Volkswagen has been making compact camper vans since the 1950s, earning the German auto manufacturer legions of fans as a result. The company’s California model has been especially popular, with multiple generations of the vehicle getting released over the past two decades. But with the imminent arrival of the new electric ID. Buzz van, many thought the gas-powered California could be on the verge of getting phased out. But it seems VW isn’t ready to retire this mainstay in its lineup just yet, as it recently showed off a 2024 concept version that is sleek, modern, and fun.
The video above comes our way courtesy of the team at Top Gear. They recently had the chance to check out the latest edition of the California, which is built on VW’s T7 Multivan platform. That gives the vehicle a standard 148 horsepower 2.0L diesel engine, with options for 1.5L and 2.0L gas models. There is also a 1.4L plug-in hybrid capable of producing 215HP. The PHEV version has the added advantage of plugging into shore power at the campsite to top off its battery pack.
The new California Camper also features Volkswagen’s suite of safety features, including lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and better all-around handling on the road. It also comes with a large automated sliding door on both sides of the vehicle, providing outstanding interior access. All of this makes the van a solid daily driver that can be used for camping excursions on the weekend or extended cross-country road trips.
As you would expect from a camper van, the 2024 California comes equipped with plenty of great features. Those include a kitchenette complete with a refrigerator, a fold-out prep table, and storage drawers. An induction stove and kitchen sink are also cleverly integrated into the interior space. The van’s seats fold flat to create a large mattress inside the vehicle, while a pop-up rooftop tent provides additional sleeping space. The living area extends outdoors thanks to an integrated awning on the left side and a pullout tarp on the right.
Other excellent features include a built-in camping table that slides out of the rear of the vehicle and two comfortable-looking camping chairs that are conveniently stored in the liftgate. The onboard water tank connects to an outdoor shower while swiveling, height-adjustable seats make the interior as comfortable as possible. A built-in tablet controls all of the van’s lights and environmental settings and can even connect to your favorite streaming services to watch television shows and movies.
While the California Camper Van hasn’t always made it across the pond to the US, this latest edition is likely a look at things to come. The ID. Buzz will arrive stateside in 2024, and a California edition is already in the works. That means this version of the van is likely a preview of the all-electric model, which should be equally well-designed and delightful to use in the field.
Watch the video above to check out all of these features for yourself.