Volkswagen’s New California Van Wants to Please Every Kind of Camper

Volkswagen’s go-to official camper van just got even more adventure-friendly.

The German automaker has just unveiled the latest iteration of the California for sale in Europe, according to Car and Driver. The new version isn’t a huge departure from what came before but comes with some key fixes and new features that combine to make it even better suited for some time at the campground.

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Thanks in part to the enduring popularity of the Microbus, or Type 2 as it’s known to enthusiasts, few companies are more associated with camper vans than VW. The company currently makes three motorhome models, and the California, which is based on the Transporter commercial van and debuted in 2003, is for those of us who want the ability to get away from the hustle and bustle of modern life for a few days here and there.

The new Volkswagen California with tent and awnings opened
New Volkswagen California

The new California doesn’t look radically different from its predecessor, but it is bigger. It’s now 10.6 inches longer and 1.6 inches wider than before, though its height remains the same. All versions of the van also come standard with two sliding doors with mosquito nets and a roof-top pop-up tent. There are three powertrain options to choose between, each of which comes mated to an automatic transmission, according to Those include a 2.0-liter turbodiesel that produces 150 hp and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 204 hp, both of which were previously available, as well as an all-new hybrid-assisted 1.5-liter gas mill that produces 245 hp and comes with all-wheel drive (the other options only have front-wheel drive).

Five versions of the California will be available at launch—the Beach, Beach Tour, Beach Camper, Coast, and Ocean—each of which are configured for different types of camping. The base Beach model has room for six, while the step-up Beach Tour adds swiveling front seats, lighting for the tent, and a 5.0-inch display that can be used to control air-conditioning, heating, and other systems. The Beach Camper, meanwhile, ups seating capacity to seven and comes with a compact kitchenette. The Coast only has seating for four but does have a larger kitchenette with a single-burner stove, sink, fridge, and cabinet space. Finally, the flagship Ocean also only has room for four but comes with better amenities, including heated front seats, two camper batteries, and more storage space.

Inside the new Volkswagen California
Inside the new California

Sounds intriguing, right? Unfortunately, there’s a catch. Despite being named for an American state, there are currently no plans to sell the California in the U.S. Despite the continued popularity of #vanlife hashtags and influencers, VW camper vans remain a European exclusive. If the California does ever make it to our shores—we have our fair share of camping lovers after all—you can expect pricing to begin around the $77,000 the vehicle starts at in Europe.

Click here for more photos of the new Volkswagen California.

The New Volkswagen California in Photos
The New Volkswagen California in Photos

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