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VW T6 California Coast driving report

Achim Hartmann
VW T6 California Coast driving report
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L Are you going on a first tour in the new VW California? Of course. After all, this camper stands for freedom and adventure like no other. And they say yes, the first night is always unforgettable. Do you remember back then, I can say to myself one day, with the California right next to this mountain river, the murmur of which soothingly penetrated the roof tent. And how excellently the 204 hp T6 drove through this unique landscape between water and mountains. Do you remember back then, in that super hot summer 2015, when you flew to Norway for the first tour in the new California.

The first contact: The California is of course in a parking garage. VW wants to demonstrate that it can do that too and that it remains below two meters in height. I choose the Coast, the new model, a good 7300 euros cheaper than the Ocean; with the same but lighter decorated row of cabinets and manual folding roof. There is no double glazing, the auxiliary heating is only optional.

The seats are a boon after the nasty bunk beds in the plane, but as with the predecessor, the height adjustment cannot be combined with rotating consoles. And the seat rails still don't turn, which makes turning it so fiddly.

The new VW T6 California bounces and drives so well

But now we're off on tour. We circled the California out of the garage with the handy leather steering wheel. This 204 PS TDI runs incredibly quietly, twice as powerful as the basic Coast and around 7,330 euros more expensive. He loosens up smoothly and with commitment. In conjunction with the nimble DSG dual clutch transmission, the modern biturbo has an even more elastic effect. The challenges for the chassis - a weak point on the T5 - are a long time coming because of the good roads. Then it turns out that it takes a lot of waves to upset the T6 with the new DCC chassis control. The California springs and drives so well that it is actually too good to be true. For a valid statement you have to wait for the first production cars.

The fact is already: the new one is not cheap. But even a basic price of 50,450 euros for the Coast does nothing to change the popular image. Probably because a new VW bus always looks a bit like an old friend. Especially the T6, whose only subtly renewed front even subtly cites T3 and T2. Compared to the big leaps that Ford Transit Custom andMercedes V-Class, little has changed with the new VW T.

Better interior lighting thanks to LEDs

Even in California, the innovations are not immediately obvious. The better lighting is great. There are also a total of five dimmable LED lamps; including one in the back of the roof bed. The roller blinds on the front and rear windows are easier to operate. Thanks to higher recessed grips, the sliding doors in the kitchen can be opened a little easier, even if the bench has been converted into a bed.

The pop-up roof is the same; likewise the die-cast aluminum part, which acts as a spoiler and is glued to the roof. Previous problems with contact corrosion seem to be under control. The tent bellows, which are made of polyester, are more durable and dry faster. We would have liked a fly screen for the sliding door as a defense against the mosquitoes of this world.

The California has to do it again at the end. The last part before the camp is extremely rough gravel and quite steep. While the 4Motion crawls up casually - the Haldex coupling is supposed to ensure frictional connection with the rear axle even faster - we only tackle the front-wheel drive at the second attempt. ASR-regulated, the T6 extends over the top. At the destination.

It is getting dark late in the north, but at some point it will be time. I am very happy that I have the 1.20 meter wide roof bed to myself. The river mumbles me to sleep. You don't get that close to freedom with many cars. The California remains a great promise


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