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The best car to travel Australia? 2025 Volkswagen California plug-in hybrid revealed with Australian arrival likely for factory-built camper version of Ford Transit and Mercedes V-Class rival

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Volkswagen’s California is set up for sleeping.
Volkswagen’s California is set up for sleeping.

With a small amount of electric range to get you around town and a petrol motor to carry you into the wilderness, would you ever need more vehicle than the new ‘T7’ Volkswagen California camper plug-in hybrid?

If you need to venture far off-road, then possibly. Still, thanks to its MQB underpinnings, VW’s new camper van that was just revealed in Europe has the option of an all-wheel drive plug-in hybrid powertrain for the first time. 

There are now sliding doors on both sides, adopted from the Mercedes-Benz V-Class and Ford Transit Custom-rivalling long wheelbase Multivan, which aid practicality and ventilation.

A Volkswagen Australia spokesperson told CarsGuide that the new California is coming to Australia, with engine/spec range and timings yet to be confirmed. 

The T6.1 California is available in Beach trim in Australia and that is likely to continue in the next generation. The 2.0-litre diesel AWD configuration may change, however. 

Inside, the Camper gets a pair of individual front seats that can swivel through 180-degrees. The redesigned cabin has dual screens and a shift-by-wire system that means walking through to the rear compartment is easier than before. 

Sliding doors on both sides for T7 California.
Sliding doors on both sides for T7 California.

A pop-up roof and redeveloped mattress is standard fitment, while an optional awning can help shield from rain or sun. Volkswagen touts a ‘large number’ of USB-C fast-charge ports within. 

At 5173mm long the new van is 269mm longer than before and 37mm wider for enhanced interior space. An identical 1990mm height to its predecessor means the California is still city-friendly.

In Europe, the California is offered with a 110kW turbo diesel or 150kW turbo-petrol, both powering the front wheels through and eight-speed automatic transmission. 

The T7 California's redesigned cockpit.
The T7 California's redesigned cockpit.
The new plug-in hybrid option ups outputs to 180kW with braked towing capacity of 2000kg. Volkswagen has not confirmed how much electric-only driving range the plug-in hybrid California will offer. 

The Multivan PHEV's set-up produces 160kW and, allied with a 13kWh battery, can travel about 50km on electric power. Being heavier, we’d anticipate around 40km from the California if it uses the same battery. 

The California Beach is a good basic set-up but overseas markets get more fully-featured configurations. The Beach Tour scores a 40Ah auxiliary battery, extra fold-out mattress and folding table, while the four-seat Beach Camper is fitted with a gas cooker as part of a kitchenette and an extra battery. 

The pop-up roof is a California staple.
The pop-up roof is a California staple.

Volkswagen’s flagship California Ocean, meanwhile, is outfitted with heated seats, 28-litre fresh water tank, extra three-pin socket for an electric cooker and ‘Melánge Raven’ coloured recycled upholstery. 

Not sacrificing its signature two-tone look, the ‘Bulli’ is available in Mono Silver/Energetic Orange metallic, Deep Black Pearl/Fontana Red metallic Candy White solid/Starlight Blue metallic.

The pop up bellows are also customisable with Toffee Brown, Glacier Blue and Basalt Grey offered.

Australian pricing, features and specification for the new Volkswagen California camper are yet to be confirmed. 

John Law
Deputy News Editor
Born in Sydney’s Inner West, John wasn’t treated to the usual suite of Aussie-built family cars growing up, with his parents choosing quirky (often chevroned) French motors that shaped his love of cars. The call of motoring journalism was too strong to deny and in 2019 John kickstarted his career at Chasing Cars. A move to WhichCar and Wheels magazine exposed him to a different side of the industry and the glossy pages of physical magazines. John is back on the digital side of things at CarsGuide, where he’s taken up a role as Deputy News Editor spinning yarns about the latest happenings in the automotive industry. When he isn’t working, John can be found tooling around in either his 2002 Renault Clio Sport 172 or 1983 Alfasud Gold Cloverleaf.  
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