Waxheads rejoice! The Kombi is back ... sort of
The spirit of Volkswagen’s iconic van lives on in new Transporter range.
The Volkswagen Kombi holds a special place in automotive and pop culture as the machine that moved the flower-power generation and went on to be loved by surfers and free-spirited travellers the world over.
But while the price of a classic split-screen 1960s Kombi is now beyond the means of all but the very investment bankers it once flipped a one-fingered salute to, the Kombi spirit, if not the nameplate itself, lives on with the release of the latest VW T6 Transporter van.
The new generation California Beach camper and Multivan Cruise models are part of the revised Transporter range, dubbed T6.1, which is due here in Q3.
The update brings a raft of enhancements to the versatile T6 Transporter, which was launched here in 2014.
The upgraded T6.1 will offer a range of body styles, engines and transmissions across vans and people movers and, for the first time in this model generation, the return of the legendary camper van, which will be offered via customer pre-production order in the versatile “Beach” model grade.
Upgrades to the T6.1 range include updated front exterior design, new interior design with the latest infotainment technology, advanced driver assistance technology including front assist, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear traffic alert and cross-wind assist.
The T6.1 will also premiere a new EU6-compliant engine and transmission combination: the TDI340 turbocharged diesel with 110kW, paired to a DSG transmission and 4MOTION all-wheel drive.
But it’s the return of the iconic VW camper vans that will catch the eye of vehicle-based adventurers, many of whom are once again planning weekend escapes and longer journeys in their own big backyard, while international travel remains restricted due to the coronavirus.
With its unique two-tone paint and a raft of premium features, the limited-edition California Beach camper is priced from $82,990 (RRP) and includes such features as an electro-hydraulic elevating roof, standard awning, power sliding side doors and a power tailgate.
The interior features standard seating for five, with a reclining three-seat rear bench, front swivel seats, a bed extension with comfort sleeping mat, and interior blinds.
Other handy camping features include a second battery, to ensure you’re not left stranded after a night pumping party tunes, a programmable parking heater, camping table and two camping chairs.
The Beach’s standard driver assistance features include front assist with city emergency brake, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring with rear traffic alert and lane assist, park distance control front and rear, a rear-view camera and cross-wind assist.
The other limited-edition model offered ahead of the T6.1 launch is the Multivan Cruise Limited Edition, which harks back to the original fixed-roof Kombi Van and is priced from $73,990 (RRP).
It will be available in a single highly specified short wheelbase variant, with a TDI340/7-speed DSG engine and transmission combination, two-tone paint, LED headlights, electric tailgate and 18-inch alloys, among other inclusions.
Both the California Beach and the Multivan Cruise Launch Edition will be available as a limited run of 30 units each, and available to purchase exclusively online from VW Australia’s website from 10am on June 24.
VW Australia says the limited run of California Beach units will be the only Campers to arrive this year, with the full California range available to order online from 1 August for 2021 delivery with a starting price of $82,990 RRP.
Director of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Australia Ryan Davies said the company was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the T6.1 range, and finally being able to give Australian buyers an updated version of the famous Kombi Camper.
"For our customers, the Transporter is more than just a van; it's an office, a troupe carrier and a workhorse,” Mr Davie said.
“Best of all, with the introduction of the T6.1 California Beach, we are finally answering fan and customer demand for a factory-backed, turn-key weekender – we're ecstatic to be bringing the Kombi Van back to Oz.”
Pricing and final specification details for the full T6.1 range will be released before the local launch, in the third quarter of this year.