New VW Camper Vans

Learn the difference between original and new VW Camper Vans, plus, VW Camper Vans for sale

Murray Scullion
Apr 26, 2019

As a mode of transport, the VW Camper is as well-known and iconic as the Mini or the Ford Model T.

Although, like the Mini, there have been numerous different generations and types. VW Camper is actually a colloquial term for the Volkswagen Transporter, a van that’s been in production in some form or another since 1950.

The most iconic of these, and the one you think of when people use the term VW Camper, is the T2. This is the oldest one, and is so collectible that serious classic car enthusiasts are willing to pay six-figures for one. Seriously.

Older Volkswagen vans which still have the right look and feel can still be bought for relatively cheaply, and as an aside, Volkswagen’s factory in Brazil still pumped out the T2 until 2013. So in the UK you can still buy an imported original (ish) T2, which is only six years old. Their value and scarceness makes them kind of useless as a mode of camping, though. You hardly want to spend that kind of dosh on something, and then sleep in it and ruin its value.

And while the old vans are iconic, they’re not exactly practical. It may have cut the mustard in the Fifties, but today they're as old hat as dial-up internet. They’re epically slow too.

Luckilly, the Volkswagen Transporter has moved on since the T2 days - precisely, it’s moved on around four numbers. The latest version, first made in 2015, is the T6. It’s available in many different iterations, including long and short wheelbases.

As a camper, there’s only one full-on ready to sleep in version, named the California, but there are a few different variations if you’re willing to get your hands dirty and modify it. Or pay someone else to.

VW Camper Vans

Best VW Camper Van for sleeping

Volkswagen California

Latest VW California deals from £40,000
Finance from £613 per month

The California is the only out-and-out camper that’s spawned from the current generation Transporter as an official Volkswagen product.

And while £47,000 may seem like a lot of money for a van with windows, it's worth bearing in mind that nearly new version start from £46,999. There’s no denying that even with the hefty new-van price tag, there’s very little on the market to match it.

The specification list is massive, and includes everything you could want, including the kitchen sink. Euro-6-emissions-compliant engines make it a very complete way to go camping without the need for a caravan.

A Grand California will go on sale in the UK later this year. It’s actually based on the larger VW Crafter, not the Transporter, and has a bathroom with a toilet and shower.

Best VW Camper Van for adaptability

Volkswagen Caravelle

Latest VW Caravelle deals from £33,980
Finance from £605 per month

The Caravelle is essentially a cross between a mobile office and a commercial van, can be had in different lengths, plus, it’s a fair bit cheaper than the California.

It’s not as competent because it doesn’t strictly have a bed, or the option of a kitchenette, but people still use it for weekends away with friends. Assuming said friends don’t mind sleeping across the front seats.

It can be pretty expensive in comparison to other van-based MPVs that you can also sleep in, but it is better built than rivals like the Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Rifter. Plus it tends to hold its value better - making it more affordable on a PCP deal.

Best VW Camper Van for value

Volkswagen Transporter

Latest VW Transporter deals from £18,995
Finance from £396 per month

This is the plain and simple van. Prices start from £18,995 for a 2016 model, and while it doesn’t come with the built-in adaptability of the pre-made camper vans, it is a lot cheaper.

As far as VW camper vans go, this is one of the cheapest ways to get into the club. People tend to modify these themselves to fit their needs - you can fit a double bed in the back along with any sports gear. Chuck in a leisure battery and a hot plate and you really do have a cut-price California.


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