New Volkswagen Caddy California Makes Camping Easy

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This is the Swiss Army knife of camper vans.

We hate reminding you of the wonderful treasures we don't get to experience here, but once in a while, something too cool not to share comes along. The new Volkswagen Caddy California is one such machine, and we're absolutely pining over the pint-sized alternative to the Ford Transit Connect. We recently showed official renders of the new model, but now the finished product has been released, and it's a wonder of multifunctional recreational automobilia. Much like the Grand California, there are numerous variants, but each of them is a whiz at fulfilling a multitude of roles, making it the ideal small camper.

Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen

The Caddy California is based on the same MQB architecture that underpins the Volkswagen Golf and VW Tiguan. It boasts a pair of turbo-diesel engines under the hood, with either a 74-horsepower version of the engine or a 120-hp variant of the same. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel-drive is optionally available.

Like the latest generation VW products based on this same architecture, including the heavily-revised 2021 VW Atlas, there's a digital instrument cluster and infotainment displays measuring up to 10 inches in diameter. A range of online services is also included, such as a 'California on Tour' app that provides info on camping sites and businesses, as well as adventure activities like cycling.

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Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen

There's a bed in the back big enough for a six-footer to live with, that shrinks to a third of its size when folded up and doesn't affect cargo space. In the past, this bed would have taken up a part of the second row of seating, but not here. It also comes with a mini kitchen that consists of two pull-out parts. The top part features a gas cooker with a wind shield while the bottom part has a cutlery tray. There's even a lockable compartment for the gas bottle. In addition, it feels bigger inside than it is thanks to the first-time inclusion of a panoramic roof.

Other sweet details include fly screens on the front doors, dimmable LED lights, a pair of camping chairs, and a matching table. These can be stowed in a special bag under the bed. A modular tent system is included and can be used separately from the vehicle, providing a sleeping area for up to four people.

Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen

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