The mighty Volkswagen California camper van is getting a mild update, creating the California 6.1 in the process. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VWCV) will unveil the 6.1 fully following the Caravan Salon show in Düsseldorf at the end of August.
The van in the images is the California Ocean 6.1, the top-end version. New front-end design highlights the 6.1, as it now has a chrome-plated radiator grille with integral LED daytime running lights. A larger air intake is sited below, while on the Ocean there's a chrome strip in the re-sculpted front bumper.
Of course, a California's USP is the fact you can sleep in it, and so the 6.1 VW has a newly designed interior. The upper Coast and Ocean models (base-spec is Beach, by the way) include a compact set of kitchen units, with new décor and aluminium handles for the cupboards - and a double-USB socket as well. In the rear cupboard, the shutters have been replaced by sliding doors, while darker seat covers in Palladium Grey are designed to tastefully complement the new wood grains on the kitchen cabinets.
Insomniacs among you might be pleased to know that the beds of the California 6.1 will now provide 'even greater comfort'. The high bed will be equipped with a sprung base from now on, while the double rear bench seat that folds out to create a bed can also be transformed into a lounge. The pop-up roof perched atop the Volkswagen camper has darker grey canvas sides, to cut out more incoming light, while there are individually selectable LEDs in the roof and living area to set the correct ambience.
All of the main camper settings of the California 6.1 are now controlled by a newly developed panel in the overhead console. Previously a monochrome screen, now it's a full-colour touch display and it'll control 'Camping' mode, 'Sunrise' alarm function, 'Cool Box', 'Light' and 'Set-up'. Electro-hydraulic operation of the pop-up roof is standard via a menu called, unsurprisingly, 'Pop-up Roof' and there's also 'Auxiliary Heating' in the top Ocean model. A new feature here is 'Level', which indicates to occupants whether the California is parked on a longitudinal or latitudinal slope.
It's not just in the living area where the Volkswagen California 6.1 has been improved inside, as the Digital Cockpit in the cluster is new, the infotainment system has been upgraded (with either eight-inch Discover Media or 9.2-inch Discover Pro screens for satnav), and the steering has been switched from hydraulic to electro-mechanical. This allows the California 6.1 to have a variety of driver assist systems, such as Lane Assist, Park Assist, side-protection function, Trailer Assist and, as standard, Cross Wind Assist. Power under the bonnet will come from a variety of Euro 6d Temp Evap emissions standard 2.0-litre TDI units, with drive going to the front as standard or both axles as an option.