2021 Volkswagen Caddy California Preview – New Compact Camper Van Delivers Sweet Dreams

By Steve & Tamami Laser

The Volkswagen California is called “the world’s most successful camper van,” with more than 30 years of production. Last year, the current California, based on the T6.1 platform, welcomed a new sibling to the lineup, with the larger Crafter-based Grand California. Now, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is revisiting the compact camper market with the new Caddy California.

Volkswagen says it will offer a trio of camper van models for “every budget, every journey, and every adventure.” The redesigned Caddy, introduced earlier this year, is based on VW’s modular transverse matrix (MQB) platform.

Regular (above) and stretched Caddy California campers are planned. With its multi-functional design, the new Caddy California provides flexible living, sleeping, and storage space for travelers on the go. An array of available options and accessories includes a modular tent.

Now in its fifth generation, the Caddy van has sold more than 3 million units since 1978. It’s offered in a wide array of models, from urban delivery vehicle to family MPV. The new Caddy California replaces the previous generation’s California Beach.

Caddy California’s spacious convertible bed measures 1,980 x 1,070 mm when folded down. And when folded up, it reduces to approximately a third of its length and rests above the cargo compartment.

VW says a high-quality mattress with cup springs provides the same level of sleeping comfort as the beds in the T6.1 California and Grand California. Caddy’s second-row seats can be folded down, or removed and stowed at home before setting out on a journey.

An optional mini-kitchen, that pulls out from beneath the bed, allows customers to prepare meals at campsites. A single hob gas cooker with a flip-up windscreen and convenience shelf is provided, while a separate drawer offers storage for utensils. A gas container for the cooker is located in the rear of the kitchen behind a locked box.

Caddy California offers additional comfort and convenience features, including a large panoramic glass sunroof for increased light and ventilation inside the cabin. Also available are curtains for the front and rear windows, secured by magnets sewn into the fabric.

A new modular tent system, from VW accessories, can be connected to the van, or used with an extension in a freestanding configuration. Thus a family of four could go camping in the Caddy California, with two sleeping inside the van, and two inside the tent.

Caddy California offers the latest VW MQB technologies, including a Digital Cockpit, with fully digital instrumentation, plus infotainment displays up to 10 inches. A “California on Tour” app presents information about campsites and leisure activities. VW says that 19 different driver assist systems are available, including Travel Assist and Trailer Assist.

Under the hood, Caddy California offers a new 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine (TDI) with outputs of 55 kW (75 PS) with front-wheel drive, and 90 kW (122 PS) with optional 4Motion all-wheel drive.

As we’ve said before, we’re hoping that Volkswagen one day decides to bring its commercial vehicles to America, including all three sizes of the California camper. In the meantime, we continue to dream about these ultimate sleepers.

News source and photos courtesy of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles U.K. and Volkswagen AG

Note: Pre-production European models are shown in this story. Vehicle features, specifications, and launch timing for production models is subject to change without notice

Story (commentary) © 2020 CarNichiWa.com