Volkswagen California camper van goes digital

New California 6.1 will boast and wider stance and host of modernizations

Published: August 2, 2019, 6:30 PM
Updated: October 11, 2021, 10:22 AM

Volkswagen California 6.1

One of the classic vans of all times, the Volkswagen Camper is getting modernized with a fresh new exterior, decorative and functional interior and digitalized controls for its campsite functions.

Debuting at the Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf at the end of August, the new California 6.1 (because it’s based on the sixth generation of VW’s T-Type van, affectionally called Bulli) will boast and wider stance and a host of modernizations (including new infotainment systems with integrated online connectivity) to keep it at the top of road-travellers’ lists.

The top of the line California Ocean and mid-range Coast feature kitchen units elegantly clad in wood grain (Bright Oak or Graphite Grey), with the sink, stove and fridge now deployed at the push of button, Cabinetry hardware is aluminum to match the other handles inside and outside the camper. The interior is matched in Palladium Grey, the rear storage cabinet now has sliding doors instead of the previous shutters, and there are double USB sockets to aid charging of mobile devices.

The pop-up berth features a sprung base and darker canvas to better block out light, the main floor double bed (which incorporates the rear bench seat) can be further converted into a lounger and the interior ceiling LEDs can be dimmed individually and slowly over a user-selectable time span.

The dimming of lights, as with other new digital controls, are controlled by a new touchscreen overhead console between the swivelling front captain’s chairs, which also includes controls for auxiliary heating and cooling, the fridge and the electro-hydraulic pop-up roof in the Ocean model. You can also check the state of level of the vehicle.

Carry-over features include the picnic table integrated into the side sliding door, and beach chairs stowed in the rear liftgate.

On the driving side, the biggest change is perhaps the change from hydraulic to electro-mechanical power assist for the steering, which opens up the vehicle to receive driving aids such as lane assist, parking assist, cross wind assist and trailer assist, among others.

Available in standard front-wheel drive and optional all-wheel drive, all California 6.1 models (entry level Beach, in addition to the mid Coast and top Ocean) are fitted with 2.0-litre turbodiesel (TDI) 4-cylinders.