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

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, 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. 

Volkswagen says 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).