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Driven: Volkswagen California – on sale now



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2008 VW California

The classic Volkswagen Camper has become a motoring icon.

Its latest incarnation, the California, might not quite have the same timeless appeal, but it certainly brings it up to date in terms of comfort and driveability.

Based on the Caravelle, the California is a factory-designed and produced camper which selected Volkswagen Van Centres can sell.

While the price-tag is high, residual values will be strong and prospective buyers should be impressed with its build quality, 100,000-mile/three-year warranty and features.

Target customers, such as action sports enthusiasts and mature couples, will find it ideal for short breaks.

It will sleep four, and has a gas hob, sink and water tank, electric fridge, auxiliary heater and mains hook-up for campsite use.

It even has two folding chairs and a table for outside use – making the optional awning an easy sell for dealers.

The vehicle is sold with a 2.5TDI engine in two power options.

We tested the lower- powered variant, which happily hauled itself up the hills of Derbyshire with a family of four on board and storage cupboards filled to bursting point.

It felt stable and secure on the road and, being no wider than a Caravelle, easily negotiated narrow country lanes.

Since its October 2005 launch, 450 Californias have been registered in the UK, with a further 300 expected to be sold this year.

Fact file

Price: £35,172-£39,262
Engine: 2.5TDI: 129bhp; 2.5TDI: 172bhp
Performance: 0-62mph: 13-16.2sec; top speed: 103-115mph
Transmission: 6sp man, 6sp Tip
Efficiency: 30.7-34mpg, 219-243g/km CO2
CAP RV: 3yr/30k 49-52%
Rivals: LDV Maxus AVF, restored VW Camper

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