Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is set to kick-start the summer holiday season with the official unveiling of the new California. Based on the recently revealed Transporter T6, the new California remains the only factory-built camper van on the market, and offers a host of improvements and new features for buyers who want the ultimate home from home.

The new California is the fourth model to bear the name, and builds on the strengths of its highly successful predecessors. The range incorporates all the key features introduced on the new Transporter T6, including new, more efficient engines that are up to 15 per cent more economical than the outgoing units. The new California also features a range of advanced technologies designed to make life safer and even more enjoyable for occupants. These include driver assistance systems, a completely refreshed infotainment system and the availability of adaptive suspension.

The launch engine range includes both diesel and petrol options, along with DSG and 4MOTION four-wheel-drive derivatives. Power outputs for UK models range from 102 PS for the entry-level 2.0-litre TDI engine (Beach models only) up to 204 PS for the 2.0-litre TSI petrol unit (Ocean models only).

Naturally, the new California retains the legendary practicality and storage ingenuity of its predecessor. Available in two forms; Beach and Ocean (which replaces the current SE model), the California can sleep four occupants courtesy of its acclaimed pop-up roof (electro-hydraulic on Ocean models) that neatly integrates a 1.2m x 2m double bed. Ocean models also feature a fully-equipped kitchen, complete with 42-litre refrigerator, twin-burner hob and stainless steel sink unit. Ocean models also gain a dimmable LED lighting system for the pop-up roof and tailgate and a clever multi-functional holder for the rear compartment that incorporates a cup, ashtray and towel holder all in one.

Driver and passenger safety is another area where the new California excels. Among the many advanced features introduced on the fourth-generation models are a Driver Alert System, Brake Assist and an Automatic Post-Collision Braking System. The former is fitted as standard on all models and can detect any deviation from normal steering patterns. If deviation is detected, the system uses visual and acoustic warnings to recommend that the driver takes a break. Brake Assist adds another layer of security by registering the speed at which the brake pedal is pressed. During emergency braking, it ensures full brake pressure is applied more quickly. Finally, Volkswagen’s acclaimed Automatic Post-Collision Braking System triggers braking after a collision, with the aim of preventing secondary collisions. After a short delay, the vehicle begins a phased braking action down to 6mph, during which the driver can take control at any time.

UK prices and final specifications for the new California range will be announced shortly.