Volkswagen California camper getting new design, more tech

It won't be sold in the state it's named after.

Volkswagen has released a pair of teaser images to preview the face-lifted version of its emblematic California camper. The home on wheels is based on the Transporter, which received an array of updates earlier in 2019, and it's on the same branch of the family tree as the popular rear-engined Westfalia campers.

To no one's surprise, the sketches confirm the California will receive the same visual updates as the Transporter it's based on. Most of the changes are found up front, where the van receives a two-part grille inspired by the stylish Arteon, and new-look LED headlights. California emblems on the front fenders and model-specific alloy wheel designs help set it apart from more basic variants of the van.

Volkswagen explained it redesigned the van's living and sleeping areas. The cockpit benefits from several updates, too, including an available digital instrument cluster, and an internet-connected infotainment system. We'll have to wait until the model's unveiling to learn more about what makes it a more comfortable place to travel in than the outgoing model.

Technical specifications remain vague. Volkswagen said the California is available with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbodiesel engine with up to 196 horsepower on tap. Electric power steering replaces the outgoing hydraulic unit, and the list of electronic driving aids now includes lane assist, trailer assist, and crosswind assist.

Volkswagen will reveal the 2019 California during a camper-focused trade show taking place in Germany in August 2019. It will begin zig-zagging across Europe shortly after, but it won't be available in the state it's named after -- or anywhere in the United States, for that matter.

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