Volkswagen's ageless California camper van gets a youthful boost of new technology
Earlier this year, Volkswagen announced the updated T6 van, dubbing it T6.1. In addition to roaming highways and worksites, the T6.1 van will slide its way under an updated California camper van. Volkswagen previewed the revised version of its icon this week ahead of a planned world premiere next month. The updated camper van gets some interior and exterior touchups, a new camper command center to complement the van's digital cockpit, and some new driver-assistance features that are sure to help out on the way to and from camp.
The California update is definitely more of a slight evolution than a full revolution, building on an upgraded T6.1 tech package to create a more streamlined road-trip and camp experience. The base T6.1 brings an available 10.3-in digital instrument cluster and a variety of available touchscreen-based infotainment systems with eSIM-based connected services. The California conversion complements that tech with a redesigned, digitalized camper control module in the roof console. We're not sure it'll tie together the driver cab and camper area the way Mercedes' MBAC is on its way to doing, but we're eager to see what VW's design looks like.
In addition to the digitized driver's area, California 6.1 drivers will enjoy electro-mechanical power steering and an upgraded driver-assistance suite. Those towing trailers and toy haulers will be particularly happy about the trailer assist system, which provides automated takeover when attempting ever-challenging reverse maneuvers. Other new assistive technologies include lane assist, side protect and side-wind compensation.
Without breaking down specifics, Volkswagen also promises some improvements to the California's living and sleeping quarters. Judging by the walnuts superimposed on the interior sketch, we can only assume that includes some kind of walnut trim for the tabletop and/or the furniture.
Unfortunately, unless that little walnut Easter egg means that VW is going nuts and offering an all-electric camper van ahead of the debut of the I.D. Buzz, there's exactly zero mention of a fully electric California based on the ABT Sportsline-developed electric van that's part of the T6.1 update. We'll just hope for a surprise double Düsseldorf debut like last year's Grand California 600 and 680 one-two punch.
We'll bring you more details once VW drops them at or ahead of the California 6.1's official world premiere at the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon, which opens to the public on August 31.