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VW Won’t Offer an AWD ID.Buzz With Seven Seats. Here’s Why

By the time the ID.Buzz goes on sale, will anyone still be interested?

byNico DeMattia|
Volkswagen
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Despite being revealed what feels like ages ago, and also having been on sale in Europe for some time, Volkswagen is still dragging its feet bringing the electric ID.Buzz to the States. When it does finally get here, though, there will be a version missing from the lineup—a seven-seat, all-wheel-drive model.

VW finally released some information on how it will offer the retro van to Americans on Monday, and we're due to see three different trim levels: Pro S, Pro S Plus, and a limited-time 1st Edition (available at launch only). All three will be sold in either rear-wheel-drive or 4Motion all-wheel-drive configurations. If you get a rear-drive model, you can have a second-row bench seat, which brings the total passenger capacity up to seven. Second-row captain's chairs are available, in exchange for dropping head count to six. However, if you spring for any of the dual-motor, all-wheel drive models, you're stuck with the captain's chairs, and that seventh passenger is catching an Uber.

Why won't VW let you have both? As a Volkswagen North America representative put it to The Drive, the omission was made to create a simpler model lineup, and because the automaker believes most ID.Buzz customers will option captain's chairs as they go up the trim ladder anyway.

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OK, so using my corporate-speak translator, VW wants to save costs by streamlining the ID.Buzz model portfolio, and may think the seven-seat, all-wheel-drive model is the most disposable. Given the rumors we've heard surrounding the ID.Buzz's long journey across the Atlantic, I suspect weight might have something to do with the call as well.

In any case, leaving that variant behind is odd, as it would seem like a popular one for many American customers. For families with more than two kids, having that extra seat is immensely helpful, especially when it comes time to drive friends home or shuttle their soccer teammates around. So it's odd that those customers will be asked to do without the sure-footing of all-wheel drive in bad weather, something many parents prioritize in a new car.

VW did finally drop some other nuggets of info about U.S.-spec ID.Buzz models, though. The rear-drive model will have 282 horsepower, while the dual-motor all-wheel drive car gets 335 horsepower. There are also seven two-tone paint options and three single-color options, a 12.9-inch touchscreen, 30-color ambient lighting, and a 700-watt Harmon/Kardon surround sound system.

You know what VW didn't say? How much the dang thing will cost, or how far it will go on a charge. It's unclear why VW is taking so long to come through with such basic info, especially as early EV adopters who have been patiently waiting for the ID.Buzz are bound to take their money elsewhere by now. The Kia EV9 also sports an optional seven seats, and it must look mighty enticing.

I like the idea of the VW ID.Buzz. It looks cool, has a ton of interior space, and is an all-electric love letter to the classic California. On paper, that's the perfect vehicle for me. But if I'm an EV buyer, the protracted wait time for the ID.Buzz, along with its unusual omission of what's likely a popular spec, would turn even me off.

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