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This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Volkswagen California review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

The Caravelle, on which the California is based, was awarded four stars out of five for adult occupant protection in official Euro NCAP crash tests, which is a reasonable score. Anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control are standard while front, side and curtain airbags are also fitted. The passenger airbag can be deactivated, should a rearward-facing child seat be carried in the front plus a warning triangle and first aid kit are included.

This isn't a typical vehicle for the weekly run to the shops and it is only a four-seater. However, it is likely that the California will be a second vehicle for most owners, with something more suitable for everyday journeys. There are plenty of storage compartments for all the paraphernalia associated with going camping plus a large drawer under the rear bench and cupboards under the stove/sink unit.

There is even storage to hang clothes and several other clever cubbies. The tailgate even conceals a couple of folding chairs while a roll-out awning is optional. The California has a 30-litre tank for fresh water as well as a storage tank for waste water. Anyone needing a toilet will have to use whatever facilities that may be available at the chosen campsite, but perhaps that's just as well.

Basic equipment

The basic equipment list includes equipment that is standard across all versions of the Volkswagen California (05-15).

  • ABS
  • Air conditioning
  • Alarm
  • Alloy wheels
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • CD
  • Cloth seat trim
  • Driver`s airbag
  • Electric mirrors
  • Front electric windows
  • Heated mirrors
  • Lumbar support
  • PAS
  • Passenger`s airbag
  • Traction control

Equipment by trim level

To view equipment options for a specific trim level, please select from the following list:

Equipment included on some trim levels
  • Central locking
  • Climate control
  • Cruise control
  • Folding rear seats
  • Front fog lights
  • Full size spare wheel
  • Heated seats
  • Metallic Paint
  • Remote locking
  • Service indicator
  • Side airbags
  • Steering wheel rake adjustment
  • Steering wheel reach adjustment

Beach equipment

Beach standard equipment
  • Climate control
  • Cruise control
  • Full size spare wheel
  • Service indicator
Beach optional equipment
  • Central locking
  • Remote locking
  • Side airbags
  • Steering wheel rake adjustment
  • Steering wheel reach adjustment

Berghaus equipment

Berghaus standard equipment
  • Folding rear seats
  • Front fog lights
  • Heated seats
  • Metallic Paint
  • Remote locking
  • Service indicator
  • Side airbags
  • Steering wheel rake adjustment
  • Steering wheel reach adjustment
Berghaus optional equipment
  • Climate control
  • Cruise control
  • Full size spare wheel

SE equipment

SE standard equipment
  • Folding rear seats
  • Front fog lights
  • Full size spare wheel
  • Heated seats
  • Remote locking
  • Side airbags
  • Steering wheel rake adjustment
  • Steering wheel reach adjustment
SE optional equipment
  • Climate control
  • Cruise control
  • Service indicator

Euro NCAP Rating

The Volkswagen California (05-15) was tested by Euro NCAP in and received the following safety ratings:

  • Adult Occupant - 4 stars
  • Child Occupant - 4 stars
  • Pedestrian - 1 stars

Euro NCAP provides motoring consumers with a realistic and independent assessment of the safety performance of some of the most popular cars sold in Europe. The safety ratings are determined from a series of vehicle tests, designed and carried out by Euro NCAP. These tests represent, in a simplified way, important real life accident scenarios that could result in injured or killed car occupants or other road users.