After a somewhat underwhelming first few models, Volkswagen’s ID. electric car range was in need of a spark – and that’s exactly what it has in the shape of the new, uber-trendy ID. Buzz. With styling taking obvious inspiration from VW’s classic Type 1 van, the model is launching with two variants – a commercial van, and the five-seater MPV tested here. A seven-seater version with a longer wheelbase and bigger battery is expected towards the end of 2023.

Despite being a van at heart, developed by Volkswagen’s Commercial Vehicles division, under the skin the ID. Buzz is based on the familiar MEB platform we’ve seen with previous electric VW cars. This means there are no commercial vehicle dynamic compromises to worry about, with the ID. Buzz proving a very capable and secure handler, and despite the vehicle’s height – a highly commanding driving position is on offer – it would take more vigorous treatment than is advisable on the public road to incur any loss of composure or anything much in the way of body roll, and it offers a fairly settled ride. Of course, it isn’t sporty – but then the same applies to other, more conventional VW electric cars we’ve driven, so it’s hardly a knock on such a practicality-focused model as this. With 204hp from the motor, performance is sufficient for a family MPV, and a 77kWh battery allows a range of up to 255 miles on the official WLTP combined cycle with the range-topping Style equipment grade tested here (entry-level Life models go three miles further).

Normally, a price you pay by opting for an MPV over an SUV is a lack of style, which goes a long way to explain the drop in market share of the former at the expense of the latter, but the ID. Buzz blows this perception out of the water. Of course, classic VW van fans should love it, but even those who aren’t drawn to the whole California hippy/surfer image should still find things to appreciate in the clean lines and funky detailing – we particularly like the near-solid alloy wheels. The interior, too, is attractively designed, with a faux-wood dashboard material (standard with the Style grade) placed below a ventilation strip that appears to run the width of the cabin. In addition, perhaps an advantage of the environmentally-minded move against leather seats is to remind us that cloth ones are often more comfortable, which is especially true of the plush well-padded seats supplied with the optional Comfort Seat package.

A 5in Digital Cockpit display sounds small, but it’s actually nicely optimised with relevant information (although there’s no room for a map display), while the 12in central touchscreen fitted as an option to our test car is nicely responsive and neatly anticipates touches as fingers approach – both displays feature impressively high-def graphics. Sadly, though, VW’s irritatingly fiddly audio and ventilation control touch sliders are also present.

Predictably for a van-based car there’s loads of headroom, although we’d say rear legroom was only good rather than great. Rear seat passengers do benefit from aircraft-style folding tray tables as well as USB sockets neatly integrated in the door bins.

As you’d expect, given the ID. Buzz’s van roots and the presence of only five seats, the boot is vast, with 1,121 litres on offer in its default condition – a space that can be extended by sliding the rear seats forward as well as by folding them down altogether. It also features a multi-level floor set-up with the Style grade which further increases practicality – just bear in mind that the tailgate is very large, so a bit of space needs to be left behind the vehicle when parking to open it. 

Overall, there’s a lot to like about the ID. Buzz, especially when compared to the other electric cars in VW’s range – after all, it’s miles more practical, and more stylish, with very little adverse effect on its driving manners. It does look quite expensive, coming in at over £60k P11D in Style spec – however, very strong predicted residual values help to balance that out.

Volkswagen ID. Buzz Style SWB 77kWh Pro 204PS 

P11D: £61,860

Residual value: 55.63% 

Depreciation: £27,446

Fuel: £6,160

Service, maintenance and repair: £1,820

Cost per mile: 59.04p

Range: 255 miles

CO2 (BIK %): 0g/km (2%)  

BIK 20/40% a month: £21/£41

Luggage capacity: 1,121 litres

Battery size/power: 77kWh/204hp