New VW California camper van lands with plug-in hybrid power

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A new generation of Volkswagen’s California camper van based on the automaker’s T-series of vans sold overseas made its debut on Tuesday.

It’s specifically based on VW’s latest Multivan passenger-oriented model (there’s also a Transporter cargo model in the T-Series family), which makes plug-in hybrid power an option on the camper for the first time.

The new California starts deliveries in the second half of the year, though the U.S. isn’t on the list of markets. Some of its features will likely end up on a similar ID.California based on the U.S.-bound ID.Buzz, though the ID.California has been delayed due to what VW says is low demand for electric campers.

The new California debuts a redesigned pop-up roof that can hold a bed, which is a signature of VW’s California camper vans. It features aluminum construction and has a front window and large front opening as well as two additional side windows in the bellows, all with mosquito nets.

2025 Volkswagen California

The California is based on the long version of the Multivan, meaning it measures a generous 203.6 inches long. Sliding doors on both sides of the van are also a standard feature for the first time, making access to the cabin easy no matter where you park. An available awning can be added to both sides to provide protection from the sun or rain.

Also new are individual seats instead of a bench in the rear, meaning just one of the rear seats need to be folded to store longer items. The front seats can rotate 180 degrees to create a lounge-like experience, while the rear seats fold flat, leaving space for a bed. Some grades also feature just two seats in the rear, creating a more luxurious environment.

Certain grades also get a removable tablet screen that can be used to control many of the van’s features remotely. Another handy feature is the ability to switch off all the lights simply using a brief double tap of any of the light switches.

2025 Volkswagen California

2025 Volkswagen California

Numerous options can be added, including a kitchen with a refrigerator. There isn’t an indoor shower but an outdoor shower can be connected to the fresh water tank.

There are three powertrain options, all of which pair to an automatic transmission. There are gas and diesel 2.0-liter turbo-4s, plus the plug-in hybrid which pairs a 1.5-liter turbo-4 with an electric motor. The plug-in hybrid, which is the most powerful option at 242 hp, also includes all-wheel drive. The maximum tow capacity is 4,400 pounds.

While the California has traditionally been based exclusively on VW’s T-series of midsize vans that date back to the original Microbus, VW has also launched California versions of its smaller Caddy van and bigger Crafter van in recent years, the latter dubbed the Grand California. Eventually, the ID.Buzz will join the list, which is fitting since the ID.Buzz is the spiritual successor to the original Microbus.

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