By Steve & Tamami Laser
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the Volkswagen California camper is so popular that the automaker has sold more than 160,000 units. To honor this major milestone, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is prepping to launch a larger sibling, called Grand California, in early 2019.
The California (left) is based on the T6 platform that Volkswagen sells in Europe and select global markets in Transporter panel van and Caravelle passenger versions. The new Grand California (right) is based on the new generation Crafter van that was introduced two years ago. A camper concept dubbed “California XXL” was displayed last year at shows to preview the new model. (These campers with American-sounding names, along with the donor vehicles, are not available in America.)
While the California features a garageable, low-profile silhouette with a pop-up roof, the new Grand California has a fixed roof. This design allows convenient stand-up access to the rear compartment at all times (yet it’s unlikely to fit in garages or parking structures).
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles in the U.K. says the Grand California will be fitted with a wide array of standard features including swiveling seats up front, a double-bench seat in the living area, and a dining table with room for four.
The interior has a bright, modern look with neatly integrated cabinets and trim. Pop-open camper windows at the sides and back (with cassette blinds and screens) as well as large skylights above the double-bed in the rear contribute to a sense of roominess.
The new model includes a bathroom (above left) with toilet and shower, fold-out wash basin, shelves with holders for toiletries, towel holders, and a skylight for ventilation. Kitchen fittings include a pull-out 70-liter fridge with freezer compartment (right), that’s accessible from outside as well as via the sliding door.
There’s a twin-hob gas cooker, a sink, pull-out storage compartments and tip-up shelves. VW says the Grand California can carry 110 liters of water. Standard gas heating can be expanded as a heating system to run on diesel-generated electric power.
There’s plenty of space to stretch out in the rear double bed. Clever details abound including a motion sensor in the bathroom that turns the lights on without having to search for a switch in the dark.
Grand California features an electronically powered step for easy access through the side sliding door. A roster of planned options includes a high bunk bed for kids with an integrated panoramic skylight, roof-moutned air conditioning unit, solar panels, satellite dish, LTE/WiFi hotspot, an awning, a rear bicycle rack and a camping table and chairs that can be stowed in the rear doors.
While the Grand California will be available with 4MOTION all-wheel drive, other specs have not been announced. The Crafter features a 2.0-liter TDI turbodiesel 4-cylinder engine with different output levels and a choice of front-wheel drive with a transversely mounted engine, or rear-wheel drive with a longitudinally mounted engine. Transmissions include a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic. (A new e-Crafter electric van with lithium-ion batteries is currently being tested with fleet operators prior to launching later this year.)
Volkswagen plans to officially launch the new Grand California later this month at the Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Model Line
The lineup of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, including (above left-to-right) the Caddy, T6, Crafter, and Amarok pickup, is so popular that worldwide deliveries last year increased to an amazing 494,511 units, setting a new record. That includes deliveries of 208,427 T models, 164,668 Caddy, 81,177 Amarok, and 40,239 of the new Crafter.
We’re still hoping that Volkswagen one day decides to bring its commercial vehicles to America, although many obstacles remain (including a 25 percent tariff on imported trucks). If Ford, Ram, and Mercedes-Benz can successfully market their Euro-designed vans here, why not VW?
For more information visit Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles
News source and photos courtesy Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles U.K.
Vehicle features, specifications, models and launch dates apply to the U.K. market and are subject to change without notice
Story © 2018 CarNichiWa.com