Volkswagen launches new 6m-long family-oriented Grand California campervan


Holiday hippy-trailers of all ages and generations take note. Volkswagen is launching its biggest and best equipped campervan ever.

The new 6m-long family-oriented Grand California has everything including the kitchen sink – as well as its first ever bathroom with WC and shower and a new sleeping area in the rear, plus optional high bunk beds for children.

It’s a far cry from the much-loved VW campervan of the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies, many of which are still on the road and lovingly cared for by owners. But it aims to cater for that same go-anywhere spirit, albeit in style and comfort.

The new Volkswagen Grand California campervan with its pull-out dining table in use.

The new Volkswagen Grand California campervan with its pull-out dining table in use.

The new Volkswagen Grand California campervan with its pull-out dining table in use.

All-wheel drive is an option and the high roof has been aerodynamically shaped to help reduce fuel consumption.

All-wheel drive is an option and the high roof has been aerodynamically shaped to help reduce fuel consumption.

All-wheel drive is an option and the high roof has been aerodynamically shaped to help reduce fuel consumption.

For 'green' campers, a roof-mounted solar panel system will also be available.

For 'green' campers, a roof-mounted solar panel system will also be available.

For ‘green’ campers, a roof-mounted solar panel system will also be available.

The Grand California, based on the larger Crafter commercial vehicle, rather than the existing Transporter van, has its world premiere at the Caravan Salon in Dusseldorf later this month ahead of sale early next year.

Expect prices from £70,000 and £80,000 compared to the current, but smaller and less equipped, California Ocean costing from £53,267 to £62,829.

All-wheel drive is an option and the high roof has been aerodynamically shaped to help reduce fuel consumption.

The large dining table seats four. There’s a pull-out 70-litre fridge with freezer, a twin-hob gas cooker, sink and drawers, storage compartments and tip-up shelves.

There's a pull-out 70-litre fridge with freezer, a twin-hob gas cooker, sink and drawers, storage compartments and tip-up shelves.

There's a pull-out 70-litre fridge with freezer, a twin-hob gas cooker, sink and drawers, storage compartments and tip-up shelves.

There’s a pull-out 70-litre fridge with freezer, a twin-hob gas cooker, sink and drawers, storage compartments and tip-up shelves.

Bathroom fittings, in addition to loo and shower, include a foldout wash basin.

Bathroom fittings, in addition to loo and shower, include a foldout wash basin.

Bathroom fittings, in addition to loo and shower, include a foldout wash basin.

The large dining table seats four.

The large dining table seats four.

The large dining table seats four.

Bathroom fittings, in addition to loo and shower, include a foldout wash basin. Lights even switch on automatically via motion detectors.

The vehicle can carry 110 litres of water and there’s a connection for an external shower. An electrically powered step makes access easier and a mosquito net is built into the door.

Options include roof-mounted air conditioning, awning, rear bicycle rack and camping table and chairs stowed in the wing doors. 

For ‘green’ campers, a roof-mounted solar panel system will also be available.

There is a sleeping area in the rear, plus optional high bunk beds for children.

There is a sleeping area in the rear, plus optional high bunk beds for children.

There is a sleeping area in the rear, plus optional high bunk beds for children.

An electrically powered step makes access easier and a mosquito net is built into the door.

An electrically powered step makes access easier and a mosquito net is built into the door.

An electrically powered step makes access easier and a mosquito net is built into the door.

Expect prices from £70,000 and £80,000 compared to the current, but smaller and less equipped, California Ocean (picture left) costing from £53,267 to £62,829.

Expect prices from £70,000 and £80,000 compared to the current, but smaller and less equipped, California Ocean (picture left) costing from £53,267 to £62,829.

Expect prices from £70,000 and £80,000 compared to the current, but smaller and less equipped, California Ocean (picture left) costing from £53,267 to £62,829.

Driver assistance systems include automated ‘city emergency braking’, ‘Lane Assist’ to help the driver stay in lane, a blind spot monitor for changing lane, rear traffic alert for reversing out of parking spaces and park assist for steering into them.

There’s also adaptive cruise control and a rear-view reversing camera.

The VW California was first launched in 1988 since when more than 160,000 have been sold globally. More than 7,000 have been in the UK since arriving in 2006.

The original VW Campervan developed post-war from a ‘home-made’ parts-mover, based on a Beetle chassis and used at the Wolfsburg factory when being run by the British occupying forces, which was transformed into a van. From 1950 converters quickly created camping versions which became icons of the Hippy Trail.

An electric-powered campervan called ID Buzz is planned to be launched in 2020. 

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CANNY buyers can bag bargains this month as makers struggle to meet the September 1 deadline for new vehicles to comply with worldwide, tougher, fuel economy and emissions tests.

What Car? magazine's New Car Buying website guide says there's also 11 per cent (£1,439) off a Renault Clio (pictured).

What Car? magazine's New Car Buying website guide says there's also 11 per cent (£1,439) off a Renault Clio (pictured).

What Car? magazine’s New Car Buying website guide says there’s also 11 per cent (£1,439) off a Renault Clio (pictured).

The trade is keen to clear stocks of existing new cars which they know won’t meet the test standards. After September 1, cars which fail the World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure will be considered road-worthy but will have to be sold as second-hand, not new.

August discounts of up to 20 per cent are reported by What Car? magazine. For example, Citroen has cut £4,147 off the list price of a C4 Spacetourer. There’s up to 9.8 per cent (£3,379) off a Mercedes-Benz GLC Estate, and 6.8 per cent (£1,528) off a Mini Countryman.

Its New Car Buying website guide says there’s also 11 per cent (£1,439) off a Renault Clio (pictured) and 10.5 per cent (£1,971) off a Peugeot 308.

It notes: ‘The new test is proving so exacting and expensive that many car manufacturers are struggling to have their cars certified in time.’

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TV PRESENTERS and motoring experts Jodie Kidd and Nicki Shields are among celebrities who will be at the Blenheim Palace Classic and Supercar event on Sunday, September 2. 

TV presenter Nicki Shields judging cars at the Blenheim Classic & Supercar event.

TV presenter Nicki Shields judging cars at the Blenheim Classic & Supercar event.

TV presenter Nicki Shields judging cars at the Blenheim Classic & Supercar event.

Judges peruse cars at the Blenheim Classic & Supercar event.

Judges peruse cars at the Blenheim Classic & Supercar event.

Judges peruse cars at the Blenheim Classic & Supercar event.

More than 1,000 of the world’s greatest classic and supercars will be on display in the spectacular grounds of Winston Churchill’s family home. This includes nearly 400 Porsches to celebrate the brand’s 70th anniversary.

The main highlight is the Pirelli Prestige & Performance Competition featuring 80 super and hypercars from 1978 to the present day, including a winners’ parade.

A row of class Porsches at Blenheim Palace.

A row of class Porsches at Blenheim Palace.

A row of class Porsches at Blenheim Palace.

Visitors eye the exhibits at Blenheim Palace Classic and Supercar event.

Visitors eye the exhibits at Blenheim Palace Classic and Supercar event.

Visitors eye the exhibits at Blenheim Palace Classic and Supercar event.

Sponsor Pirelli will show the F1 Monza Grand Prix live in the Palace’s Great Court.

Tickets are £21 for adults, £10 children (aged five to 16) and £56 family: blenheimclassicsupercar.com

 



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