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The Amazing New Volkswagen California Camper Van We Can’t Get In The US

Key Takeaways

  • The seventh generation California camper van is bigger and has sliding doors on both sides to improve access and space.
  • Five trims are offered from the basic Beach to the more luxurious Ocean.
  • Engine options include turbo diesel, gas, or plug-in hybrid with pricing yet to be announced.

Volkswagen has unveiled the seventh generation of the California camper van. This retro-inspired forbidden fruit isn’t available in the US, but would make a great pairing with the ID.Buzz. The California has been on sale since 2004 and over 200,000 have been made, but the last time we could get anything like it was when the VW Eurovan was sold here from 1993-2002. The company released a pretty cool concept last year, and it looks like most of the design options made it into the production version.

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This new vehicle is built on the brand’s Multivan MPV platform, which is derived from the VW Group MQB architecture that underpins the likes of the Passat (RIP) and GTI. The company hopes to build this newest camper van into a California lifestyle brand that will include experiences and opportunities for owners, much like what Jeep does with the Wrangler.

Modern Improvements, Retro Design

The model has a whole host of interior and exterior improvements starting with an increase in length (10.6 inches) and width (1.5 inches) over its predecessor. This extra space allows for the introduction of sliding doors on both sides, making it much easier to get in and out of than the single sliding door previous generations offered.


Volkswagen Says ID. Buzz Camper Van Delay Is Due To Low Demand, Not Weight Concerns

Earlier reports suggested the Volkswagen ID. Buzz camper van was delayed over weight concerns, but that’s not the reason at all.

You can now add a tent or sunshade to either side while parked and get better access to the fridge and pull-out kitchen area. The iconic popping top is still there, and you can now option the setup with up to four sleeping areas depending on the trim.

A Range of Trims

Five trims are offered: Beach, Beach Tour, Beach Camper, Coast, and Ocean. The Beach is the entry-level option with a manual pop-top and seating for six, so there’s only room for two people to sleep. Moving up to the Beach Tour gets you five seats which can be folded flat to give you more seating and there’s a small display on the passenger side interior C-Pillar, which can control various elements including lighting, popping up the motorized top, and operating the heater.

The Beach Camper is your typical camper setup, similar to what we’ve seen from Rivian, where there’s a kitchen, more storage, and more power. The Coast trim gets a bigger kitchen and more room for storage, but seating is cut down to four. The Ocean offers better seats, an auxiliary heater, and better climate control.

Multiple Powertrains

As this is a vehicle offered in Europe, it gets a wide range of engine options. The first is a four-cylinder turbo diesel that produces 144 horsepower, but if this isn’t enough, you can opt for the gas engine which bumps that up to 198 horsepower.


VW ID. Buzz California Delayed Because Drivers Would Need Special License

Back to the drawing board, VW.

Both of these only drive the front axle, so if you’re looking to get all-wheel drive, then you’ll have to go for the PHEV, which combines a 1.5-liter turbocharged gas engine with a battery and motor. Power is undisclosed at this time, but towing comes in at 4,000 pounds. Pricing also hasn’t been disclosed but the sixth-gen model starts at £61,462 or about $76,858, making it an expensive proposition.

VW California Camper Van Bed

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