Future classic? We tested the electric VW Kombi, listed for Brazil

After more than four decades, Volkswagen finally modernized the Kombi, a car loved in the four corners of the world.

In doing so, he showed courage in deciding to give a van or van the image-leading role, just when SUVs are all the rage.

Renamed ID.Buzz, this resurrected, all-electric Kombi preserves the rectangular shapes, as well as the fully vertical front and rear that mark the historic model – not to mention the very cheerful body colors, in addition to two-tone paint.

Produced on the MEB platform, specific for Volkswagen Group electric vehicles, the new Kombi has a huge wheelbase and will be on sale in Europe from October, with passenger and cargo versions – a longer variant is planned. and with capacity for seven occupants in 2023.

This is how the modern edition of one of his most beloved cars ever was born, along with the Beetle.

When many thought that VW would first launch an electric off-road car, in addition to SUVs, station wagons and sedans, the German brand put the chips in the e-Kombi.

“No competitor has two comparable models like these in their lineup,” confidently says Carsten Indra, President of Volskwagen Commercial Vehicles, “because ID.Buzz and ID.Buzz Pro have unique design and technology concepts in world”.

Power of 204 hp

Image: Disclosure

Measuring 4.71 meters in length, the modern estate is not too big for everyday family transport and even the entry-level version offers enough space thanks to its generous 2.99 m wheelbase and square body shapes.

In addition, it is maneuvered with relative ease in urban areas, which happens because between the front wheels there is no engine or transmission, allowing them to turn more than normal in conventional combustion cars.

When it arrives on the market, it will only be available with one engine, mounted at the rear, capable of producing 204 hp (150 kW) and maximum torque of 31.6 kgfm.

For more power, a second electric motor can be installed at the front, which will transform the ID.Buzz into a four-wheel drive vehicle – this option, however, will only be offered in a few months.

Watch the ID-Buzz video directly from the Hannover Fair (Germany), captured this week by UOL Carros reporter Vitor Matsubara:

As with the other models in the ID electric car family, the Buzz battery has a capacity of 77 kWh and is mounted between the two axles. In the case of Kobi, the promise is a range of 425 km on a full charge.

The Cargo version will have a smaller 50 kWh battery to travel shorter distances and be more accessible.

As for the battery recharge time, the Kombi is capable of 170 kW with direct current – against 130 kW for the others ID This allows the vehicle to be “refueled” in less time.

“This is made possible by an improvement in battery cell chemistry,” explains Mirco Fuhrmann, ID Buzz project director.

In the Kombi, it is possible to charge from 5% to 80% in just half an hour. In alternating current, the maximum recharge power remains 11 kW.

she is doing well

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Despite its considerable weight of 2.5 tons, the ID Buzz proves to be very agile in the city center, with very dynamic acceleration. It goes from zero to 100 km/h in 10.2 seconds, which shows that it’s not a sports car, but the intermediate accelerations benefit from the instant torque that is so pleasing in the electric drive.

Then, when we select the maximum level of energy regeneration (choosing the “B” position on the switch installed to the right of the steering wheel), the “one pedal” driving mode almost allows us to forget about the brake and accelerate and control the vehicle only with the accelerator pedal – in addition, the battery life is extended.

In Germany, its top speed of 145 km/h should cause some embarrassment on highways that still have many areas where other cars run well above 250 km/h, but in Brazil this will not be a major problem.

The ride is comfortable on asphalt, even when it is not in very good condition.

McPherson architecture is used at the front axle and a multi-link independent suspension at the rear.

And autonomy?

And in this first driving experience, the verified consumption of 20 kWh was better than we expected, being very close to the promised autonomy – contrary to what happened with the first ID.3 and ID.4.

Visibility to the outside is excellent, thanks to the very vertical windows and the position of the front columns well away.

The steering is well-weighted so that the driver can feel confident, feeling more like a car than a van – which is also true for the general handling, thanks in large part to the placement of the heavy batteries on the floor, which lower the center. of gravity and make cornering stability much better than the shape of the body would suggest.

spacious cabin

VW Kombi electric ID.Buzz cabin seats - Disclosure - Disclosure
Image: Disclosure

But one of the great attributes lies in the spacious interior.

The three-seater sliding rear seat can be split in a 60:40 ratio and moves forwards or backwards by 15 cm to manage space for passengers and luggage.

The seats have integral armrests at the front and are quite upright, but the back slope can be adjusted, making them comfortable enough.

The space is very wide. But, of course, alternatives are lacking, such as a seven-seat version, which has yet to be confirmed. We learned that VW is working with several interior conversion companies to make versions specially prepared for certain uses:

At the Hannover Fair, the VW stand brings copies of ID Buzz with a more flexible cabin, with increased cargo volume, with a refrigerated cargo compartment and shelves, for example.

Technology

VW Electric Kombi ID.Buzz panel - Disclosure - Disclosure
Image: Disclosure

There are multimedia centers with a screen up to 12 inches, but the digital panel is small and basic, with a display of only 5.3 inches.

There are also USB ports scattered throughout the cabin so there is no fighting and each occupant can charge their portable devices.

It is possible to connect to Android and Apple smartphones wirelessly, but the software remains one of the least intuitive on the market, even when it works without errors. Too bad the climate controls still don’t have backlighting, which makes it very difficult to use them at night.

As with the original model from the 50s and 60s, there are accessories to transform the back into a kitchen or a sleeping space, complete with a bed.

And there is a lack of creative solutions that increase the practical character of this interior, whose second-row seats are fixed

Inside, the color combination is always very bright and bright and has many components made with recycled materials, but all surfaces are hard-touched, which matches the hippie spirit of the original model, but less with the elitist price of the Kombi of the 21st century.

For the first time in a high-end Volkswagen, there is no real leather upholstery option in this interior.

Sliding side doors are manual on entry-level versions and electric on more expensive ones. The trunk has a volume of 1,121 liters, which can be extended up to 2,205 by folding the third row seats – unfortunately, it is not possible to remove it, which would greatly expand the functionality of the interior.

In the case of the Cargo version, the starting price should be approximately 40,000 euros (about R$201,300 in direct conversion – the passenger version starts at a prohibitive 64,500 euros (R$324,600).

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The article is in Portuguese

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