I feel like every time Volkswagen invites us to experience the latest version of their small camper, the most recent version of which is known officially as the Volkswagen T6.1 California, there’s a certain element of cruelty involved. That’s because this very clever and appealing vehicle isn’t available in the United States, despite the location they named the damn thing after and where they hold events to show it off. Then, we here at Jalopnik pass the cruelty on to our American readers with articles and videos like this. So let me show you all the stuff you’re missing, and made the circle of cruelty complete.
Back in 2018 our own Andrew Collins and I spent a couple of days soul-bonding in one of these in California, where we showed you a tour of all the clever nooks and folding things and compartments that these little wheeled apartments have to offer.
That was the T6 version. The T6.1 version, as the name implies, isn’t a major update, but there are some important changes and improvements made, perhaps most notably via the addition of a comprehensive touchscreen-based control system for the camper functions that was added.
There’s a few subtle styling changes as well; the headlight and grille design is different, giving the front end a bit of a more refined look; there’s also a new little bit of trim that proudly announces the camper’s name and prime market it’s not going to be sold in:
David Tracy and I spent twenty four straight hours in this thing, and came away with van madness, a desperate need to evacuate bowels, and a continued respect for this machine.
There’s really nothing else like it from any major carmaker: a genuinely viable and usable camper that can be driven pretty much like a regular everyday car if so desired.
While it would not be cheap if brought to America—think between $65,000 and $85,000 for one—I still believe there’s a significant market for people who would love and use the hell out of something like this. It’s clever in a way that only a company that has been selling small campers for decades can be.
I can’t help but think the world could be a better place if these were the default family vehicle instead of luxury SUVs. Is there more luxury than having a stove, fridge, extendable roof, and a bed? A portable room, complete with table, wherever you want it?
Beat that with your stupid LX570 or Escalades or whatever.