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Volkswagen unveils luxurious Grand California campervan

Motors | Published:

VOLKSWAGEN’S new Grand California campervan will make its debut at the Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf later this month.

The Grand California sits above the standard California, offering a larger, more luxurious product for those who’ve perhaps outgrown the regular vehicle or just want a little more comfort when touring.

The standard California is based on the Transporter van and is the world’s most successful camper. Although Volkswagen campers have been massively popular since the original Type 2 of the 1950s, it’s only since 1988 that Volkswagen itself has been directly involved. Californias are now built on their own dedicated production line and sold through Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles dealerships.

Based on the Crafter, the Grand California is significantly larger than its older brother. It’s nearly six metres long and can sleep four people in comfort.

The front of the van sees swivelling cab seats face a half-dinette seating area, with a side-mounted table allowing four people to dine. The side kitchen extends across the sliding door, as in many van conversion campers, and offers all the essentials – sink, two-burner gas hob and a 70-litre compressor fridge. Traditionally hermit-like British campers may be disappointed at the lack of an oven or grill, however.

A major advantage over the standard California is the addition of a washroom compartment. It’s fully featured, with a cassette toilet, fold-out washbasin, ventilating skylight and – best of all – shower. A 110-litre fresh water tank provides plenty of shower capacity.

There are two main sleeping berths. The rear of the van contains a transversely mounted double bed, but if you need somewhere to stick the kids there’s also an optional high-mounted bunk bed over the cab.

Grand California benefits from all the comfort and safety features of the latest Crafter, giving it some of the most comprehensive equipment in the van class. There’s autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear traffic alert and park assist, plus adaptive cruise and rear-view cameras all available.

For the truly adventurous, there’s even 4Motion four-wheel drive on offer. VW hasn’t revealed which engine choices will be available, but we’d anticipate the extra weight of all that luxury equipment in the back will limit the Grand California to the higher-powered 138 bhp and 175 bhp diesel engines from the Crafter base vehicle. Further details, along with pricing, will be announced at the event, which takes place from 25 August to 2 September, ahead of a sale date in 2019.

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