Camper vans were trendy before 2020, but this year’s events have cemented them (along with other RVs) as THE way to travel for the foreseeable future. Responding to the jump in demand, Volkswagen is expanding its UK camper van offering by reintroducing the California Beach. That’s great news for British camper van shoppers because not only is the Beach the most affordable T6.1 California, it’s also the most improved.
In launching the updated California 6.1 models last year, Volkswagen initially replaced the Beach as the entry level UK model, adding the new California Coast, a lower-trim version of the full California camper van with kitchen. But now, citing a surge in demand, Volkswagen sees fit to bring the Beach back and offer buyers a fuller array of California options. Volkswagen hopes the Beach will pull in buyers looking for a more affordable, versatile option, one that can be both motorhome and everyday MPV.
The Beach 6.1 isn’t the Beach of old. Over the past few years, Volkswagen has redoubled efforts to modernize the California nameplate and keep it on the cutting edge of camper van design. Those efforts have resulted in the all-new Grand California full-size models, the renamed, redesigned Caddy California mini-campervan and the redefined California Beach 6.1.
The Beach still slots in at the entry point of the Transporter-based California line, but it now brings a clever kitchen for simple indoor cooking. Short of the bulky, full-time kitchen block on higher-trim California Ocean and Coast models, the Beach packs a mini kitchen that pulls up and out of the driver-side wall. There’s no sink or fridge, but there is a single-burner gas stove and worktop. The standard hydraulic-assist pop-up roof provides room to stand while cooking and prepping. When not in use, the kitchen packs away covertly in the sidewall panel.
For dining, the California Beach comes with a camping table and two folding chairs. VW’s announcement doesn’t include mention of sleeping arrangements, but the UK model will presumably have the same four-sleeper design as the German version: two people on the folding bed, two in the sleeper roof.
The UK California Beach Camper variant with the mini kitchen comes standard with four seats, a fifth seat available as an upgrade. It also includes an awning. It will start at £52,302 (approx. US$68,250) when it goes on sale later this month.
Those happy with just a sleeper van will be able to get a more capable people-hauler. The £52,062 California Beach Tour variant loses the kitchen in favor of a second sliding door and comes standard with five seats, sixth and seventh seats available optionally.
Both prices include VAT but not on-the-road fees, and deliveries will begin by March 2021.
The addition of the Beach drops more than £4,000 off the Volkswagen California base, which currently stands at £56,395 for the California Coast.
Unfortunately, this news means nothing for the country that actually contains California, as the California and all VW’s other vans remain entirely unavailable in the US. At least the States has attracted some European van love from Hymer.
Source: Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles
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