Volkswagen Grand California Review 2024

Volkswagen Grand California At A Glance

4/5

+Loads of space. In-built bathroom. Relaxing to drive once you're used to the size.

-Expensive. Modern rather than homely. Parking can be tricky.

The Volkswagen California is probably the most desirable camper van on the market, but it has its limitations. Despite clever packaging, it's not big enough to house a toilet or shower, leaving you reliant on campsite facilities. Enter the Grand California.

Available in two sizes - the 600 and 680 - the Grand California takes Volkswagen into motorhome terrority. However, unlike its rivals, based on aftermarket conversions of big vans, the Grand California is based on the Crafter and built entirely in-house by Volkswagen.

The smallest and cheapest version of the Grand California is the 600. It is six metres long and comes with a double bed running sideways across the cabin and an optional overcab roof bed, ideal for children. Despite being larger and more expensive, the 6.8-metre 680 has a lower roof and is therefore only available as a two-berth model. Its double bed runs lengthways along the cabin.

Both models come with a wetroom. There’s a cassette toilet, foldaway sink and a shower, along with useful shelves for storing toiletries. If you’re used to luxury hotels, you might find the wet room a little spartan, but it’s functional and saves the late night traipse across the campsite for the loo.

The sheer size of the Grand California means it can be intimidating to drive at first but once you’ve got used to having to take a wider line at T-junctions it’s actually quite easy. Forward visibility is very good, thanks to the high seating position, while its huge door mirrors make it an easy camper to place in the road. There are sensors and cameras everywhere, too, meaning it’s surprisingly easy to squeeze into a tight space.

The 2.0-litre diesel engine has plenty of performance for joining motorways, while the standard eight-speed automatic gearbox is excellent. It will happily sit at around 70mph on the motorway, while the ride quality helps make it a surprisingly relaxed long-distance cruiser.

The Grand California starts at around £69,000 to buy new, increasing to £80,000 for a 680 4Motion. That’s an awful lot of money for a posh camper van, but it might not be the lavish expense you think it is. For a start, aftermarket conversions based on the Crafter aren’t much cheaper, and Volkswagen motorhomes hold their value incredibly well. 

Ask Honest John

Will I be able to drive my Volkswagen Grand California after 2030?

"I am contemplating buying a new Volkswagen Grand California, which after adding extras will probably set me back over £90,000. With the end of petrol and diesel vehicle sales coming in less than 10 years I am very concerned about the viability of a diesel motorhome. What are your thoughts? "
Here at HonestJohn.co.uk we do not have any crystal balls to predict the future. However, if I had to make an educated guess, I'd say Euro6 diesel engines (like the one found in the Grand California) will be allowed to go about their business as normal. We all know how Governments like to change their minds on motoring matters - it wasn't that long ago we were all being encouraged to buy a diesel. Therefore it's possible you may be asked to pay a daily fee to drive a diesel car into certain major cities or towns as EVs become the new norm. But I do not think you'll be prevented from driving your motorhome around the UK or continental Europe after 2030.
Answered by Dan Powell
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