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Volkswagen Caravelle and Transporter - click above image for high-res gallery

Some of us enthusiast types are still upset that Volkswagen never released the retro-futuristic new Bus first seen back in 2001. Looking backwards with 20-20 vision, perhaps the conceptual Bus was a little too slavish to the Type II's (a.k.a. Transporter, a.k.a. Station Wagon, a.k.a. Bus) design aesthetic and not concerned enough with its zeitgeist – affordable, practical family fun.

Meet the new VW Caravelle (passenger van), Transporter (cargo van) and California (camper van - not shown). These Golf-nosed successors to not only the Transporter, but the Vanagon and Eurovan, will be making their refreshed debuts in a few short weeks at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Beyond receiving a new shnoz, other tweaks include a range of common rail TDI engines, new rear-light clusters, more aerodynamic side mirrors, touchscreen navigation, USB connectivity, updated ESP and a hill-start assist feature. Plus, you can get either van with a manual gearbox.

While both these cars are Euro-only (Volkswagen hasn't sold a Eurovan in the U.S. since 2003), it is good to see a modern version of a Westphalia-style camper van. And you know, maybe Volkswagen should think about ditching the Routan and bringing these new vans here... especially the pop-top California? Just a thought. Either way, we'll know more come Frankfurt. High-res shots below, full press releases after the jump.

[Source: Volkswagen]


19 August 2009


First details of the new Volkswagen Caravelle people carrier and California campervan are released today ahead of their world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.

No other manufacturer can compete with Volkswagen's rich heritage of iconic people carriers and campervans, and the enhancements to the latest generation of these models offer the latest technology, comfort and safety features, with lower emissions and improved fuel economy by approximately ten per cent across the range.

The new models stand out with changes to the external design. These include new rear light clusters, chrome side trims, more aerodynamic door mirrors and an entirely new front using the latest Volkswagen passenger car design for the grille and headlights seen most recently in the new Polo and Golf.

Other new features carried over from Volkswagen's latest passenger cars include comfort and safety items such as three-spoke steering wheels, stylish new instruments, a recommended gear shift display, a USB 'Media-in' interface to connect external devices, and the latest audio and integrated, touchscreen, hard-drive navigation systems.

A new generation ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme) with hill-start assist and an emergency brake light function are also introduced across the range, while other new features now available include Volkswagen's Side Assist lane change system, first seen in the Touareg, which warns the driver of anything in the vehicle's blind spot, and a new TMD (Tyre Monitor Display) to alert the driver to any decrease in tyre pressures.

Refinement is also improved thanks to a new range of four quieter, more economical 2.0-litre four-cylinder common rail TDI engines. These offer power outputs of 84 PS, 102 PS, 140 PS and 180 PS, and all meet the latest Euro V emissions standard. The new models also benefit from the introduction of Volkswagen's seven-speed DSG automatic transmission, which will also be available later in 2010 with the 4MOTION all-wheel drive system with fourth generation Haldex coupling for the first time (on selected models).

Prices and specifications for the new Caravelle and California will be released closer to launch. The new models will arrive in selected Volkswagen Van Centres from January 2010.

# # #


The first details of the new Volkswagen Transporter range of vans, kombi, chassis cabs and window vans are released today, revealing a new refined exterior design plus significant advances in comfort, safety and refinement. Lower running costs are also guaranteed thanks to a new range of common rail TDI engines offering lower emissions and improved economy by an average of ten per cent across the range.

The Transporter is Volkswagen's best-selling model in the UK and worldwide. Over one million of the current model have been sold since introduction in 2003, making a total of over 10 million since production started in March 1950. Nearly 60 years later, the new Transporter will prove even more successful and cost-effective when it arrives in Volkswagen Van Centres in January 2010.

A new exterior sports more aerodynamic door mirrors and a similar front grille and headlight design to that seen on the latest Volkswagen passenger cars. Under the bonnet is a new range of four 2.0-litre four-cylinder common rail TDI engines, with power outputs of 84 PS and 220 Nm of torque from 1,500 rpm, 102 PS with 250 Nm from 1,500 rpm, 140 PS with 340 Nm at 1,750 rpm, and 180 PS with 400 Nm from a mere 1,500 rpm. These engines are quieter, more economical, and more efficient with lower emissions that now comply with the latest Euro V standards. To further aid fuel economy, there is also a gear shift recommendation display.

Internal changes make the new Transporter even more comfortable and convenient with many enhancements to quality and equipment. These include many features from the latest Volkswagen passenger cars, such as new three-spoke steering wheels, stylish new instruments and the latest audio and touchscreen navigation systems.

New options available for the new Transporter, and many for the first time in the LCV sector, include Volkswagen's seven-speed DSG gearbox, which will also be available later in 2010 with the 4MOTION all-wheel drive system, plus class-leading driver assist systems such as Volkswagen's Side Assist lane change assistant, which uses LED lights in the door mirrors to warn if there is anything in the vehicle's blind-spot, Rear Assist reversing camera, and a new TMD (Tyre Monitor Display) which can detect any decrease in tyre pressure. Other new safety features include ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme), hill-start assistant and an emergency braking system which automatically puts on the hazard warning lights, which will all be standard across the range.

Prices and specifications of the new Transporter range will be released closer to launch.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      The only way they could sell those things in the USA at a competitive price is to build them in Mexico or Brazil. I think TDI versions would sell.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Mmm...manual van. Diesel? Yes!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I would love for the California to make a debut here. I would snap that up in a heartbeat!

      I really missed out on the Westphalia and Vanagon :(
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'll take a California with a 3.2 Vr6, 4Motion AWD and DSG. Throw in a pushbar and some Pirelli Scorpions and I'll be in Baja for the next 6 er 12 months. Thanks VW!
      • 5 Years Ago
      The 2001 concept would still be a hit if they introduced it today, especially with people ditching big SUVs, but not wanting to sacrifice interior space - or more likely gaining interior space. It would be the only cool minivan on the market.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I couldn't agree more... Microbus concept was really well done. Sad it didn't translate into real product.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Also agreed.

        Ignoring beauty in the name of "zeitgeist – affordable, practical family fun" is irresponsible. Beauty is never out of style (sans insanity) and could/should be as affordable and practical as ugly.

        The VW type-2 Vangon is STILL MANUFACTURED TODAY and is as beautifully cool as it was 50 years ago. The retro-Vanagon concept is a fantastic update and proves the timelessness of the design which transcends zeitgeist.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Please, Please, PLEASE VW bring the camper van to the US. I'd buy one in a heartbeat.
      • 5 Years Ago
      ANY version of this would sell better than the Routan!
      • 5 Years Ago
        • 5 Years Ago
        My Dad has had a 1972 Camper and is a current owner of a 1993 Westfalia. If Volkswagen brought the camper over to Canada, I know two of them would be ordered. My order would be right behind my Fathers.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm telling you, a miniature vw bus in the style of the xb, soul, cube, etc would do really really well.
      • 5 Years Ago
      VW probably doesn't sell these here because they are basically commecial vehicles with seats, and they wouldn't stand up well against the minivans on sale in the US now.

      They tried to sell us the Eurovan twice, failed miserably the first time and did marginally well the second.

      These vans are too utilitarian, too trucklike. Just look at the interior and compare it to an Odyssey, Sienna, T&C, Quest, etc. And that's not to mention the available power (or lack thereof) these vans come with.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Man, this brings me back. My family used to own a red '93 Westfalia but we sold it last year because nobody used it for years. Kinda wish we still had it..
      • 5 Years Ago
      Now I know what they are doing with clunkered Chevy Astros... they recycle the body!
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