Inside The Awesome New VW Camper “California”


Hey, everybody. It’s me, Jason Torchinsky, and I’ve just spend the night in this. Volkswagen’s new California Edition T6. Like any good camper, half the fun of what makes this thing so great is how everything folds into everything else and things turn into other things. The use of space, and as a space utilization fetishist, it’s one of my favorite things about any car, and this thing does everything really, really well. So we’re gonna go take a tour and look in every panel, every cranny, everything that folds out into something else and set this up from a road-going, relatively small van into an entire campsite while you watch. We’ll just open the doors, and look: pretty conventional microvan layout or minivan layout, but there’s a few differences. For one thing, the seat has an ability to be swapped around. So we’re gonna rotate the seat back up as far as it’ll go and when you grab this little handle— there we go—and we could spin this all the way around. Now we’ll open the main part of the van, and you can see— everything, it looks pretty great. Volkswagen did a really good job on their materials and the decor of this thing. This stuff that looks like wood is actually some sort of aluminum stuff, they were saying. And even the top, you’ll remember the old Westfalia campers used to have a thick fiberglass top— Westfalia’s out of the picture. I don’t know what they’re doing now, maybe they’re going back to ham production. So let’s go inside and see how this works, and I’m gonna take off my shoes because my mother didn’t raise an animal. Come on in. Even though I’m miserably short, I’m still too tall to stand up in here. But there’s a solution, ’cause this is a pop-top. So I’m gonna show you how that works. Now if you’ve ever been in an old VW camper, you remember the top was always a manual thing. You’d always crawl up and shove things to make it work. VW has now decided that this should be automated, so there’s a little combination instrument here, and we go to the pop-up roof setting. You hit the button, and go to open. We hold it down, and you hear motors whirring, and it gradually but satisfyingly opens up the roof. There we go! And then you get a little checkmark so you know it’s open, and the roof is open, and when the roof is open, you can slide back this panel. This is just a little thingy where you can hold stuff, and then we can push the panel here, which is the bed mattress, and just shove it up. And now we can stand. Once the roof’s up, you can use this as like your little living area, and it does a really nice job. So let’s look at what’s in this panel, which is the kitchen unit, the galley that they have here. So you’ve got a sink over on this side. And when you lift up the handle, you can hear the water pump running. Our water tank is apparently empty, but it’s a whole little sink. You got your little drain going into a gray water tank. That’s a decent-sized little sink there. You got a oven, a gas oven. There’s a propane tank under there, so you can cook all your whateverables. Food, I guess they call it. And then over here is a fridge with our fancy sausages and cheeses-es. There’s little LED lights everywhere, and they use a bright kitchen light here. There’s window shades almost everywhere in this thing. And there’s storage under here. Nissan service manuals, whatever, pantry. There’s a whole drawer for cutlery, silverware. And then there’s a panel over here. More storage. Pretty good amount of storage, really. And then there’s also this, which folds out to a table. There’s a lever you move with your hand right there, and the table slides out. So sometimes you have to move the paper towel rack. So the table slides out and the table lifts up, and then there’s a leg under the table here. So you pull that out and then there’s a release here and the leg comes out. And you’ve got a table. This is a very usable little living area, as it is right now. I kinda love it. All right, so let’s see what else is there. So you’re done eating, let’s say. Or working on your manifesto. And table folds back down. You got room to play, you know, Twister or wrestle, whatever you wanna do in here on the floor, which I’ve already gotten a little bit dirty. But we took—and there is a carpet that normally goes here but we removed it and actually, I much prefer it with this floor, ’cause it looks better and it’s easier to sweep out. So now let’s say we want to turn this rear bench into a bed. So first thing we do is I’ll flip down the cliché blanket. I’ll move the pillow out of the way. Oh, and I should show you, there’s also storage under here. Nice big drawer under here. There’s these things go over the front side windows. They’re magnetic so you can cover that up and I’ll show you how to use all the shades. There’s another little drawer here for long objects. But it’s actually a good amount of storage under there. Now this handle make this slide forward. There we go. So you slide it all the way forward. Got a little heavy right there. All right, and then gotta drop the headrests down. And now pull this handle, and drop this down. There’s a mattress that goes here. Pull that out, and boom! Look at this. Look at this bed. All the lounge-ability. There’s still, there’s a whole closet right here. And there’s even a little rack for hanging your suits for when you go on your high-powered business meetings. But it actually—that’s a pretty good area. I could probably, could I fit in that area? I think I could. You don’t think I could fit? Andrew doesn’t think I can fit. So I’m gonna give a quick try if I can fit in this area. Let’s see, Andrew. Uh, Andrew. –Oh my god. I think I could just about fit in the closet. Oh, and there’s a mirror to make sure you look great when you’re coming