2021 Volkswagen Caddy California revealed: price, specs and release date

Say hello to the newest member of Volkswagen’s campervan family – the Caddy California. With orders opening in May, it will be here just in time for summer...

Volkswagen Caddy California On the Road

Priced from: £29,965 (est) | On sale: late-May

With 2021 all-set to be the year of the 'staycation’, Volkswagen simply couldn’t have picked a better time to launch its all new campervan – the Volkswagen Caddy California. Based on the recently released fifth-generation Caddy van, it is now the smallest campervan VW makes, sitting below the larger California and Grand California

However, despite its diminutive proportions, Volkswagen insists that it’s big enough to sleep two adults in total comfort. The key to this is a new foldable bed design; stored in the parcel shelf, it opens out above the rear seats and stretches to nearly two metres in length (1980mm x 1070mm, to be precise). That’s a generous size for such a compact vehicle. And because the bed operates independently of the rear seats, Volkswagen has made the whole bench removable, giving you more room for your wellies and camping gear. Clever.

Caddy California Bed

This commitment to using every inch of the Caddy California’s interior continues with its ‘mini-kitchen’. Installed in the boot, it includes everything from a single-burner cooker with an integrated gas-bottle, to a storage area for utensils and food. Handily, those doing the cooking will also be at least partially protected from any adverse weather (it is the UK, after all) by the open tailgate, or they can add an optional annex tent that attaches around the tailgate for additional protection. 

This modular tent system can be further extended by adding a sleeping compartment, doubling the Caddy California’s sleeping capacity to four people. Volkswagen claims this is quick and easy to setup thanks to innovative inflatable ‘air poles’ (we’ll be putting these to the test), plus there's a foldable set of table and chairs for dining outside.

Caddy Calf interior

Other neat features include integrated fly screens for the driver and passenger front windows, dimmable LED spotlights over the bed, and storage bags that hang over the rear windows. Those sleeping in the van will also be able to gaze at the stars (if, of course, it’s not overcast) if they specify the optional 1.4 square metre panoramic glass roof. A magnetic curtain covers this if you want some extra privacy. 

Every Caddy California also comes with cruise control, power mirrors, air-conditioning, an alarm system and front seats that are height and lumbar adjustable, while infotainment is taken care of by an 8.25in touchscreen with App Connect, Bluetooth, a DAB radio and six speakers.

Caddy Calf Kitchen

If that’s not enough, there's also a £960 California Plus Pack for those wanting a few extra home comforts while camping, including a front centre armrest with holders for two drinks, a 230V inverter and three-pin UK domestic plug socket, dark tinted rear glass, two USB points, power latching on all doors to avoid waking your camping neighbours at night and LED rear combination lights.

In the UK, the Caddy California will come with a choice of either a 112bhp 1.5-litre TSI turbocharged petrol engine or a 120bhp 2.0-litre TDI turbocharged diesel. The petrol gets a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, while the diesel gets Volkswagen's slick seven-speed DSG automatic. We suspect the diesel with its extra low-down grunt will be the one to go for. 

Caddy Calf Rear

Volkswagen is offering the Caddy California as either a standard size short-wheelbase (SWB) model or as a longer Maxi: the Maxi is 353mm longer than the regular version. Prices for the Caddy California start from £29,965 for the entry-level SWB petrol, with the range-topping diesel priced from £36,019.

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