The VW California is an impressive and stylish campervan that makes great use of space. It will carry seven adults in comfort (but only four can sleep!) and even has a fully functional kitchen on board.
There's only one engine to choose from, a 2.0 litre TDI BlueMotion unit, but it has various power outputs. The best performer is the 178bhp twin-turbo diesel unit and there's a very good 113bhp BlueMotion Technology which should return around 40 mpg on the combined cycle while having CO2 emissions of 184g/km - that's quite impressive for the size and weight of the vehicle.
Having made one of the world's most iconic campers, VW has done it again with the hugely impressive Volkswagen California. Indeed, you would be hard-pushed to find another vehicle that uses space in such ingenious ways as the designers of the California have done; everything is sleek and impressive. Without doubt the California offers a campervan that is not only very clever but also a cost-effective transporter of family and for accommodation. The vehicle will seat up to seven people comfortably and has sleeping space for four people.
The line-up includes having a choice of either four or five seats in the base model plus two extra swivel chairs as an option and the rear bench will fold flat to create a padded double bed. There's another fold-out bed in the roof section which is accessible from a hatch; it only really suits two children or one large adult. The bed appears, as if by magic, when a button is pushed to raise the roof and create the bedroom. Optional equipment is also quite impressive and includes a fitted fridge, a wardrobe, a gas cooker and a parking heater. There's also an awning and a sink. There are some really clever ideas in how items can be stored, for instance the rear boot lid has two picnic chairs stored within it. The California is based on the firm's Transporter van and it handles as such but that does not mean it's not a fun drive because it is comfortable and with a responsive engine which makes it ideal for long journeys.
The engine will propel the California from 0 to 62 in around 12 seconds and its handling, even on winding country roads, is excellent; there's little in the way of body roll despite the size and at top speed the vehicle is quiet and comfortable to drive. The cabin itself is well-designed and the dashboard is clear with everything to hand, the driving position is particularly good with the gearstick set into the console itself.
There's also a lot of storage and cubbyholes on board, the main seats will slide forwards and backwards to help create the bed and more space and there's also a table which fixes to the side quite easily. Essentially, the California is a small mobile home which comes complete with a gas hob, fridge, cupboards and even a kitchen sink to create a really comfortable home-from-home.
Why not have a look at the new California on the official UK company website and get the latest news about the California in the UK at The California owners' club and forum site. You may also like to see what they're saying about the new California on the Top Gear website.
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If you are interested in the best California lease specials, you may also be interested in our great deals and options on these cars:
Ford Grand C-MAX, Volkswagen Caravelle