In the Spotlight - VW California Ocean 204 DSG {{favouriteCount}} Quantity of Likes

31 Aug 2017

In the world of VW Transporter based campers there are two types offered - the Volkswagen California and those manufactured by specialist companies. Basically for years VW sat idly by as large numbers of companies throughout Europe convert Transporters into campers, so they finally decided to do it themselves.

Now we have the T6, the latest-generation Volkswagen Transporter, on which the VW California Ocean is based. It may not look that different from the T5 that it’s replaced, but it’s meant a choice of cleaner, more fuel-efficient Euro 6 engines, all manner of safety enhancements and more. In fact, Volkswagen lists 6000 changes to the T6 over the T5. Some of the most significant in terms of safety include a Driver Alert System, Brake Assist, an Automotive Post-Collision Braking System and so on.

In short, it’s the best VW Transporter to date: it’s more powerful, more economical, quieter, better equipped, sturdier and safer. Yes, it’s more expensive. But the overall dimensions remain exactly the same as those of the T5 and its still a great looking thing.

We are featuring the higher-trim California Ocean this week, in absolute top-spec 204bhp diesel, 4MOTION DSG guise – the crème de la crème if you will. It gets decent performance from that powerful diesel, but still manages to get over 40mpg which is all you can really want from a camper as complex as this.

Inside, the furniture and mouldings are great quality as you’d expect of VW. Volkswagen also retains the premium dashboard for its own product. Integral blinds for the side and rear windows, all-LED rear lights, twin chrome strips on the front grille and other details are reminders that the Ocean is a cut above the rest of the fleet. It is by no means perfect, though. Practicality may not always have been at the forefront of its designers’ thoughts. The gas cylinder surrounded by the fresh water tank isn’t liked by everyone. And while overall storage is decent, it lacks the imaginative ideas that other converters can offer. The Ocean can accommodate four people to sleep, with two going in the raised roof and two on the fold-down rear seats that form a double bed. The versatility of the California is staggering, with the ability to carry four in comfort on a journey, as well as allowing them to sleep, then make their breakfast.

There’s a powered sliding side door, and the rear hatch allows access to the storage areas behind the seats. The driver and passenger seats rotate as well, allowing all four to face each other when you pull out the extending table and sit down for some lunch. The built-in cooker is efficient (read: a bit small) but does the job well enough and the same can be said of the top-access fridge. There’s plenty of storage but if there’s four of you travelling you might want to pack light.

The standard equipment includes lots of clever features too, for example, the electrically operated aluminium elevating roof, an outdoor table that is stowed in the sliding door, folding lounge chairs in the tailgate and a programmable diesel heating system which means the Ocean is always toasty warm no matter what the outside climate.

Our top-spec California may be over £60,000 on the road, but thankfully you don’t need to spend that with BOTB and you can get a ticket to win one for just £3.75 right here