Volkswagen introduced the sixth-generation Transporter van back in April, and camper van converters quickly got to work showing their new T6 camper van packages. We saw the new California from Volkswagen itself, and now Dutch converter Tonke, best known for its stylish wood and aluminum-skinned camper modules, has transformed the new VW into a slick, versatile explorer.
The simply named Tonke Van isn't the first van conversion we've seen from Tonke, we checked out a Sprinter conversion complete with the outfit's signature wood styling at the 2013 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon. With the T6 camper, Tonke focuses its van conversion experience on bringing the VW camper back to its simple, free-spirited roots. Its aim is to give buyers a well-equipped, functional interior without unnecessary frills.
The Tonke Van drives five and has an option for a sixth seat. It includes a folding rear-seat bed and available mechanical pop-up roof with mattress, sleeping four to five people when equipped with the pop top.
The versatility of Tonke's design comes to life in the kitchen module, which can optionally be designed with swing-out hardware for inside/outside use. The kitchen includes a dual-burner gas stove and sink below a tempered glass cover. A removable compressor refrigerator sits behind the kitchen, left of the three-seat rear bench.
Instead of a separate dining table, the gas strut-actuated table top is built into the kitchen unit, doubling as the front wall. This layout keeps things clean and integrated while still giving you a place for dining and food prep. The table has multiple folding panels for added versatility in space usage.
The rail-mounted rear bench slides the length of the cabin floor and removes easily, providing an interior space that adjusts to your needs for people and cargo hauling. By removing the bench completely, the camper van can be used as a cargo or gear hauler when it's not being used as a family camper.
The under-bench drawer is also removable, allowing one to fit oblong items like surfboards below the rear bench. The interior includes a cabinet just inside the tailgate, which is within reach of the rear-seat bed.
The VW camper lacks the warm wood interiors of other Tonke products, but Tonke is careful to point out that the furniture is made from real birch plywood and not fiberboard or other substitute. The van includes a 16-liter (4.2-gal) fresh water tank and 16-liter gray water tank and Tonke offers up to 255 Ah of battery power, along with a solar panel option. Two standard lamps provide interior lighting.
The Tonke Van starts at €40,000 (approx. US$45,000), and Tonke tells us that an average van with the pop-up roof, swing-out indoor/outdoor kitchen option and other optional equipment will run to €60,000 ($68,000). It offers a full selection of engine, mechanical (including 4Motion 4WD) and camper cabin options. Unfortunately, like the van it's based on, it won't be coming to the United States.