Volkswagen T5 California Camper Guide

Volkswagen T5 California Camper Van

Most Camper van enthusiasts will tell you that Volkswagen is the master of camper van technology and that for years paired with Westfalia carried the camper van scene.

However, it wasn't until the new T5 California did Volkswagen make their very own factory fitted camper van and the outcome was of stunning excellence, and it is easy to see why. The Volkswagen T5 California is factory-built with a first-class pedigree. It's remarkably well designed and constructed, highly specified and demonstrates excellent engine performance.

The good news for UK camper van enthusiasts who are seeking RHD is that Volkswagen has recently reviewed its UK distribution. Having already tested the LHD Volkswagen T5 California camper van and been suitably impressed by it, Rob tested the new RHD version. He was just as impressed and immediately bought one for himself and the family.

New Volkswagen T5 California

Although the Volkswagen T5 California comes fully loaded with standard features and options you can still customise your new VW T5 California camper van with additional 'optional extras'. Based on the Volkswagen T5 Caravelle (rather than the Volkswagen T5 Transporter) the base vehicle kit is excellent including front and rear anti-roll bars, ventilated front discs, anti-lock brakes and power steering. If you get the Volkswagen 4MOTION model, you get a rear differential lock as well.

If you are looking for high quality and specification, along with excellent design and innovation, then the Volkswagen T5 California camper van fits the bill superbly. Furthermore, the Volkswagen T5 California camper van was the first vehicle of its type that could be bought in the UK that came with an official European Whole Vehicle Type Approval.


  • Bed measures 120 x 200cm.
  • Above the lower bed there is an overhead storage box.
  • Two front swivel seats with rear bench creates 4 person lounge. Optional fifth seat (folds away and can slide forwards and backwards and is removable).
  • Mosquito nets in the sides of the canvas ensure good ventilation.
  • No curtains but pull down blinds - provides full blackout. Also - blackout for windscreen and cab doors. Storage drawer under the rear bench is removable and provides for extra storage space.
  • For cooking there is a two burner hob, sink with a drawer and cutlery tray underneath, as well as a handy coolbox. Loads of storage for pans, dishes, plates etc. Movable/folding worktop as standard, which is also designed to be used as a table. Fresh water and waste tanks are protected against frost. Each has a capacity of 30 litres.
  • Fluorescent light and five halogen spotlights with individual switches.
  • Pair of foldaway chairs can be stored in the tailgate when not being used outdoors.
  • Outdoor table (when not in use) becomes part of the sliding door inner panel. Food is chilled in a Waeco 42 litre coolbox compression unit.
  • Kitchen unit houses 12V and 230V sockets.
  • 2.8kg gas cylinder.

Features & Options

  • Air conditioning.
  • Electric windows.
  • Electric heated folding door mirrors.
  • A Decent radio/cassette player with 8 speakers (dealer fitted CD/radio option).
  • Leather covered steering wheel, handbrake grip and manual gear knob.
  • Steering column is height and rake adjustable.
  • Lockable glove compartment.
  • Mobile phone holder.
  • Two cup holders.
  • Heated front seats.
  • Heated washer jets and many other features including external temperature display.
  • Extras include Sat Nav and Cruise Control.
  • Electro-hydraulic roof can be raised or lowered at the touch of a button.
  • Windows in rear are all double glazed other than the sliding door window.
  • There is a remote controlled parking heater.
  • Doors are all remotely operated and centrally locked.
  • Inertia reel seat belt and ISOFIX anchorage points (not available on 4MOTION California).

Engine & Performance

  • 2.5 litre five cylinder diesel engine with power output 130PS. Will do 0-62 in 16.3 seconds, top speed 103 mph. Fuel consumption is 25.2mpg Urban, 33.2mpg Combined and 40.4 mpg Extra Urban.
  • 2.5 litre five cylinder diesel engine with power output 174PS. Will do 0-62 in 13 seconds, top speed 115 mph. Fuel consumption is lower in all categories than 130PS version.
  • The 4MOTION (4x4) comes only with the 174PS engine and does not come with TCS (Traction Control System). Instead it has EDL (Electronic Differential Lock). 0-62 in 13.3 seconds and top speed 112 mph.
  • An automatic six-speed Triptonic gearbox is available, however it is not available on the 4MOTION California.

Maintenance & Warranty

  • 3 year/60,000 mile warranty.
  • LongLife service regime whereby there are no set service intervals. Instead the timing of service depends upon how you drive and conditions of use. It can be anywhere between 9,000 and 18,000 miles or 24 months (whichever comes first). Service Interval Display on instrument panel lets you know when service is due.
  • The engines have built in sensors that continually monitor the oil quality so the engine rather than the service tells you when a service is due.
We were very glad to have bought the vehicle from VW Campersales as it meant we did not have to go through the lottery of a dealership sales pitch.
T5 California SE 2.5 4Motion |