Volkswagen has brought a slice of the Kombi back to Australia with the updated California Beach which functions as the flagship of the T6.1 range.
For the 2021 T6.1 California Beach, Volkswagen has taken the Multivan people-mover and tweaked it in-house to become a fully-fledged “adventure vehicle” with pop-up sleeping quarters and other rather neat touches included.
Of course, that all comes at a cost, with the California Beach starting from $82,990 before on-road costs and options here in Australia.
That has led to strong demand for the California Beach in Australia. Kurt Mcguiness, public relation and brand experience manager for Volkswagen Australia, confirmed that the majority of the first shipment has been pre-sold.
But the California Beach is not a limited edition and will become a mainstream offering from the third quarter of 2021 onwards. Think of the California like the Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo, but with an extra dollop of retro-chic.
Volkswagen Australia describes the California Beach as a “turn-key solution to take advantage of the booming (domestic) tourism market”.
Backing up that statement is the standard fitment of pop-up sleeping quarters, an extra $2,990 sees that taken care of electrically.
Additionally, the rear bench can be folded flat to make a second bed for the night with block-out blinds fitted on the windows – the California Beach should sleep four in relative comfort.
Outside the California is outfitted with a roll-out awning, cleverly stowed camp chairs and fold-out picnic table. The front captain’s chairs can swivel to seat four inside for dinner in inclement weather, and there is a nifty auxiliary heater to keep occupants warm when the mercury plummets.
There is no need to fret about battery levels dropping in the California, a screen in the rear quarters displays battery health alongside a roll and pitch indicator to help campers find level ground.
Under the bonnet, Volkswagen offers two four-cylinder turbodiesel engines, the more affordable being the TDI340 with 110kW of power and 340Nm of torque. Initially, all California Beach models will be powered by this engine with all-wheel drive fitted for $86,990.
Later this year a gruntier TDI450 will join the lineup, it sees outputs bumped up to 146kW and 450Nm from the same sized motor. All-wheel drive is standard, and the TDI450 sees the price climb to $92,990 before on-roads.
For those taking their California Beach into the mud, a rear locking diff is available for an extra $1,420 and hill-descent control $180. All California Beach models are fitted with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
Other notable options include Art Velour synthetic leather-upholstery for $1,890, adaptive suspension ($1,890) and an optional digital cockpit which Volkswagen will charge $900 for.
The California Beach benefits from the host of updates made to the rest of the T6.1 people mover range, getting the same updated chrome grille, halogen headlights and LED taillights. Bespoke touches include the California Beach badging and the ability to get some fantastic colour schemes.
There is a new active steering system under the skin – as in all T6.1 products – with safety increased to comprise rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control in the California Beach.
The California Beach is available for order now alongside the rest of the refreshed T6.1 range in Australia.
Prices listed are before on-road costs.
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