I’m canoeing forth Pacific Bank Highway in a aloft bit of banned fruit: the 2018 Volkswagen California T6 van. Available in Europe, this 16-foot, Class B camper van is the backbiting of American van activity compatriots. Think of it as a avant-garde Westfalia pop-up camper, aloof with, you know, avant-garde animal comforts.
But I’m not aloof demography this boxlike van for a quick spin. For the abutting few days, it’s my home abroad from home, allotment of a all-around media barrage that celebrates the California’s 30th birthday.
Thankfully, this van is abreast for on-the-road living. An covering deploys over the sliding passenger-side aperture and two affected chairs are stowed in the rear liftgate. There’s alike a collapsible table ensconced in the ancillary door. Within 5 account of affairs up to a campsite, I’ve got a abounding patio amplitude set up and I’m bubbler a Diet Dr. Pepper that’s been air-conditioned in the van’s refrigerator. All I charge is a bandana-wearing dog and a handsome macho accompaniment to complete the absolute outdoorsy scene.
My top-of-the-line Ocean analysis van packs all the comforts of home. In accession to the top-loading fridge, it comes with a dual-burner gas stove and a small, stainless animate sink. A bottle worktop can be confused out of the way aback you don’t charge added adverse space, and ample cupboards are housed below. A dining table slides out aback you charge it, and you can hinge the advanced seats to face backward, acceptation you’ve got basement for a four-person banquet party. How elegant.
When it comes time to sleep, you’ve got two choices: pop the top or cull out the bank seat. The roof is operated via a multifunction affectation and extends upward; the bed folds bottomward from the anew aloft ceiling. With the roof all the way up, there’s allowance to actually angle up central the California. A boiler keeps things balmy on arctic littoral nights, and shades arrange from anniversary window for added privacy.
Come morning, I’m avaricious clothes out of a baby closet in the aback of the van. There’s a battery head, but the baptize catchbasin isn’t acrimonious and alone holds 6.5 gallons, and I’m not too agog on brief, algid showers. There’s no toilet in here, but accustomed the abutting confines, that’s fine. Things could get… smelly.
Beyond all this convenience, the California is abounding of little niceties. LED bulbs are broadcast throughout the cabin, and the disposable LED flashlight tucked abaft the advanced commuter bank dually serves as attic lighting. That fold-out dining allowance table can act as added adverse amplitude with the use of a band that lets it adhere over the aback bank seat. There are alike adaptable cup holders in the dining area. When’s the aftermost time a German-spec car had abundant cup holders?
It’s not all perfect, of course. Sliding the bank bank advanced to accomplish the bed requires a bit of muscle, and the advanced seats will alone hinge about from one actual specific position in the fore-aft slider. The sleeping surfaces themselves are additionally a bit tough. If you’re Princess-and-the-Pea acute like me, accompany an added cushion.
Still, that all these appearance are awash into a almost baby brand is wonderful. And because of its baby admeasurement about to added campers, the California is air-conditioned accessible to drive.
European barter can buy the California with a agent engine, but my adaptation has the gas-powered, 2.0-liter, turbocharged I4. With aloof 201 application and 258 pound-feet of torque, as able-bodied as a seven-speed dual-clutch automated transmission, it’s not actually quick. But already you’re up to speed, the California is altogether blessed chugging forth at 70 afar per hour and has no agitation acrimonious up acceleration for passing.
The California has a Sport mode, admitting I can’t actually feel a aberration while canoeing the arced anchorage alfresco of Ojai. This isn’t article you’ll appetite to drive with gusto, anyway. Take one about-face too bound and you’re met with lots of anatomy roll, acknowledgment to the extra, abundant weight. This van is able with Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive arrangement and has a automated locking rear cogwheel for added rough-stuff prowess. I won’t be active over annihilation tougher than a grated clay road, but with a able set of asperous tires, you could apparently get to campsites way off the baffled path.
As far as onboard tech is concerned, the California has a 6.3-inch touchscreen infotainment display. The aeronautics action doesn’t assignment over here, as it’s alone loaded with European map data, but otherwise, it’s the aforementioned colorful, acknowledging interface I’ve acclimated in added late-model VW vehicles, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto congenital in. Blind-spot monitoring, advanced emergency braking and adaptive cruise ascendancy are additionally onboard, for easier, safer driving.
The irony of a van called California not actuality awash in California affectionate of kills me, and that isn’t activity to change anytime soon. Volkswagen has actually no affairs to action it Stateside. Bummer. Alike if Volkswagen did accompany it here, it wouldn’t be cheap. The abject Beach trim, with no kitchen, front-wheel drive and a chiral pop top starts at 43,200 euros, or about $51,000 at accepted barter rates. A actually loaded California Ocean costs 91,000 euros, or a whopping $108,600.
That’s not to say US-market band are any cheaper, though. A 21-foot Winnebago van with an onboard toilet starts about $140,000 and the least-expensive Airstream Class B van comes in aloft $185,000. Yowza.
But there’s achievement yet for you VW van fans. The automaker is assured to accompany the I.D. Buzz electric van to bazaar in 2022, which should be appealing cool, but apparently won’t be offered with aggregate and the accepted kitchen sink… or refrigerator… or pop-up top.
Still, a few canicule of California absent forth the bank gives me lots of “what if” fantasies about activity on the accessible road. What if I aloof gave up the accouterment of a Bay Breadth accommodation and took off on the accessible road? I’d absolutely accompany forth a dog, and accord him the requisite bandana. Bringing a guy forth is apparently too abundant trouble.
Editors’ note: Roadshow accepts multi-day agent loans from manufacturers in adjustment to accommodate denticulate beat reviews. All denticulate agent reviews are completed on our accommodation and on our terms. However, for this feature, the architect covered biking costs. This is accepted in the auto industry, as it’s far added economical to address journalists to cars than to address cars to journalists.
The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s beat aggregation are our own and we do not acquire paid beat content.
This was originally appear on Roadshow.
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