The Volkswagen Grand California 600 is the epitome of a modern-day recreational van, designed and manufactured by the German automaker. As part of VW’s lineup of commercial recreational vans, the Grand California 600 stands out as a luxurious and versatile option for adventurous travellers seeking comfort and functionality on the road at any moment’s notice. The engineers and design team started with a VW Crafter van and then used every cubic millimetre of space inside it to its best advantage creating a proper mobile home away from home.
The Choice in Recreational Vans
Volkswagen has a long history of producing top-notch commercial vehicles, and their recreational van lineup is no exception. Over the years, they have fine-tuned their designs to cater to the needs of travellers, outdoor enthusiasts, and camping aficionados. The lineup includes various models, each with its own distinct features and sizes to suit different preferences and requirements.
Gallery: VW Grand California 2018
Their line up starts with the Caddy California followed by the VW California 6.1, which has immediate competition from models like the Mercedes V-Class Marco Polo and special-order versions of the Ford Transit. The model above the Grand California 600 is the 680, which is 6.8 metres long instead of 6 metres and weighs more than 3.5 tonnes. It also requires you to have a truck licence. Inside, the main difference is the additional room for the two adults in the 680. The optional top bunk beds for two children is only an option in the 600.
Diesel Power Under Your Right Foot
The Grand California 600 is available with a 175 bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine, tailored to provide a smooth and efficient driving experience. This engine ensures that the campervan effortlessly cruises through highways and comfortably tackles inclines while loaded with passengers and camping gear. The dual-clutch automatic gearbox is smooth and does what it needs to do. All in all, the holiday home on wheels is actually pretty easy to drive thanks to a tight turning circle and a load of familiar safety systems plus driver aids you’d normally find in your car.
Driving a vehicle that stretches six metres in length might appear challenging task, especially for those unaccustomed to handling larger automobiles. However, once you acquaint yourself with the dimensions of the Grand California 600, the initial apprehension diminishes. Nevertheless, it’s important to note that the Grand California 600 is not as practical for everyday driving compared to smaller models like the California 6.1. Its length can cause difficulties when trying to fit into standard parking spaces, and its height, nearly three metres tall, might restrict access to areas with height limitations.
Optimised use of space
The Volkswagen Grand California 600 is a well-equipped campervan that leaves no stone unturned when it comes to providing comfort and convenience. Its interior layout has been thoughtfully designed to optimise space and ensure a home-away-from-home feel.
The Grand California 600 boasts an impressively spacious interior that can comfortably accommodate up to four people. The living area consists of a lounge with a folding table, perfect for meals or leisure time and four seats, which you can rotate to create a four-person dining area. The sleeping quarters include a large double bed in the rear and an additional optional roof bed, ensuring a good night’s sleep for everyone on board.
The campervan features a fully-equipped kitchen with a gas stove, sink, refrigerator, and ample storage space for kitchen essentials. The bathroom is equipped with a toilet, shower, and sink, offering the convenience of having these facilities on the go.
The Grand California 600 comes with an efficient heating system, allowing occupants to stay warm even during chilly nights. On the other hand, the roof-mounted air conditioning system ensures a comfortable environment in hot weather.
To keep up with modern demands, Volkswagen has equipped the Grand California 600 with various connectivity options. It includes USB ports, Bluetooth, and a touchscreen infotainment system with navigation capabilities. Additionally, occupants can enjoy their favourite shows or movies if they spec a built-in flat-screen TV. A central touchpad controls functions such as the heater, dimmable lighting, cabin and water temperature, but it also shows you your on-board water levels. The total amount of fresh water is 110 litres, while you have a 90 litre waste tank.
Great Companion for a Camping Trip
The true essence of the Volkswagen Grand California 600 is experienced during camping trips. The combination of its comfortable interior, well-designed living spaces, and numerous amenities make it an ideal companion for outdoor adventures. Our tested version didn’t come with the optional solar panels, but offered all the standard facilities well-suited for off-grid camping. This allowed us as travellers to venture and stay self-sufficient for a period of time.
The campervan’s exterior features, such as an optional awning and outdoor table, enables you to extend your living space to the great outdoors. It’s the perfect setup for enjoying meals al fresco, relaxing in the shade, or socialising under the stars. We didn’t use it much due to the heavy winds we experienced on our trip.
Our experience consisted of a four day period in the campervan, and pretty much using all of its capabilities. From the shower to setting up the central seating position and having to refill the water tanks and finding a suitable power supply at our camping spot. The mostly notable points were first and foremost that the bed itself was relatively at the short end for longer people and the thin mattress is relatively hard. The biggest annoyance was the sliding door, which didn’t easily fall into place and should have soft close to make your life a lot easier.
For those looking into possibly acquiring the California 600 we thoroughly recommend the campervan. A great plus is the sheer amount of windows and options to let the cabin breath. Also the insect nets and black-out blinds for many of the windows are a welcoming extra, same can be said about the excellent on board heater and the shower which is usable and has two drain plugs to cope with an uneven pitch.
High-quality Comes at a Price
As with any high-quality campervan, the Volkswagen Grand California 600 comes with a price tag that reflects its features and capabilities. Starting at £81,890, pricing can vary based on optional add-ons and customisation choices. Volkswagen includes a three-year, 100,000-mile warranty.
While it may not be the most budget-friendly option on the market, the Grand California 600 offers excellent value for those seeking a top-tier recreational van with ample amenities and comfortable living spaces, while also being able to accommodate four and the ability to drive it with your normal driver’s licence.
In conclusion, the Volkswagen Grand California 600 stands tall as an impressive addition to Volkswagen’s lineup of commercial recreational vans. Its luxurious interior, thoughtful features, robust engine performance, and outstanding camping capabilities make it an excellent choice for adventurers and travel enthusiasts alike. While the pricing may be a consideration for some, the overall experience and convenience offered by this campervan make it a great investment for anyone seeking the ultimate recreational vehicle for some unforgettable camping trips.