Line of Volkswagen California's parked on a beach

New Volkswagen California

From £61,462

The California is a flexible camper van with an upmarket cabin that makes travelling, relaxing and sleeping as enjoyable and simple as possible. Crammed with features, the California ensures that life on the road is never dull.

Volkswagen California T6.1

The Volkswagen California T6.1 is an ode to the classic campervan. With its modern and luxurious design, the California T6.1 provides you with the perfect home away from home. From its stylish interior decor to its spacious exterior, the California T6.1 is the ideal campervan for those looking for a luxurious and comfortable experience on the road.

Let’s take a look at what it’s got to offer.


The interior of the Volkswagen California T6.1 offers plenty of space for all your needs. The comfortable leather seating allows you to relax and enjoy the scenery, while the practical kitchenette provides everything you need for cooking. The large storage area allows you to easily store all your essentials, making it the perfect campervan for those looking for a home away from home.

The Volkswagen California also has the elevated roof which can easily be set up in just a few steps. This provides extra space to move around in the passenger compartment and also transforms into a comfortable bedroom perfect for a great night’s sleep.


The exterior of the Volkswagen California T6.1 is as stylish and sophisticated as its interior. The modern design features sleek lines, distinctive alloy wheels, and a contemporary stance. The aerodynamic shape helps to reduce drag, while the robust and durable construction ensures that it can handle even the roughest roads. The addition of the dynamic front grille and bumper and the LED headlights create a striking front end that still remains true to the original California design.


The Volkswagen California T6.1 is powered by a range of powerful diesel engines, giving you plenty of power for your journey. With its advanced suspension system and four-wheel drive, the California T6.1 is designed to provide a smooth and comfortable ride, no matter where you go. With plenty of power and torque, the California T6.1 is the perfect campervan for those looking for a powerful and reliable performance on the road.

Both are linked up to a 70-litre fuel tank which should mean you’ll see up to 500 miles from a full tank - or more than enough range for touring, in other words.


As well as all of the features that make the California a comfortable place to be, it’s also packing some high-tech touches too. There’s a large central infotainment that includes navigation and media functions while a digital cockpit display is also available on certain models. You also have a clever panel placed above the front occupants which gives you control of many auxiliary functions, including the operation of the pop-up roof.

There are also a fantastic amount of assistance systems fitted which makes driving the California a pleasure. This ranges from Trailer Assist which automatically manoeuvers the vehicle and trailer during parallel and reverse parking to the Adaptive Cruise Control which uses a front radar to follow the vehicle ahead and automatically regulates the pre-set distance.

Volkswagen California with people in the back
Rear view of Volkswagen California with rear opened up to pitch up
Family sitting behind a Volkswagen California
Volkswagen California Beach interior rear seats
Man driving the Volkswagen California
Volkswagen California on a dirt road

What trim levels are on the VW California?

California Ocean

Features include:

  • Navigation system "Discover Media" including "Streaming & Internet"
  • 17” Aracju silver alloy wheels
  • Adaptive Cruise Control including speed limiter and City Emergency Braking
  • Parking sensors - front and rear with park assist
  • Double glazing in rear seat area; heat-insulating glass in front area
  • LED headlights
  • Digital Cockpit and Driver Alert System
  • Double glazing in rear seat area (Privacy/Venus); heat-insulating glass (green) in front area

California Beach Tour

Features include:

  • 17” Devonport alloy wheels
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Manual Pop-up roof
  • 70L fuel tank
  • Leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel (3-spoke)

California Beach Camper

Features include:

  • 17” Devonport alloy wheels
  • Manual Pop-up roof
  • 2-seater bench (movable) with reclining seat mechanism, multi-flex board
  • Adaptive cruise control (with "follow-to-stop") and speed limiter
  • Awning (housing and rail in black)
  • Leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel (3-spoke)​

California Surf

Features include:

  • “Ready to Discover” 8-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system
  • 16” Clayton alloy wheels
  • Inlays- Bright Brushed Grey
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Separate daytime running lights
  • Intermittent windscreen wipers with 4 stage control
  • Cruise control with speed limiter

Frequently asked questions about the California Camper Van

Is a VW Campervan worth it?

There are plenty of reasons to buy a campervan including family holidays and spontaneous adventures away but is a VW California right for you and worth the investment? If you pick a VW Cali you’ll find that its:

  • A sensible size – The VW California can go everywhere a car can go, but with the added feature of a kitchen sink on board.
  • Houses state of the art technology – This Camper offers lots of driver assistance tech to keep you and your passengers safe on the road.
  • Has exceptional residual values – If you’ve looked at buying a used Cali, you'll have found that they hold their value extremely well. This is even better news for you if you’re thinking of buying a new one.
  • Factory built, NOT a conversion – German build quality throughout and comes with…
  • Factory warranty – up to 5 years worry-free adventuring and the Cali is VW from rubber to roof.

VW California in a field

California Beach vs Ocean


Though Cali Beach may be the entry point to the California range, it’s not what you’d call bare bones. It too gets a single gas hob, alongside a pull-out awning and a manual pop-up roof. Foldable camping chairs and a matching table are also cleverly integrated into the van’s cabin, meaning they take up no extra space.


Ocean is the higher trim of the two available with the California, bringing high-end touches such as a powered pop-up roof, a fully functioning kitchen with gas stove, sink and coolbox, and an auxiliary heater. If you want the most amount of home comforts, this is definitely the specification to opt for.

