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New Volkswagen California is a ready-made camper van filled with tech

Latest-gen Volkswagen California grows in size and packs more tech than before

  • New camper van with pop-up roof
  • Plug-in hybrid system and four-wheel drive available
  • On sale now in the UK

Summer is around the corner and the new Volkswagen California has arrived just in time for those looking for a campervan getaway. It’s the latest in a long lineage of manufacturer-official campervans, stretching right back to the Volkswagen Westfalia of the 1950s.

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Unlike that model, the new California has all the tech of a modern family car, plus a host of innovative features to make your camping holiday as convenient as possible. UK customers can pre-order the California from June 2024, with prices expected to start from around £65,000.

What do I need to know about the new Volkswagen California?

Unlike the outgoing California that was built on the Volkswagen Transporter platform, the new model is based on the extended Volkswagen Multivan. As a result, it's 269mm longer than before, but is still available in a selection of trim levels with different internal layouts. All models now have sliding doors on both sides, adding a new layer of versatility to the family campervan.

The entry-level Beach model is essentially unchanged from the standard Multivan, bar the pop-up roof – this is manually operated, whereas higher trim levels get an electronically operated mechanism. With no lower bed, this model is intended for day trips or for one or two people who don’t mind sharing the pop-up sleeping space.

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Beach Tour models are the next in the California hierarchy, with five seats. The rear three can slide and fold independently or be removed entirely, allowing for flexible use of the space. They also fold flat to create a lower bed space, allowing this model to sleep up to four people. Perhaps the stand-out feature for this version is the new touchscreen control panel, mounted next to the driver-side sliding door. This is used to operate different interior features, as well as the automatic pop-up roof.

Things get more serious with the Beach Camper model, which packs a small kitchen unit that slides out of the rear of the van with the tailgate open. You’ll struggle to cook a three-course meal on the single-ring hob, but there’s a cutlery drawer and additional storage space. It also gets a 230-volt power connection for campsites that offer an electricity hookup. 

California Coast and Ocean models sit at the top of the range and get a full-on, in-built kitchenette with a single-ring hob, a fridge and a sink. There are only four seats, but the rear two fold flat to create a lower sleeping space.

There are three engines on offer: a 201bhp TSI petrol, a 148bhp TDI diesel and, for the first time, an eHybrid plug-in hybrid with 242bhp and four-wheel drive. All versions use a DSG automatic gearbox.

How much does the Volkswagen California cost and when can I order one?

We don’t have official pricing yet for the new California, although a starting price of around £65,000 is to be expected. For top-spec Coast and Ocean models, factor in an additional £15,000 to £20,000. Customers can place a pre-order in June 2024.

Why not read our reviews of the Volkswagen Multivan or the electric Volkswagen ID. Buzz?

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