California dreaming: Volkswagen bus updated with new tech

Volkswagen California update 2019

Volkswagen has updated its California camper for 2019. There’s a freshened face, living area upgrade, more safety tech and electric power steering.

Here’s what you need to know about the new bus.

Getting a grilling

On the outside, the new California gains Volkswagen’s corporate nose. There’s a large grille spanning the area between the angular headlights, plus a larger vent beneath.

Other than that, it’s business as usual. What matters most with a camper is what’s inside, after all.

Changing rooms

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New alloy handles on all cupboard doors join push-button opening for the sink, cooker and fridge. There are sliding doors in place of shutters for the rear cupboard and wood grain trim.

There are also new beds with a sprung base for better comfort. A ‘sunrise function’ uses individually selectable LEDs in the roof to slowly raise the brightness around wake-up time.

Digital revolution

Volkswagen California update 2019

This and many other functions can now be controlled by the new full-colour touchscreen instrument panel. Menu items include Camping, Cool Box, Light and Set-Up. 

The hydraulically deployable roof can be set on its way via the Pop-Up Roof menu, while there’s also a Level function, which acts as a spirit level for the bus. That should help when deciding where to park your California for a secure and comfortable night’s sleep.

The new overhead control panel joins upgraded infotainment, which comes with greater smartphone integration and connectivity – including the now-familiar VW Active Info Display as an option. Buyers can choose from 6.5-, 8- and 9.2-inch screens.

Turning electric

Volkswagen California update 2019

The new California switches from hydraulic to electric power steering. This allows for the integration of Lane Assist, Park Assist and Trailer Assist semi-autonomous driving functions.

The most innovative new feature is probably Cross Wind Assist, which helps stabilise the van when there are strong side winds.

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