With a rich heritage in recreational vehicles, Volkswagen has announced the new Caravelle-based California, which is now available.

The new California is special in being a full factory-designed product benefiting from the same expertise as every Volkswagen product down to the last detail. Light alloy chairs, table and awning even borrow from aero-industry design practice, incorporating light weight and ingenuity of stowage. Entry level recreational fun from Volkswagen can be had from £34,000.

Equipped with Volkswagen’s 5-cylinder 2.5-litre TDI PD engine in either 130 PS or 174 PS form, the California is economical, powerful and environmentally friendly. All models meet Euro 4 emissions standard.

Two sleeping areas are available, one in the main body of the vehicle and one in a ‘private’ roof area, accessible via an electro-hydraulic raising mechanism.

Equipment includes a 42-litre fridge with -18°C capability, a 30-litre fresh water container (with submersible pump); twin-gas burners; radio/cassette system with six-disc CD changer and eight-speakers; parking and auxiliary heaters with remote control; two folding chairs (stored within the tailgate) multiple storage cupboards with drawers and double glazing for the living area.

A full range of options includes European-wide satellite navigation, Climatronic air conditioning in the front and/or rear of the vehicle, removable towbar and a 250 cm wide side-mounted awning.

All vehicles are equipped with anti-lock brake system (ABS), traction control (TCS), engine braking control (EBC) and electronic stabilisation programme (ESP). For those who appreciate extra traction, Volkswagen’s 4MOTION all-wheel drive system is also available as an option.

The California enjoys the high standard of build quality found in all Volkswagen passenger and commercial vehicles. Should the unlikely happen, the manufacturer-backed 60,000 miles/three year warranty will provide additional assurance. This becomes the only recreational vehicle of its type available officially in the UK with full European Whole Vehicle Type Approval.