Automotive

VW unveils new California camper van

VW unveils new California camp...
The California is the latest version of VW's factory-built camper van
The California is the latest version of VW's factory-built camper van
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The California is the latest version of VW's factory-built camper van
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The California is the latest version of VW's factory-built camper van
The California comes in two models - the "Ocean" and the "Beach"
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The California comes in two models - the "Ocean" and the "Beach"
The California comes with driver assist features
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The California comes with driver assist features
The California Ocean has a full kitchen
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The California Ocean has a full kitchen
The California sleeps four
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The California sleeps four
The California carries on the VW camping van tradition
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The California carries on the VW camping van tradition

For those of us of a certain age, the old VW camper van introduced in the 1950s held the promise of a compact, affordable home away from home – or just home. Never mind that it had an engine like something off a sewing machine, steered like a bucket, and negotiated hills on a 50-50 basis – it represented the freedom of the road. Volkswagen is continuing this tradition with a new California variant of its recently released Transporter T6.

The new Transporter T6 may not be the successor to the classic microbus we'd been hoping for, but what it lacks in style it makes up for in updated engineering and cautious modernization. So while it may not have the romantic charm of the old bus, but it does try for comfort.

The new van is the fourth and latest of the California campervans first introduced in 1988. It's the only factory-built camper van, and is produced at Volkswagen’s bespoke assembly facility in Hanover, Germany.

The California carries on the VW camping van tradition
The California carries on the VW camping van tradition

The California is available in two models: the Beach, with a two-liter, 102 bhp turbo direct-injection diesel engine; and the Ocean, with a two-liter, 204 bhp turbocharged stratified injection petrol engine.

Inside, the California boasts the usual compact living arrangements that one expects from a small camper van, sleeping four with a double and roof bed. The Ocean model has an electrohydraulic pop-up roof and dimmable LED lighting in the roof and tailgate, as well as a full kitchen with a 42-liter (11 gal) fridge, twin-burner stove, and a stainless steel sink. There's even a combination cup, ashtray and towel holder.

This being the 21st century, the California puts a strong emphasis on new driver-assist safety features. These include a Driver Alert System that can detect unusual steering patterns indicating fatigue and advise the driver to take a break; Brake Assist, which applies full braking pressure in emergencies; and Automatic Post-Collision Braking, which activates the brakes during an accidents to prevent secondary collisions.

Volkswagen says the price for the new California will be announced soon.

Source: Volkswagen

10 comments
sutski123
"Volkswagen says the price for the new California will be announced soon" They will be about $70.000 - Just in the price range of the wannabe camperman. NOT!!!!! It is ridiculous that the VW5/6 bus is even compared to the original! I "customised" a wee Nissan NV200 van into a campervan which cost $30.000 all up. Still a crazy amount for a wee hippy-bus, but it was the only way I could go without spending ridiculous money on things you don't need or use (who cooks a fry-up inside a campervan for example?) or by buying a 20 yr old 300,000km VW for 30K... Here is my NVcamper: https://nv200.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/more-nissan-evalia-campervan-photos/ Cheers! P.S I met the concept designer for Land Rover/Jaguar at Geneva this year and I practically dropped to my knees and begged him to do a Landyvan. i.e a cheap, cheerful, reliable, fourwheel drive van with a poptop and removable seats in the style of the original Vdub van. That with a Landy badge would sell like hot cakes. I told him I would order one there and then if he could pull it off for 40K not 70......Fingers crossed he was listening! :)
Noel K Frothingham
First, there's not enough information provided to even guess what the price might be. If VW says pricing will released at a later date, they will. Be patient.
robtcohen
I bought a used 1968 VW Campmobile around 1970. It was white/cream, though painted some years later in "interstate green." You might have had the misfortune to behoove the ugo color. Slow? Yes. Not rated highly by CONSUMER REPORTS? At least I didn't wreck, while they ignored VW vans. I got the distinct impression it was not considered a paragon of safety. Bad transmission? Oh, gosh yeah. Fun? In my twenties and thirties, we went to Key West and Washington D.C. So, it was an almost fun thing. I am klutzy mechanically (and otherwise), most of my fun was acting like I knew how to fix it. I traded it to a house painter approximately 10 years and 2 transmissions later. Would I buy today's? A question I'd rather ignore. You only live once, plus they're supposedly safer today, so if young enuff, why not make the payments and that two tone red/white is to be taken as fleet gross, meaning that I do miss my outlandish green monster.
Noel K Frothingham
From what I've seen, the Nissans vans pop up module does not retract fully into the roof and interior of the van. The Transporter 6's camper does, Lower the aerodynamic drag, and less power is required to just to move the vehicle through the air. Fuel mileage increases and the interior is quieter. What's not to like"? The writer of this article even admits that this isn't your grandpas Volkswagen.
Tom Benson
Call it the California if you will, must be an inside joke at VW since they don't sell vans in California or anywhere in the USA.
tvmatheson
A shame VW doesn't offer the pop-up camper model with diesel. Also a shame the VW diesel pickup truck is not available in the USA, while in Mexico the police drive them. Why not diesel?
William Volk
Will we get the diesel in the USA? That would be great. An efficient daily driver and useful camper.
Tom Lee Mullins
I think it is neat that VW has a newer camper van for a newer generation. I read that they had a newer van that has a retro look to the micro bus they made years ago. It looks really nice. It would be neat if they not only made the retro looking van but also have a retro looking camper van.
TimAldiss
Why oh why have VW never decided to build a slightly bigger platform than the T5? Yes there's the Crafter, but surely they should now take a leaf out of the Peugeot Boxer/Fiat Ducato book and provide something in between that allows just enough space for a decent size bed, space to move around in with or without the bed down and the potential for a shower room/toilet cubicle. I've been a VW LT owner for many years but they are getting rarer and older and will soon be no more. Please VW - create a millennial LT too! Tim
DriveDog
Interesting, but not relevant so long as they aren't selling it here (USA). I'd heard that the T5 is in chicken-tax category size-wise, meaning an automatic 25% tariff. So why not build it in the US as well? Instead, they rebadged a Chrysler, which almost no one bought, it being both more expensive and less thoughtfully optioned than Dodges and Chryslers. At least it only had Chrysler-level electronic gremlins.