New Volkswagen California launches with two sliding doors

Pop-up roofs and doors that open on both sides will both be standard on the new Volkswagen California. Other innovative features in the new range include a plug-in hybrid option, available on all-wheel-drive 4MOTION models.

The best campervans come with plenty of spec to help ‘van owners get the most from their tours, and that is something the 2024 California range certainly looks to provide. On all but the most basic California Beach model all camping features can be controlled by a new 5-inch colour display on the C-pillar on the passenger side. Most of these features can also be controlled with a smartphone using the California app or via the app in the infotainment system.

All LED and background lighting in these models can also be controlled by a brief double tap on any one switch in the interior.

The cabin of the California Beach

The new vehicle is based on the current long wheelbase version of VW’s Multivan, and as such is nearly 27cm longer than its predecessor at 5.17m long. It is also nearly 3cm wider at 1.94m. But the height with the roof down remains the same at 1.99m, which means all new models should be able to get into multi-storey car parks, a useful trait for those who are looking for one of the best Volkswagen camper vans for everyday use.

Volkswagen has also dispensed with the traditional rear bench seat, so that all rear seats are now individual, with some of them converting into bed with the addition of a fold-out mattress stored in the rear. The company says this will make it easier to store large items like bikes in the back.

The new California will be available with a 110kW TDI turbo-diesel engine, a 150kW TSI petrol version, and a 180kW 4MOTION plug-in hybrid.

The vehicle will also be available in five different spec versions. Along with the basic California Beach – really just a Multivan with a pop-up roof – you get the Beach Tour, where two of the three seats in the back fold back flat to make the bed with the mattress. This version also includes lighting in the pop-up roof and an additional camper battery.

Inside the California Beach

The California Beach Camper, the next step up, includes a mini kitchen in the back behind the three rear seats which includes a single gas ring, a cutlery drawer and a modular storage compartment.

The California Coast and the higher specced Ocean are both four-seaters with a permanent side kitchen. Thanks to the longer length of the new vehicle, this is narrower than before, but with the same storage space. Both models also come with a 28-litre fresh water tank and an exterior folding table which can also be used inside as a kitchen extension. Additional spec in the Ocean model includes seat heating for the driver and roof storage box at the back.

Pre-sales of the new vehicle will start in June, with delivery due for the second half of this year.

Are you interested in the idea of converting your own ‘van instead? Then check out how Niall Seymour went about converting an American school bus.

Images: Volkswagen

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