- 2021 Volkswagen California lands Down Under
- Camper van based on Volkswagen's new T6.1 Multivan
- Front- or all-wheel drive, with two engine options
- Up to 145kW/450Nm available
- Priced from $82,990 plus on-road costs
The Volkswagen California camper van has been secured for Australia, after thirty years of being on sale in Europe.
Based upon the updated 2021 Volkswagen T6.1 Multivan – the people-mover variant of the Transporter – the California can sleep up to four with its pop-top roof bed up top, and seats which fold into an additional bed down below. This will compete directly with the Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo, which has a similar roof and sleeping setup.
It's good timing for Volkswagen, as Australia has seen a boom in parts of domestic tourism, as many travel-starved Australians buy four-wheel drives, campers, caravans and camper trailers to hit the road.
Australian buyers will get access to one specification only: California Beach. However, there is a variety of powertrains and options to choose from.
The range starts with a front-wheel-drive TDI340, which uses a 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine to make 134kW/340Nm running through to the front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch 'DSG' automatic.
Along with the rest of the T6.1 Transporter and Multivan range, the California Beach will also be available with Volkswagen's '4Motion' all-wheel-drive system. This uses an electronically-controlled clutch pack on the rear differential pinion, and allows the California to move between front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, according to the conditions.
Buyers can also opt for a more powerful 145kW/450Nm TDI450 engine, which uses two turbochargers for the extra grunt, and is available only in 4Motion guise.
And for those seeking additional off-road ability, the California Beach also comes with an optional locking rear differential ($1420) and hill descent control ($180).
Based on the short wheelbase Multivan platform, the 2021 Volkswagen California beach measures in at 4904mm long with a 3000mm wheelbase. While normally 1990mm tall, the pop-top roof opens up by 1050mm and offers up to 2.3 metres of interior standing height.
There are plenty of tricks and gear tucked away for comfortable camping, including trick storage compartments, a folding bench seat, swivelling front seats, and blockout blinds on all windows. Two camp chairs are stowed in the tailgate, and a camp table is also stored in its own special spot inside.
You'll find two mini torches for when the sun goes down (or the fire goes out), and a wind-out awning on the side of the California beach.
There is also an additional camping touchscreen control panel inside the California, which includes auxiliary battery monitoring, lighting controls, an auxiliary heater and a pitch/roll indicator to help you set up on flat ground. This control panel also opens and closes the pop-top roof, which is electro-hydraulically controlled.
The 2021 Volkswagen California Beach is available to order now.
2021 Volkswagen California Australian pricing
- California Beach TDI340 FWD – $82,990
- California Beach TDI340 AWD – $86,990
- California Beach TDI450 AWD – $92,990
Note: All prices exclude on-road costs.