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August 17, 2015

Can the new VW California campervans outcharm the loaf?

The new Generation of VW campervans

vw-californiaVolkswagen has just introduced its new generation line of campervans, the VW California or Transporter T6. Now, as we may all know, nothing in the world of campervans was ever as popular as the VW Kombi, more affectionately known as the Breadloaf, or Loaf for short. What the name betrayed was it”s form factor, which was to become not only iconic of surfers and free spirits, but also a paradigm in the campervan world.

The VW Kombi was as frugal as it gets: no steering aids, tough as nails to drive, and an engine sound that sounded like the 7 dwarves were trying to hammer away their escape. But with its roomy interior, affordable price and durability, it quickly became the choice of youngsters looking for a Summer of freedom, and it was only a small step from there to becoming a pop icon, adorning dozens of album covers, many unremarkable, but others certainly more important, as the works of The Beach Boys, The Flower Kings, Bob Dylan, and even Yusuf Islam, aka Cat Stevens. It was truly the queen of campervans.

Even today, the breadloaf remains highly popular for businesses, collectors an travellers. For Volkswagen, living up to that mystique can”t be easy, but with their new jab into the world of campervans, they may have something up their sleeve.

Enter the new VW California

vw-california-4The VW California bases itself on the new Transporter T6 and replaces the charm and atmosphere of its older sibling with some interesting points. Knowing well where its genes come from, the current VW California is the sixth generation since the introduction of the line back in 1950, and remains the only factory-built campervan in the world.

We are talking about very interesting if compact living arrangements, allowing for a family of four to sleep in thanks to the now classic roof bed with an hydraulic pop-up ceiling, adding to the mandatory twin berth. The interiors are all very well arranged and make for a very comfortable home away from home, that includes a stove, a fridge, and LED lighting for a pleasing ambiance. Dimmable LED lighting, we should note!

Of course, in terms of safety the new Transporter T6 is light-years ahead of the breadloaf, with several driver-assist featured, that include a Driver Alert System that notifies the driver if it notices strange driving patterns that could indicate the drive is getting tired or might be a tad tipsy. There”s also Post-Collision Braking to prevent secondary collisions and the regular Brake Assist, allowing for full break pressure in an emergency. You”ll also find Adaptive Cruise Control and front controlled headlight management, plus you can adjust your suspension to three driving modes: comfort, normal and sport. There even a 6.3 inch touchscreen infotainment system, to help you cruise through your summer more comfortably.

vw-california-6In terms of engine, this new generation of campervans comes with a two-litre, 102 bhp turbo direct-injection diesel engine for the Beach Model and a two-liter, 204 bhp turbocharged stratified injection petrol engine for the Ocean Model, which make for rather discrete characteristics, but certainly more than enough.

With all this at hand, the T6 has the aesthetics of a slightly revised T5, which may put some people down, after several tentative designs that resurrected the Kombi”s style. So the utilitarian look is still the rule, and it”s not yet that we get a daring classic, but even so, VW has come up with a very interesting proposal in the Generation SIX special edition with two-tone paint job, 18 inch retro style allow wheels, chrome package, tinted windows and fog lights with cornering lights. The interiors here are even more scrumptious, with contrast stitching on the steering wheel and gear shift leather, two-tone Alcantara seats and fabric floor mats, plus a host of tech goodies.

So, is the new Transporter T6, aka VW California, the new queen of campervans? Not quite yet, if measured by breadloaf standards, but we”re beginning to wonder if classics like the old camper could ever find a parallel in this new world. While lacking the style and mystique of the T1 and T2, the T6 is certainly a very interesting offer in the world of campervans.

Other campervans are on the market to make 2015 a very interesting year to anyone looking to buy or rent one for a slap of asphalt freedom.

Com formação em Produção Animal e em Topografia, Márcio Marques procurou sempre que as suas ocupações profissionais estivessem relacionadas com alguns dos seus hobbies e gostos pessoais. Assim, em 2011, aliando o seu desporto de eleição - o surf - ao prazer pelo contato com o mar e a natureza, criou a Wild Side Campers - aluguer de autocaravanas e equipamento recreativo. Esta combinação perfeita vem possibilitar a quem, como ele, ambiciona percorrer o território livremente, unir a viagem à prática de desporto. Em 2013, Márcio Marques, definiu uma nova etapa para a Wild Side Campers e, assim, além do aluguer de viaturas, passou a disponibilizar a transformação de veículos pessoais em autocaravanas. Quando não está em funções, gosta de estar com a família e os amigos, praticar desporto, andar de mota e viajar.

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