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Brand new Volkswagen California camper van revealed

May 7, 2024

Volkswagen has taken the digital covers off its all-new VW California camper van

Previously teased as the California Concept last year, the new California is based on the current Multivan platform. That's because from the end of this year, the Volkswagen Transporter will utilise the Ford Transit Custom chassis and be built in Turkey.

The new California camper is bigger than its predecessor, based on the Transporter 6.1 with a maximum headroom of nearly 2m.

It's also the first Volkswagen camper van to feature a hybrid drive train, using the petrol and electric powertrain from the Multivan, enabling the new camper to be almost self-sufficient with its own power source from the lithium-ion batteries.

"It is a worldwide icon and has a huge fanbase. Personally I'm looking forward to the new California," Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles CEO, Carsten Intra said.

Intra also confirmed that Volkswagen plans to develop the California name into its own brand, and will offer a whole host of new features. The so-called California universe will offer mechandise and experiences as well as sales and bookings.

The new California range includes three five levels, Beach, Beach Tour, Beach Camper, Coast and Ocean and comes with a new package of enhanced safety and driving assistance systems.

A California 4Motion four-wheel-drive model will also be available thanks to the hybrid powertrain.

On the inside there's a revamped interior which is now more flexible, with lightweight seats and some smart new packaging systems. There is of course the usual cooking and washing facilities.

"It's a true sports utility vehicle," said Albert Kirzinger, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle head of design.

The all New California is based on the modular transverse matrix (MQB) platform used in the current long-wheelbase version of the Multivan. That means it has the exact same dimensions with a 5,173mm length, up from 4,904 mm in the previous version. The width without exterior mirrors is 1,941mm and it has a total height of 1,990 mm including the lowered pop-up roof.

Sales will begin in June with the first models following shortly after in the second half of the year.

Volkswagen California trim levels in detail:

  • California Beach: The California Beach with passenger car type approval is the entry level – this is essentially a Multivan with a manual pop-up roof. The California Beach offers six seats (2+2 individual seats in the second and third rows) and space for two people to sleep under the pop-up roof, which can be opened and closed manually with a new, easy-to-operate mechanism. The raised roof bed measures 2,054 x 1,137 mm in all New California models and is equipped with a comfortable mattress and high-quality dished springs.
  • California Beach Tour: The second specification level is the California Beach Tour. Like the Beach Camper, Coast and Ocean, this version is equipped as standard with rotating and height-adjustable driver and front passenger seats, the two ergonomic folding chairs in the boot lid, lighting in the pop-up roof (incl. gooseneck lamp and 45-watt USB ports), sliding windows in the left and right sliding doors and the brand new camper van control unit (screen) in the C-pillar on the front passenger side. The Beach Tour also has an additional camper battery on board (40 Ah LiFePo). The five-seater New California Beach Tour is equipped with three individual seats in the rear; the backrests of the two outer rear seats can be folded back completely – unlike in the Beach and Multivan. This creates the conditions needed to create two additional sleeping spaces in the living area. For this purpose, the California Beach Tour has an additional fold-out mattress (1,980 x 1,330 mm) on board, which rests on the folded-down individual seats and can be fully folded into a luggage shelf in the boot when not in use. The Beach Tour also has type approval as a passenger car. From the Beach Tour equipment package and above, all New California vehicles are also equipped with a folding table (secured in the load compartment while the vehicle is moving).
  • California Beach Camper: The name says it all – the California Beach Camper’s type approval is for a classic camper van. Like the Beach Tour, it is a five-seater, but is also equipped with an extremely compact mini-kitchen and a 230-volt shore power connection. The kitchen with single-ring gas cooker, cutlery drawer and additional storage space is located in a permanently installed module in the load compartment. For use, the kitchen unit is pulled out to the rear when the boot lid is open (which also provides protection against the rain).
  • California Coast: The four-seater California Coast is equipped with two individual seats in the rear, a full-fledged kitchenette on the driver side and a second camper van battery (a total of 2 x 40 Ah LiFePo). The same applies to the Ocean. The kitchenette has been completely redesigned. One of the differences from the predecessor is that the kitchenette with cabinets, sink and single-ring gas cooker offers similar space to the predecessor’s counterpart, but does not protrude as far forward thanks to the New California’s longer exterior length. This has many advantages: there is still room for getting in and out of the sliding door on the left; larger drivers have considerably more room for optimum seat adjustment; the height-adjustable driver seat can now also be rotated completely by 180 degrees; and space is created for the refrigerator, which opens forwards as a drawer like in the Grand California. The latter can therefore not only be used more effectively but can also be operated from outside the vehicle for loading and unloading breakfast or chilled drinks. The fold-out bed in the living area measures 1,980 x 1,060 mm. When folded out, it is extremely stable, resting on one of the folded-down seats on the right and on a step integrated into the kitchenette on the left. It goes without saying that the California Coast also has camper van type approval.
  • California Ocean: The Ocean was already the flagship model in the previous product line. This also applies unreservedly to the New California. Compared with the Coast version, the four-seater Ocean is equipped with numerous additional standard details. These features include the exclusive Mélange Raven seat fabric made from recycled material (California lettering is embroidered onto the backrests of the front seats), seat heating for the driver and front passenger seats, auxiliary air heater, automatic air conditioner (Climatronic), a large roof stowage box above the load compartment and background lighting in the kitchenette. The 28-litre fresh water tank in the Coast and Ocean models is now five litres larger. Both versions also have a practical exterior folding table (which can also be used inside and as an extension to the worktop) and an additional 230-volt socket with shore power on the outside for an electric hob.
Written by: thevanreviewer 

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