VW California coming to Australia with everything and the kitchen sink

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The next-generation Volkswagen California is coming to Australia, and will finally offer something customers overseas have enjoyed for some time: a kitchen.

Volkswagen Australia confirmed it will launch the next-generation California with a choice of either a five-seat layout, or a four-seat layout complete with a kitchen.

The new California comes with dual sliding doors, which has allowed Volkswagen to offer a version with both the kitchen and right-hand drive.

Volkswagen hasn’t confirmed when the California will arrive here, but CarExpert expects it to arrive no earlier than 2025.

The new Multivan it’s based on, which moves to the company’s MQB passenger car architecture, is due here in the fourth quarter of 2024.

The company has thus far only shown the California, in (virtually production-ready) concept form, at this year’s Caravan Salon trade fair in Düsseldorf and revealed its “three-zone [living] concept”.

In zone one, the primary sliding door found on the right-hand side of the vehicle is sheltered by an overhead awning. This promotes easy access to the outdoors and rear of the van “enhancing the feeling of life in the great outdoors”.

Zone two encapsulates the interior of the van, which has updated seating arrangements. The front seats are height adjustable and can swivel 180 degrees.

This is complemented by new individual rear seats which are “lightweight, removable and very comfortable”. The flexibility of the removable seats allows the rear of the van to be configured for passenger seating, carrying larger items such as bikes, or turned into a “flat chill-out area”.

Zone three incorporates a kitchen that has been moved rearward and is now more accessible through new sliding doors. The kitchen boasts a 230V induction cooktop, integrated gas cooker, drawers, sink and fridge, all of which can be accessed from both inside and outside.

In addition to zone living, the California concept also features a pop-up roof controlled via a tablet-style interface on the C-pillar.

This can also be used to check the fresh and waste water levels, control lighting, and check the power supply status, but it can also be used to play media.

The pop-up roof features a lightweight aluminium roof shell and triple-layered bellows, with a large opening up front and USB-C outlets and LED lights within.

This new platform allowed Volkswagen to debut the California concept with a plug-in hybrid powertrain, which is a first for the model.

In the Multivan, the PHEV drivetrain pairs a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor and a 13kWh lithium-ion battery.

The system produces a total of 160kW of power, sent to the front wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Volkswagen hasn’t released range figures for the California. However, the T7 Multivan has a claimed 50km of electric range based on the WLTP cycle.

The company has confirmed the new California will be available with “all drive systems of the Multivan”.

Volkswagen Australia has thus far confirmed only a 110kW/360Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine for the Australian-market Multivan at launch, though it says another, as-yet unspecified powertrain will follow in 2025.

MORE: Volkswagen California concept plugs in for electrified adventures

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