Most of my impressions of America in the 1960s came from “Forrest Gump”. The United States is full of black movements, the Vietnam War, and parades. At the same time, flared pants, psychedelic rock, and Volkswagen T2 have also become the most representative labels of this era. Yes, those passionate young people are now those old people.
To be precise, Volkswagen played a very important labeling role in the post-war American hippie culture, and this role has even begun to affect post-war baby boomers since the T1 era. Of course, purely from the perspective of the vehicle itself, the Volkswagen T series was indeed a reasonable choice for the United States at that time. Although the shape is weird, the spacious interior allows this car to easily meet the needs of Americans for long-distance travel and weekend vacations under the rapid economic development. Of course, it also includes the needs of sexual liberation.
Therefore, when talking about the Volkswagen T series, the old Americans are still a little emotional. So much so that the campervans of the Volkswagen T series now use the name of California. Perhaps, California’s Sunshine Coast will be more suitable for the positioning of campers. To a large extent, the California car series of the Volkswagen T series is also the model that can best restore the usage scenes of the Volkswagen T1 and Volkswagen T2 in the 1960s.
The car name of Volkswagen California debuted in 1988. It originated from Westfalia Werke, a former car modification company of Volkswagen. Its most famous product is the Pop-Top model launched based on Volkswagen T2 in the last century. After DaimlerChrysler acquired Westfalia Werke in 2001, Volkswagen officially decided to develop the Volkswagen California series of campers themselves. The first model independently developed by Volkswagen is the T5 California based on the Volkswagen T5. With the release of the sixth-generation Volkswagen T6, the California car series also ushered in the sixth-generation product. Yes, this is the one to test drive next.
Let’s first take a look at what kind of configuration this car has.
As a camper, the most typical feature of the California series is the design of the movable roof. Naturally, on this T6 California, the movable roof must be retained. With the movable roof closed, there seems to be no big difference between this T6 California and a normal version of the T6, except that there will be an extra retractable sunshade in details, and the roof will be extra Just a gap.
However, after opening the movable roof, the metal hardtop will become a pop-up tent, thereby increasing the height of the car. An adult can be guaranteed to stand in the car. Of course, this pop-up tent can also be converted into a single bed. After a seat is arranged in the car, a sink, kitchen, refrigerator, and rear shower area are also added. Compared with traditional RVs, Volkswagen California campers are more suitable for short-distance camping rather than long-distance crossings. The rear seats and the equipment in the car can also be turned into a spacious double bed after being folded.
For a test drive of such a car, naturally it cannot be a casual experience. Therefore, this test drive lasted for three full days, including two nights of camping on the T6 California.
For such a campervan, the power and dynamic performance should not be the focus of attention, but driving on the interstate highway in the United States, I have to mention the power. After all, the abundant power still has some effect when dealing with such a high-grade and picturesque road. So, let’s have a chat.
The Volkswagen T6 California we tested is equipped with a 2.0L turbocharged engine with a maximum output of 201 horsepower and a maximum torque of 351 Nm. In terms of drive form, it also provides a 4Motion full-time four-wheel drive system. To be honest, for a model with camping needs, a four-wheel drive system is still very useful. After all, camping is about getting off the road.
As far as performance goes, the powertrain is more than adequate on the coast of Southern California, especially for a car that should be a pleasure to drive. Moreover, in the process, the eyes that will be attracted at any time are enough to make the mood brighter. As for the sharp manipulation, forget it.
After a few hours of cruising, we arrived at our first campsite – a steep hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean. After parking the VW T6 California in an open area, we also started camping. It doesn’t take too much physical strength from the driving state to the camping state, and the roof is also opened by pure electric power. So with the bonfire, the first day’s trip ended like this.
Early the next morning, our test drive trip entered the Los Angeles Padres National Forest Park, where the Volkswagen T6 California showed a truly surprising side. Although the weight of the whole vehicle is now close to 2.7 tons, it can still quickly complete some mountain road driving on mountain roads, and even provide a little bit of driving fun. In the sports mode, the throttle response of the 2.0L engine will become more sensitive. Moreover, the adaptive chassis control system listed as an option on this test drive car is also very flexible on mountain roads, and the steering is light and flexible. So it doesn’t look like a big car, but it looks like a Golf.
Then, the second day of camping also came after nightfall. As for the high speed and traffic jam on the third day, there is not much to talk about.
At this point, we can also make a small summary of the test drive of the Volkswagen T6 California. This is indeed an unforgettable camper. Compared with setting up a tent or sleeping directly in the car, this camper is indeed much better. Compared with large-sized luxury cars, its convenience is self-evident. Perfect for a road trip. The only question is, when will you be able to afford it?