What Car? says...
Have you ever watched George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces? Every week, it takes the viewer around a number of bijou properties where a talented designer has made the best use of a tiny amount of space to create the perfect home. Well, it seems that someone at Volkswagen is a fan of the show, because they’ve managed to pull off the same trick inside a Crafter van. The result is the Volkswagen Grand California – a mobile home from home, complete with a shower, toilet, central heating and hot and cold running water.
You can choose from two different versions, depending on how many people you want to accommodate on trips. For families, there’s the four-berth, 6.0m-long 600, which has room for two adults and a couple of children. Or, if you can’t abide the idea of so many bodies under one roof, you can have a longer-wheelbase, 6.8m-long 680 (provided your driving licence will allow you to drive something over 3.5 tonnes) that sleeps two in maximum comfort.
You might be thinking ‘what’s significant about this motorhome?’ Well, this is pretty much the only vehicle of its kind that’s produced in-house by its manufacturer, rather than being converted by a specialist builder. So, while the regular Volkswagen California contends with the likes of the Mercedes V-Class Marco Polo, Ssangyong Turismo Tourist and special-order versions of the Ford Transit, there aren’t really any manufacturer-backed rivals at the moment to challenge the Grand California.
Read on to find out what the Grand California is like on the road, how practical it is inside and what it’ll cost you. And in the interests of thoroughness, we’ll also describe what it’s like to sleep in. As always, don’t forget to look at our New Car Buying pages to save loads on your next new car – or indeed, van – purchase.