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For the campers: VW's SA-bound California

2015-06-19 14:11

COMING SOON: VW's leisure camper van, the California, will arrive in SA in 2016, albeit in the Beach model only. Image: VW Germany

  • Fuel efficiency up 15%
  • DSG and 4Motion options 
  • Power from 75kW to 150kW
  • New driving assistance features
  • New safety systems

LONDON, England - If there's one thing South Africans love it's the great outdoors with a lekker braai. Now you can take the family for a trek at leisure with VW Commercial Vehicles about to kick-start the northern summer holiday season with the official unveiling of the new California camper.

It's based on the recently revealed Transporter T6 but remains the only factory-built camper van on the market. This the latest version has a number of improvements and new features for buyers who want what VW calls "the ultimate home from home".


VWSA says the Transporter 6 will arrive here in October 2015, the new California early in 2016. The current California Beach model is available in SA but has to be ordered.

Since its launch in 1988 the California has become the benchmark in the camper van sector, says VW, with more than 50 000 of the outgoing T5 version delivered.

The new California is the fourth model to bear the name and builds on the strengths of its predecessors. The range incorporates all the key features introduced on the new Transporter T6, including new, more efficient, engines that are up to 15% less thirsty than the outgoing units, says VW.

It features a range of technologies designed to make life safer and even more enjoyable for occupants. These include driver assistance systems, a refreshed infotainment system and adaptive suspension.


The launch engine range includes both diesel and petrol options, along with DSG and 4Motion all-wheel-drive derivatives. Power outputs for UK models range from 75kW for the entry-level two-litre TDI (Beach models only) up to 150kW for the 2.0 TSI petrol unit (Ocean models only).

Available in two forms; Beach and Ocean (which replaces the current SE model), the California can sleep four occupants courtesy of its pop-up roof (electro-hydraulic on Ocean models) that neatly integrates a 1.2m x 2m double bed. 

Ocean models feature a fully-equipped kitchen, complete with 42-litre refrigerator, twin-burner hob and stainless steel sink unit. It gains a dimmable LED lighting system for the pop-up roof and tailgate and a clever multi-functional holder for the rear compartment that incorporates a cup, ashtray and towel holder all in one.


VW says safety systems on the fourth-generation models include a driver alert system, brake assistant and an auto post-collision braking system. 

Prices and specifications will be confirmed closer to launch here in SA. Production of the new model will continue at Volkswagen’s bespoke assembly facility in Hanover, Germany.

Read more on:    volkswagen  |  launch  |  south africa  |  california  |  new model

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