Volkswagen T6 California Amazing Camper Van

By:   Fedora Atjeh Fedora Atjeh   |   Oktober 02, 2017
Volkswagen T6 California

If there is a vehicle that we must unequivocally associate with leisure, that is yes or yes the Volkswagen California. Adventure, free time, tourism, beach or mountain, evasion, self-sufficiency ... Many words we could associate with a vehicle that laid the foundations of what is now known as the camper movement there for a distant 1951. Almost seven decades later, the mythical Bulli, or Volkswagen Transporter (T1), has become a phenomenon that is renewed with its sixth generation. The Volkswagen T6 California has been completely renovated and the result is as spectacular and appetizing as usual. Who can not feel like going out with the house without a fixed course?

Within the renewed T6 range and nestled within what the Germans call their Life range, California was the latest model missing to reach dealerships and at the same time the most anticipated of them all. In case you do not know, the California is a mass phenomenon and one of the vehicles that less depreciate in the market second hand. There is a brutal demand and a very limited offer.

The denomination California is divided in turn into two different versions. On the one hand we have the version of access called Beach that equips series heating by gasoil, manual lifting with bed, rotating bases in front seats, rear seats that turn into bed and folding set of table and chairs. Its starting price is 36,240 euros without taxes.

Volkswagen T6 California

On the other we have the absolute icon, the coveted Ocean that comes equipped WITH EVERYTHING. The standard equipment includes a side cabinet that incorporates gas cooker, sink, refrigerator, storage, folding table, awning, complete LED interior lighting, shower with dirty and clean water tanks, a back seat that converts to a bed a little narrower and electrically liftable roof. A luxury loft from 46,320 euros.

Everything good is paid, of course, but in return you get something like a second portable recreational home. It is a mistake to think of California simply as vehicles, and that is now more and more people (families even) who leave aside the immobility of the beach houses to buy a van of this type.

The truth is that in stands both versions are impressive thanks to a modern aesthetic that retains some distinctive details of the old T1 and T2, especially in the versions with bicolor paint. Its body has been adopting prism form with the passage of the years to optimize interior habitability and now the result is a vehicle that without being excessively large has a space more than generous.

The outer dimensions are 5,006 mm in the short battle version 1,904 mm wide and 1,990 mm high, ie slightly shorter and narrower than a Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo and 10 mm higher. The other German alternative that we have just tried is also its biggest competition, also in terms of prices, since part of the 32,317 euros also without taxes.

If on the outside does not appear too many changes with respect to the T5 (they look alike, but the renovation is considerable) apart from a few new headlamps that can be full LED and a much more modern grille, sitting in the driver's seat yes we find differences notable. The position is still high and access has to be helped by a step, but the dashboard is completely new.

Although the arrangement of the elements is very similar, all surfaces have been renovated and received treatments more in line with the latest trends of the brand's passenger cars. The black piano and the chrome ones go to detail certain parts and together with a three-spoke steering wheel more modern give the cabin a new touch much more premium and less of van.

In the back the rear seats are new, the system to mount the bed and the opening of the lower drawers is maintained but in the Ocean the furniture evolves again in its materials and qualities, seeking to reduce the weight with sandwich panels and improving overall appearance.

The distribution of the elements is identical for decades because when something works it is better not to change it. They have only changed the materials with which the furniture is built by adding lightweight aluminum structures and weatherproof panels.


Moving in the direction of discovering idyllic paradises where it would otherwise be unthinkable to make night, we started the California and we set off to see how it moves. We have been able to drive both the Beach and Ocean versions and the differences are remarkable.

Both have the same options of motorization released in the T6 range with turbocharged diesel engines of 102, 150 and 204 hp (the last two with option of change of double clutch DSG) and except in the most powerful variant we find the same scenario .

While on the beach the power is reasonable to move the set smoothly and solvent performance in any situation (eye, we are talking about traveling for leisure, disconnection, relax ... not to seek strong emotions along the way), the greater weight of the Ocean and its placement in an elevated position translates into greater consumption, a little more laziness under the demands of the accelerator and a considerable pitch in curves.

In any case, both stand out for having a good footing thanks to a taxiing with a specific set-up, are very pleasant to drive, are well insulated acoustically (in addition to thermally) and their touch is very car, but we can not forget that we drive a van. A very peculiar van besides.

For the latest generation of the California is added a dose of state-of-the-art technology that has not been equipped as App Connect, Android Auto or CarPlay, but even more useful are the driving aids most appropriate for high-end passenger cars.

Front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, city emergency braking, light switch, rear-view camera, multi-collision braking, fatigue detector or lift and lower control for the fitted versions with 4MOTION traction. Practically everything.

It is possible to go quite fast with them maintaining a cruising speed superior to the legal one but it is better to take things calmly because the important thing is to enjoy the trip and of step reduce a consumption that in the heavier exceeds easily the 9 liters to the 100 km. In addition, at the end of the road we always expect the scenery and adventure, surrounded by top quality finishes and everything you need to survive with all the amenities you can afford.

During the presentation held in Tarifa we try to spend as much time as possible within the California Ocean. With the rear seat bench in its rear most position and the fully rotated front seats, four adults can spend time in a very pleasant way inside enjoying the surroundings without any squeezes

The large glazed surfaces achieve a considerable feeling of spaciousness, especially if left with the ceiling raised and the bed of the raised roof bed, being able to stand completely inside either day or night. The LED lighting is powerful enough not to miss more lights, with lighting points also on the top bed.

We thought it was very good the detail of the double glass cover for the kitchen, because when lifting it continue to let the light through and act as a splash protector, although on the move it makes a little noise. Also the folding table that is hidden between the back seat and the furniture, in contrast a negative point would be that the seat of the pilot turns completely but the legs collide against the furniture.

At bedtime we must say that both the lower and upper bed are quite well. The lower one is almost completely flat (to the detriment of comfort for rear passengers on the go) and the upper one with foam mattress is even more comfortable. Now in winter above will be a colder place to sleep because only rely on the protection of the roof canvas, which is insulating, but not so much.

It is made so to the detail that all the windows have blinds of total darkening. The rear ones are sliding and the two that cover the front moon are rolled inside the pillars A, fitting perfectly on specific supports. The only ones that do not have curtains are the front windows.

California can continue to grow outward. The awning that is mounted on the right side has folding aluminum guides and extensible legs to leave it at the distance that suits us and is planted in a robust way on the ground. In addition, under the tailgate you can ask for an advance to make a small "room" where you can shower without fear of prying eyes.

If you have not tried it, I assure you that this type of vehicle can give you more joys than you think and open many doors to a type of tourism less stagnant in specific locations and much freer in every way. It is clear that it is not for everyone but our recommendation is to do the test and then decide, because sometimes with much less experience can be much more. More fun, exciting, improvised ...

Of course, as long as your pocket allows it, because it is not a purchase to be taken lightly and after waiting for the approximately three months it takes each California to arrive since you ask at the dealership.

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