Home Vídeos 2020 Vw Grand California (Functions) The ultimate luxury camper van

2020 Vw Grand California (Functions) The ultimate luxury camper van


2020 Vw Grand California (Functions) The ultimate luxury camper van. VW didn’t have to look too far for a suitable platform on which to base its motorhome. For while most of the vehicles in the market are produced by third-party specialists who generally take something like a Fiat Ducato or a Peugeot Boxer and graft living quarters onto the back, the boffins at VW’s commercial vehicles division had the Crafter van at their disposal.

The result is a pair of Grand Californias, with enough additional mechanical options for the line-up to be called a range. The ‘entry point’ is the 600, which, as its name suggests, uses the six metre-long version of the Crafter. It offers sleeping quarters for two adults and, in a neatly faired-in bit of bodywork above the front seats, an extra ‘bedroom’ that’s big enough for children.

Then there’s the vehicle we’re trying here: the 680. It’s longer than the 600 (yes, 6.8 metres) and is also available with the option of four-wheel drive. But while it carries a price premium, it’s a relatively modest one, because it lacks the upstairs sleeping area; quite astonishingly, at the thick end of seven metres long, the vehicle sleeps just two people.

Now, this may seem perverse to those of you who are well accustomed to the regular California, which is almost two metres shorter but converts into a four-berth camper in a matter of minutes.

But here’s the trick. The Grand California offers levels of independence that its baby brother can only dream of. Because, as well as a kitchen hob, sink, fridge and freezer, the Grand California also has a toilet and a shower. Fill it up with water and gas and, provided there’s enough sun to feed the rooftop solar panel and keep the leisure battery topped up, you need not plug this vehicle in or, indeed, feel the need to visit a maintained campsite for days on end. And for some, that is freedom that’s well worth paying for.

And they will pay for it, because the Grand California starts at £68,899 for a 600; a 680 like the model we’re evaluating here costs from £71,395 – and that’s before you start to tick options boxes for niceties like the roof-mounted satellite dish, an additional air-con unit, an awning or a rear bicycle rack. VW’s offering is roughly in the same ballpark as many of the customised vans that are well established in the market, however.

The tech is neatly integrated, too. Many of the living area controls – heating, hot water and so forth – are operated via a neat digital panel that’s right in your eyeline as you climb aboard. You can choose to heat the cabin using gas (the Grand Cali stores two big bottles) or electricity; a cool September evening forced us to fire up the gas heating during our test, but the system is quiet – certainly less noticeable than the auxiliary heater in the regular Cali van.

The driving environment is pretty much a straight lift from the Crafter. You get an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto included, a heated leather steering wheel, air conditioning and cruise control with a speed limiter. Again, the finish is rugged, with hard plastics on the dash and rubber flooring.

Underneath it all is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine producing 175bhp and 410Nm of torque. In our Grand Cali it’s driving the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain has enough shove to keep the Grand California moving at a comfortable motorway cruise – but any request to get to that speed at anything other than a leisurely pace will send the diesel motor’s revs rising to quite a throb.

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