out of the closet. There we go. Ah. All right, so that’s pretty cool. Underneath the mattress part is a fair amount of storage. There’s still cabinets and stuff over here where you can put things on these shelves. And there’s plenty of storage in this thing. Let’s take a look at how you get to the upstairs bunk. When you’re sleeping upstairs, all you have to do is you grab the mattress panel/roof. It drops down, and then you basically just climb on up through here. And you’ve got a pretty good sleeping area up here. It’s definitely wide enough for two people. There’s lighting. So there are these switches here, and you have these LED lights that you can actually increase the brightness of. There’s two of them, one for each side. So you can get a pretty good amount of lighting, and there’s a light down there at the foot. There’s a 12-volt socket so you can plug things in. One thing this needs more of is USB plugs ’cause there’s a few 12-volt sockets and a couple USB plugs up front, but they really should be everywhere. And then you also have window screens so you don’t, you know, fart yourself to death up here in the upper deck. And it’s beautiful. You get some nice cross breeze. In the summer, this would be amazing. And even, OK, so it’s fairly cold out now, but this thing has a built-in heater. It’s got two auxiliary batteries so you can run the heat all night. And we had it up to—we had at around its halfway setting, and it was totally fine. Even up here, even with just fabric sides on these walls, I was not that cold. My shoes, OK. Kinda neat little details. So there’s a little light here that turns on. But you could also pop it out, and now it’s a little flashlight. So when you’re camping, privacy is a big deal ’cause you’re gonna be doing a lot of really depraved things inside your vehicle that you don’t necessarily want everyone knowing about. So window shades are a big deal, and there’s window shades all over this thing. But I especially like how they handle the ones for the front windows. So you flip down these little guys here, and then you just reach over here. And there’s a socket at the bottom here and one at the top, and then you can do the same for the other side. It goes into the little socket there. Put this down. Put it right here. Move the mirror out of the way, there we go. And boom, total privacy for your depravity. And then for the side windows, they have in the drawer under the seat, this magnetic window shade. So you basically just set it up against the window and let the magnets grab to cover your window. Look at that. Look at that privacy. Oh, the depraved things we could be doing. There’s other fun little surprises here. And if we wanna do this right, we’re going to take the area around the bus and turn it into a campsite as well. All right, so now we’re gonna continue our conquest of nature by extending this awning. There’s this crank. This crank goes into this socket. Just gonna crank it out. So the legs, it’s a little tricky because there’s this finishing panel here, and it lifts up, and then the legs are under here. There’s these little latches for the legs. And you just basically push in on that part, flip out the foot, and then legs drop. All right. Now we keep cranking. Now we were told by the German fellow who’d been living in one of these for 5 weeks that a real expert camper leaves one side lower than the other for rain runoff and that’s how you know you look like a pro, so we’ll be sure to do that. And you lock it into position. These legs lock with this, and again, we were told, leave one side a little shorter. So I’m gonna make this one a little higher than the other side. You flip it all the way up. Awnings are great, but what’s the fun of an awning if you don’t have furniture to put under it— so check this out. This panel inside the door, which looks basically just like any door finishing panel here, is actually, if you lift this, a table! We got our table. We’ll set it down there. And what’s the point of a table without chairs? So up here, built in to the door itself, is this pack. And if you unzip this pack, you’ve got chairs. Look at that. Put it down. This is fantastic. I love this kind of crap. So another thing we found, this is something I’m actually quite excited about because I was looking at these other buses with their tailgates open and thinking, this would be kind of a perfect place for like an outdoor shower, but I thought, “Damn, Volkswagen didn’t provide an outdoor shower.” But I was wrong, so very wrong, because, come here, look. So inside this rear closet is a panel at the bottom. No one showed us this. I don’t know why. Why are they keeping it a secret? Inside the panel is a little shower hose unit. And this shower hose unit plugs right in down here to a little nozzle that you plug in and it goes in like that, and then there’s a switch here, and if you listen, you can hear the water pump. Now our water tank isn’t full, but this basically does function as an outdoor shower. And if you kind of use this little scrab strap, you could totally outdoor shower here. Or at least get wetter than you are and the filth halfway off you. But it’s still pretty damn good. You could, you know, wash dishes or whatever out here. This is great. I don’t know why they didn’t show us. Volkswagen did a pretty damn good job on this. They’ve been making campers like this for decades, so it kind of makes sense that they go through and figure out all the little problems. And I’m pretty impressed actually. Especially the fact that you can get things like chairs and tables out without having to unpack anything. The way everything folds into something else. It’s pretty damn nice. Too bad you won’t be able to buy one in America. Oh, well.

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