Review: Style and funk of new Volkswagen ID. Buzz will make you swoon, but restrictive range may make you an unhappy camper

It’s hard not to be blown away by the retro design of the I.D Buzz

Philip Hedderman

There’s nothing quite like a bit of nostalgia to loosen the purse strings.

Harking back to a golden era, especially for middle-aged folk, has proven exceptionally lucrative for the car industry.

One could say it started with the MINI, which BMW took a punt on after years of neglect at the hands of British Leyland.

The bulletproof reliability of Beamers, not to mention the exceptional residual value second hand, saw the grey brigade queueing up with pockets bulging with cash hoping to recoup a bit of their lost youth.

That phenomenon was quickly followed by FIAT, which reinvented the cutesy 500 and again the Italians couldn’t produce them quick enough.

Volkswagen were straight in too, with the modern-day Beetle, but the demand for the crossover SUV saw interest dwindle globally.

However boffins at Wolfsburg have embraced the electric wave and are enjoying a second bite of the cherry with the ID Buzz – a throwback to the iconic Type 2 Kombi.

The stunning and spacious Buzz cabin will seal the deal for most buyers

Better known as the Camper here (Bus in the US and Bulli in Germany), it came as either a panel van or five-seat leisure vehicle.

Fast forward almost 75 years and VW have absolutely nailed it with the ID BUZZ and the commercial version called the Cargo. Both even come with the two-tone paint job which was synonymous with later versions of the Mark 1 and the birth of the Hippie movement.

It’s hard not to be blown away by the retro design from the jet-style cockpit windscreen, to the slender LED headlights, to the gargantuan logo taking pride of place on the snout. Honeycomb detailing in the lower bumper adds a touch of sportiness, as does the epic 21-inch Bromber alloys. Electric sliding side doors and powered tailgate give it a premium feel.

Putting the heater on, especially at over 100kph, and range anxiety becomes a real thing

There’s a choice of paint combos all with candy white over metallic yellow, green, orange or blue. Inside it’s a similar affair, with matching fabric in the seats complementing soft touch materials in the upper dash and doors.

The stunning and spacious cabin will seal the deal for most buyers as there is simply nothing as fresh and funky out there.

An elevated driving position coupled with the 747-style windscreen and twin armrests make it a place fit for a king. The simple, easy to navigate digital infotainment system is a joy and not as finicky as other ID siblings.

The instrument cluster could do with being a tad bigger and not offering the option of traditional dials looks like a lost opportunity.

Irish customers can choose between four trims – Life, Family, Tech and Max – and standard kit includes LED headlights, heated windscreen, 10-inch colour touchscreen and wireless charging.

Both come with the larger 77kWh battery which powers the rear wheels and generates a meaty 204bhp.

It has a claimed range of 400km and can charge at up to 170kwh which means 80pc battery in under a half hour.

We got nowhere near that – closer to 300km or less – thanks to the recent cold spell and a lot of motorway driving.

Putting the heater on, especially at over 100kph, and range anxiety becomes a real thing. That’s going to be an issue for anyone planning to discover their inner hippie trekking around Ireland in the summer.

Adding the extra weight of three more kids, tents, bikes and the proverbial kitchen sink will take a further toll.

That said, it’s glorious to look at, even better to drive and it makes you feel like a rock star.

Just as well, as prices start at €65,890 while the Cargo begins at €41,538.

The new Puma ST

First look: New Puma ST set to pounce as a hybrid

In a massive push to electrify its model line-up, Ford has added to its mega ST range with a mild hybrid Puma.

The new 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost engine features a 48V starter/generator that is linked to a small battery and for the first time in the ST, automatic transmission.

Simply called the ST Powershift, the new combo beefs up the power of the MHEV petrol unit by 16bhp — bringing the total to 168bhp.

In layman’s terms that means the sporty SUV will rocket from 0-100kph in 7.4 seconds – just seven-tenths slower than the 1.5-litre ST.

Laying down at that power is a seven-speed, dual clutch auto box featuring triple downshift (for trickier corners) with paddles on the steering for added sportiness.

The ST interior

It sits on the same chassis and features Ford’s bespoke twist-beam and anti-roll bar settings and patented force vectoring springs, so grip and handling are guaranteed.

It also benefits from the same active exhaust valve technology as the regular ST for increased performance and that distinctive ST engine snort under hard acceleration.

Inside, it’s pretty much identical to its more powerful sibling bar the gearshift. It is loaded with tech too including wireless charging, voice-controlled infotainment system and a new adaptive cruise control which brings the car to a complete stop in city traffic.

Prices will be announced closer to launch, which is expected later this year.

The legendary Opel Kadett; Dr Sharon Alston, festival organiser; James Brooks and the new Astra

Opel Forever Young with new sponsorship deal

Opel is getting into the groove this summer after becoming official partner to the Forever Young Festival 2023.

The unique 80s music event taking place from July 14-16 in Palmerstown House Estate, Co Kildare is the fastest-growing music festival in Ireland and doubles up as a climate-aware event that also raises funds for charity Animal Welfare and Veterinary Care Ireland.

James Brooks, MD at Opel Ireland, paid homage to the design ethos of the Russelsheim brand back when Tony Hadley, Erasure, Billy Ocean, Jason Donovan and Bananarama (all confirmed for the festival) topped the charts.

“There’s no doubt the German brand rose to new design heights in the 1980s, when the legendary Manta and Kadett were familiar sights on Irish road,” he said.