buzz (pronounced "bus") concept is an all-electric vehicle with throwback styling and an ultra-modern design. And just imagine all the Earth-friendly street credit you can earn by telling your neighbors that you bought an electric VW Bus.”

-- Travis Langness, Edmunds 

“Sure, the van genre is all but dead, but this Grateful Dead reinterpretation could be just the thing to reinvigorate the segment. What’s more, large, electrified monospace vehicles seem poised to inherit the future of ride-hailing autonomous transportation, so I.D. Buzz’s timing seems pretty auspicious.”

-- Frank Markus, Motor Trend 

“The Buzz seats up to eight in a box that touches all of VW’s current design values: It’s likable, sensual, innovative, logical, and a pure reflection of the company’s brand equity. Thanks to an overall height towering over that of the I.D. concept and fully autonomous operational capability, the Buzz can be a party on wheels with totally flexible seating arrangements, a center console that can be relocated, and a full skylight roof.”

-- Don Sherman, Car and Driver 

“From a design standpoint, VW goes to some length to emphasize that the Buzz isn't a retro design, but just look at it. The two-tone front end with the large VW logo is a blunt homage to the T1 microbus. In fact, VW's even parked one next to a similar T1 in one of the renders it provided, to undermine its "not retro" point even further. Its attractiveness will be up to the beholder, but the I.D. hatchback-style headlights don't do the front any favors. The very slim, delicate taillights are a nice touch, however. Rather than the chrome trim of the original, the Buzz uses a character line of ambient lighting.”

-- Alex Kierstein, Autoblog 

“Dubbed the I.D. Buzz, this is an electric, autonomous reincarnation of the bus that made VW into a darling of the generation that loved Pink Floyd, hallucinogens, and the environment. It's like a bionic version of the classic bus. At least that's how it looks from the outside. It's like someone from the future described the old bus to a friendly drawing robot that had never seen the original.”

-- Travis Okulski, Road & Track 

You can reach Jack Walsworth at jwalsworth@crain.com -- Follow Jack on Twitter: @jackwalsworth

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