VW California Ocean Test Drive Review

What is the Volkswagen California Ocean?

Holidays within the UK have been growing in popularity during recent years, with people opting for a ‘staycation’ rather than travelling abroad more than ever before.

An easy way to do this is with a camper van and the Volkswagen California – which we’re testing here – is one of the most sought-after.

Though many people opt for a larger motorhome, the compact size and car-like driving experience has pushed people towards the California in their droves, despite a relatively high list price.

We’re testing it here in the UK in range-topping Ocean specification.

What’s new?

A camper van is designed to be a home-away-from-home, which is why there’s so much equipment packed into the California.

Yes, it may cost from £56,884 (and our test van tipped the scales at a hefty £63,155), but that’s because it’s brimmed full of handy features.

Though we’ll look at these in greater detail later on, they mean that you can easily set up camp wherever you decide – the California is very much a self-contained holiday home.

And because it’s based on the regular Transporter, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about its overall size. Yes, if you’re not used to a traditional van it may take some getting used to, but compared to a coachbuilt motorhome it’s leagues easier to drive.

Volkswagen California Ocean Camper driving down the road
Volkswagen California Ocean parked on the beach
Volkswagen California Ocean campervan rear seats
Volkswagen California Ocean side parked
Volkswagen California Ocean Camper roof up

What’s under the bonnet?

The California uses Volkswagen’s tried-and-tested 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel, which here pushes out 148bhp and 340Nm of torque to the front wheels via a seven-speed DSG gearbox.

Its 0-60mph Acceleration is hardly what you’d call brisk at a claimed 14.2 seconds, and neither is its 110mph top speed. However out on the road it rarely feels underpowered or unable to deal with the job in hand, which is impressive considering the amount of weight it has to pull around.

Economy-wise, Volkswagen claims 40.9mpg combined, while emissions stand at 179g/km CO2. Neither of these are bad for the segment, and when coupled with a 70-litre fuel tank mean that the California has a decent touring range of over 600 miles – depending on how you drive it, of course.

What’s it like to drive?

Uneventful, predictable and safe – not necessarily driving traits which will get the blood pumping, but all ones you want to associate with a camper van. The California steers and handles well given its size and weight, and there’s a little less roll in the corner than you’d expect. The steering is relatively light, but it’s reasonably accurate and allows you to get the van through bends with little fuss.

Though that engine may not be all that punchy, it gets up to a lick pretty quickly, and it feels far quicker than the numbers suggest, in fact. The DSG gearbox is the star of the show here, mind; it’s smooth, efficient and responsive. The only issue here is an occasional loss of front-end traction when pulling hard away from a junction. It’s something we’ll admit that not many people will suffer with, but hard starts from a dead stop do get the front wheels spinning in an almost impressive fashion.

How does it look?

The California is a classy and unassuming product, both inside and out. It’s hard to distinguish one from a regular Caravelle or Transporter from the outside, save for subtle Ocean badges dotted in various areas, and the obvious side awning.

Our car also came with optional LED headlights and daytime running lights (£1,584) and metallic paint (£696). These both combine to make the California look just a little classier.

What’s it like inside?

The forward section of the California features two wide, comfortable and supportive captain’s chairs, which feature sizeable armrests likely to help make longer journeys that little bit more comfortable. These can be rotated round to face the rear seats to create an open seating area.

There’s plenty of storage dotted throughout the cabin, and then you have the cooker and sink positioned under a glass top to the side of the car. There’s even a fridge. Up top, you can pop the roof (electrically) to extend the headroom of the California, and this also features a roof bed and stowage component. You can even program the heating when parked via a remote control.

Everything feels sturdy and built-to-last – which is just what you want from a vehicle which is going to be going here, there and everywhere.

What’s the spec like?

There’s a wealth of standard equipment accompanying the California, but then you’d hope there to be given its price.

You get three-zone climate control included as part of the car’s cost, along with 17-inch alloy wheels, the aforementioned pop-up roof and all of the major creature comforts you’d expect from a camper.

It’s a shame that given the van’s price that you don’t get Volkswagen’s excellent Discover Media navigation system as standard.

It houses functions such as satellite navigation and media controls, and just as in other Volkswagen products, it’s brilliantly simple to use with clear graphics and a logically laid-out design. But at £1,578, it’s a costly addition – and one you’d expect to be included as standard in the top-spec Ocean model.


The California is geared towards adventures and, if that’s your thing, then you won’t for a second be disappointed by picking this well-finished Volkswagen. It’s easy to drive – one of its biggest merits – yet it looks premium enough to be parked up in even the smartest of campsites.

Expensive it may be, but many will see the California as an investment, in the same vein as a classic sports car, to be enjoyed over many years and in all manner of places.

If you look at it that way, it makes a lot of sense indeed.

How can we help?

With Solutions Personal Contract Plan. Ordered by 01/07/2024. T&Cs apply. Indemnities may be required. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle Finance. At the end of the agreement there are three options: i) pay the optional final payment and own the vehicle; ii) return the vehicle: subject to excess mileage and fair wear and tear, charges may apply; or iii) replace: part exchange the vehicle. 18s+. Subject to availability and status. T&Cs apply. Ordered by 01/07/2024. Subject to changes in vehicle or equipment prices. Not available in conjunction with any other finance offer and may be varied or withdrawn at any time. Accurate at time of publication [04/2024] Freepost Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle Financial Services.