Volkswagen teases next-generation California: here’s what we know so far

August 08, 2023 by

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The California Concept will be displayed at the Caravan Salon trade fair that kicks off in Germany this August. It previews the next version of the famous campervan. Read on to find out more.

  • New California to be based on Multivan
  • First hybrid California
  • Concept reveal at Caravan Salon in August
  • Hitting the road in 2024

Volkswagen has previewed a new concept that will show the next stage in the famous California campervan’s story.

Called the California Concept, it will be shown at the Caravan Salon trade fair that’s taking place in Düsseldorf from August 25 to September 3.

But rather than being based on the Transporter van, as it has done since its inception in 2003, it will now be built on the Multivan long-wheelbase, so it’s set to be a plug-in hybrid for the first time.

New Volkswagen California Concept design

Only shown in sketches so far, the California Concept is clearly set to be based on the Multivan. The front-end design is the same as the van-based people carrier, meaning a light bar connects the headlights to the central badge and a rounded-off look.

But from then on, the California Concept has a pop-up roof that would house one of the beds, while an awning comes out from either side to offer you shade when you’ve made camp.

It will likely keep the lift-up tailgate at the back, giving you easy access to the boot when you’ve pitched up.

While the design of the California isn’t drastically different from the Multivan – much like when it was based on the Transporter – the cabin is where the main changes will be made. You’ll have to wait until August 25 to see what that’s like, but expect plenty of home comforts.

New Volkswagen California Concept technology

As it’ll now use the Multivan as its platform, the next generation California will be a plug-in hybrid for the first time.

You can still get the Multivan with petrol and diesel engines, but the PHEV option could attract a lot of interest.

With a 1.4-litre petrol engine paired to an electric motor and a six-speed automatic transmission, the eTSI has 218hp on tap and is capable of up to 32 miles on electric power alone.

It has been rumoured that there could be an all-electric version of the California based on the ID Buzz also in the works, and with the recent release of the long wheelbase version of the Buzz, it looks like Volkswagen will be offering the camping experience with two more fuel efficient options.

Volkswagen has also revealed in images that you’ll get a removable touchscreen panel to control the interior environment of your California. Whether that will be a standard feature is yet to be seen.

How much will the Volkswagen California Concept cost?

As this first reveal will not be the finished product, it’s difficult to judge how much the next California will be.

But based on the current version and the price of a standard Transporter van – where there’s roughly £27,000 difference in starting cost – you could expect the California to start at upwards of £70,000 if we take the £45,000 current price of the Multivan into account.

Production of the new California is set to start in 2024.

Here’s what Mat thinks the next California will be like.

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