Possibly the best camper you will ever imagine

Exactly one year ago, Volkswagen revealed a camper dubbed the California XXL Concept. It was an early look at a production model they actually put into production just now. Scheduled for live unveiling at the Dusseldorf Caravan Salon that will start later this month, the Volkswagen Grand California is a production version of the last year’s concept and it is every bit of awesome as you may imagine. Forget about the Airstream, or anything similar. This is better, but you can’t have it because Volkswagen Commercial vehicles aren’t available in the U.S.

Volkswagen Grand California Overview

2018 Volkswagen Grand California
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The California XXL measures almost 20 feet in length and 10 feet in height

Unlike the California Beach and the California Ocean models which are based on top of the T6 Transporter, the Grand California is actually a reworked Volkswagen Crafter. Sitting on top of the middle-wheelbase Crafter, the California XXL is quite a massive vehicle. It measures almost 20 feet in length and 10 feet in height. Nope, that is not a typo. Thanks to a comprehensive set of camping equipment, Volkswagen had to raise the roof to accommodate added gear. It did so and made the Grand California one of the most imposing camper vans you will ever see.

Thanks to such a layout, those inside can comfortably walk upright - one of the most important features any camper van can offer. But, that was not the main reason for increasing its height. See, apart from a full-size, double bed in the cabin, Volkswagen managed to craft (in a Crafter, see what I did there?) an alcove with a bed and enough room for two kids to sleep in. Smart thinking. It is like their own bedroom. They won’t even feel cramped thanks to a massive panoramic roof (a skylight if you like) that extends above the bed.

While the camper van offers a rather impressive kitchen with two gas cookers and a number of storage areas, I think that the Grand California differs the most from other California models thanks to the added bathroom. Yup, Volkswagen gurus managed to create a bathroom with a toilet and a shower. It measures 33 inches by 31.5 inches and features a motion sensor that activates the light inside so you don’t have to.

R&R

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Volkswagen equipped the car with swivel chairs, a 70-liter fridge with a freezer, and a large dining table.

Volkswagen equipped the car with swivel chairs, a 70-liter fridge with a freezer, and a large dining table. Yet, I am not all that impressed with it. I am impressed with the Bluetooth sound system that can work independently of other systems in the car. Add to this exterior lightning and a freaking outside shower mount, and you have yourself a party van.

Honestly, I never liked campers, but this thing feels so cool, I would like to park it in some city lot and have a party outside. Without the kids, mind you. That is just me though.

While it is impressively equipped from the get-go, Volkswagen Commercial vehicles offer a decent list of optional equipment for the Grand California.

  • Bike rack? Available!
  • High bunk bed for kids? Available!
  • LTE/WiFi hotspot (router)? Available!
  • Satellite dish (for a freaking TV)? Available!
  • Solar Panels? Available!
  • Mosquito nets? Heck, this comes as standard!

Obviously, the Grand California is pretty damn impressive.

Car Stuff

2018 Volkswagen Grand California
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Paired with a 2.0-liter TDI engine, and, presumably, a Double clutch transmission, the Grand California will be a sensible, economic, and ecologically correct camper van

Although a bit coy on information, Volkswagen did provide us with some details about the Grand California’s drivetrain. Most importantly, I think, the camper is available with a 4Motion AWD system. Paired with a 2.0-liter TDI engine, and, presumably, a Double clutch transmission, the Grand California will be a sensible, economic, and ecologically correct camper van. Volkswagen did not actually disclose info about the propulsion system, but since the Crafter already uses a 2.0-liter TDI engine in different states of tune, one can only assume they will land in the Grand California as well. Apart from that, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles adapted active safety and convenience systems for it as well. It comes with:

  • Front Assist surroundings monitoring system with City Emergency Braking function
  • Lane Assist
  • Blind Spot Monitor for changing lane
  • Rear Traffic Alert for reversing out of parking spaces
  • Park Assist
  • side protection system
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Rear View reversing camera.

Finally, mimicking the T6-based California vans, the Grand California is offered with four different two-tone paint jobs - Reflex Silver and Indium Gray, Candy White and Cherry Red, Candy White and Deep Ocean Blue, or Candy White and Mojave Beige Metallic.

Conclusion

2018 Volkswagen Grand California
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The Grand California represents the ultimate in Volkswagen camper van offerings

While we will not get the Grand California at all, Volkswagen has something cool in store for us too. It comes in 2022, and it will be electric. The I.D. Buzz Concept will evolve into a production electric van which is basically a homage to the original Bus. Nevertheless, the Grand California represents the ultimate in Volkswagen camper van offerings and it seems that it can compete with the Hymer Motorhomes and Iveco Motorhomes giving its drivers a familiar car-like layout, familiar technology, and the best possible camping convenience you can imagine.

Further reading

2016 Volkswagen T6
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Read our full review on the 2016 Volkswagen T6.

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Read more Volkswagen news.

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