Volkswagen Camper to return in growing Beetle range

Camper concept (Bulli)
11 May, 2014 7:00am Luke Madden

Volkswagen will re-introduce its iconic Camper, as well as a sporty Beetle and an SUV

Volkswagen is working on an all-new Beetle, as well as new retro family of Beetle-based models that’s set to include a revival of the famous campervan, a stylish coupe and a crossover.

The Volkswagen Beetle is based on the MkVI Volkswagen Golf, but this new family of cars will be underpinned by the new MQB vehicle architecture found in the latest Golf.

It’s unclear whether each model will wear the Beetle nameplate, but the belief internally is that Volkswagen's Beetle brand is strong enough to support a range of models all of its own, as Fiat is doing with the 500, 500X and 500L.

The most exciting model in the proposed future Beetle family is the revived Volkswagen Camper, which we’ve seen most recently as the Bulli concept at 2011’s Geneva Motor Show. That was related to the Volkswagen up! city car and had an all-electric powertrain – but now a larger, Beetle-based model is in favour.

The word from within Volkswagen is that the exterior design will be sixties-inspired, but the technology underneath will be fully up-to-date, including power from the new range of 1.0-litre three-cylinder engines and optional four-wheel drive.

The good news is that a new Volkswagen Camper is supposedly coming – but the bad news is it’s not expected to arrive until the all-new Beetle is released in 2019.

Sporty Volkswagen Beetle and SUV on the horizon

Alongside the existing hatchback and Cabriolet models, Volkswagen is working on a future sports car version of the Beetle, much like MINI has done with the Coupe. This model will borrow the low-slung silhouette of the e-Bugster concept, featuring a narrow window line and styling that is marked out from the rest of the Beetle range.

Under the sporty new body, Volkswagen will use its most powerful drivetrains, such as the 296bhp four-wheel-drive set-up from the Golf R. Completing the future line-up will be an SUV-style model in the spirit of the Beetle Dune concept seen at the Detroit Motor Show in January. Jacked-up suspension and rugged plastic cladding will help Volkswagen capitalise on the crossover boom.

Expect the range to include hybrids, as well as three-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. Volkswagen's 4Motion four-wheel drive will be fitted to top-spec cars.

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But its not a camper, just a people carrier with mpv seats that is styled with a camper pastiche.

Surely that depends on what they do inside? While it's obviously not going to be comparable to a T5 or it's antecedents they could easily make it flexible enough to be a baby transporter. If the front seats fold down you could potentially even sleep in it.

Looks-wise hopefully they'll tone down those ludicrous looking wheels and wheel arches. I'm guessing losing the wheel arches altogether is out of the question but hopefully they'll be made more flush and shrunk to fit better smaller wheels (which should increase practicality too).

Other than that, it's a nice looking vehicle.

You can sleep in any largish car where you fold the read seats down. I got a double air mattress into the back of a Rover 820 for festival camping back in the early 90s.

I think this is just the Camper style car that was shown as a concept at the 2001 Detroit Motor Show and came to nothing 13 years ago.

Yeah, but this is a small car. If it's the same wheelbase at the beetle then with those shorter overhangs it's probably 4.1m.

People buy small cars for reasons other than not needing lots of space (easier parking, better fuel economy etc.).

It would undoubtedly sell because it offers MPV and small crossover benefits without the image of either. Volkswagen can afford to go the extra mile though and try for something genuinely different rather than just a Fiat 500L/C3 Picasso competitor. If it fails they'll sell a couple of thousand less, if it succeeds it could be a runaway success.

And it's worth pointing out that Volkswagen's current small van, the Caddy, is eleven years old. If they get the proportions right then the slab-sided mini campervan could replace that (presumably after a launch as a car to establish it's image).

I use a modded T5 which is great, but something smaller might be better, as my main use is for a mobile office with only occasional overnights.

I saw the Bulli in Germany, and was amazed how comfy the bed was, as the vehicle was a tiny little thing. A slightly larger, Golf-based version could be just the right size for me.

As for styling, a Bulli lookalike would be fine, provided the interior doesn't come with 1950s-era wood-effect and patterned curtains.

I'm pretty sure that VW will sell it in people carrier form, but after-market converters will offer camper versions.

Yet another example of VW's glacially slow new product development - five years to re-skin a Golf. The real joke though, is that this is only, at best, a paper plan and, more likely, only a press release - whereas the 500L is, obviously, already in production.

Why buy a volkswagen when you can have a audi, its like having 2nd best...when you don't have to. Sorry but in the
UK at least I don't get the point of VW anymore.

massive fan of the original, but this is pap! Its just a large car and in fact by the look of where the rear seats are positioned, it looks like there is absolutely no boot. It also needs a sliding door badly. Come on VW you can do sooo much better and alot faster.

To my eyes the main picture is the up! based Bulli. I can't believe that vw would release a camper without a sliding side door - it's the main plus point of the thing.


Additiionally since when did the camper have a traditional bonnet. It always had a flat front end to help with wind resistance... oh no wait that's wrong.......



We're all different Miguel, which is what makes style and design so personal. As it happens, I quite like the Bulli, and even more so in the metal.

Wish they would put the engine back in its proper place in the beetle. A budget 911 please!

Mr J I respect peolpe and their taste but this thing has no style at all, is really bad, very bad!!!


Agreed the beaky nose could do with a styling tweak, but otherwise OK with me. Mind you, my GF has a PT Cruiser, and we both find that a lot of fun - blonde and bloke running on chromed gangster wheels!

Agree. Fortunately the new Renault Twingo will have this setup.

I think it looks great! Obviously the squarish nose is because there's an engine behind it. I'm also glad they haven't gone with round head lights!

All in all, the best looking MPV out there!

The original 'camper' also came as a panel van and an MPV (which outsold the camper version many times over). I'm sure most of the campers on the road today didn't leave the factory as campers.