The California 6.1 has been one of the most successful vehicles of its kind ever, with more than 175,000 units produced across four generations, and remains a popular van for moderately adventurous families. The California has hardly wavered from its original design philosophy, is beautifully packaged, and, in true German style, is built to remarkably high standards throughout. Volkswagen has now released a new version of its short-wheelbase California camper van called the Surf. The Surf is a specific trim for the Transporter 6.1 and is essentially a small home on four wheels boasting a kitchen, a pop-up top, and fold-down seats that can accommodate up to four people for sleeping (but bring your own loo). The California Surf fills the gap between the current Beach Tour and Ocean in the VW California range.
The interior layout of the Surf can perhaps best be described as minimalist, as the kitchen features a cool box, a two-burner stove, and a small stainless steel sink. The heated driver and passenger seats do swivel, but there are few frills or superfluous features. There is, however, a sensor suite to help you tow a trailer (not that we have ever seen anyone towing anything behind a VW bus), and the exterior boasts an awning.
Thanks to its standard pop-up roof and two sleeping areas (up top and down below), the California can transform itself from an MPV into a four-sleeper motorhome. The expanding roof offers an extended living area, and elevating it is a touch-button affair as it is electrically operated.
If you are interested in modern VW camper vans (i.e., the California and Transporter), look at this video by Kirsten Dirksen and skip to 15:00 (the entire video is worth a watch if you also have a thing for simple, German design).
The California 6.1 is available with a 2.0-liter TDI engine with outputs of 150 or 199 horsepower. The California 6.1 TDI engines meet the latest Euro 6d TEMP EAVP ISC emissions standard and come with a 7-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission. 4MOTION all-wheel drive can also be specified on the 199-horse engine.
The Surf may not be the top-of-the-range Transporter 6.1 camper van, but it is nonetheless a significant investment with prices starting at a hair over $82,000 (£68,234).
Our No Compromise Clause: We carefully screen all contributors to ensure they are independent and impartial. We never have and never will accept advertorial, and we do not allow advertising to influence our product or destination reviews.