If there’s any company that’s helped to shape the world’s preoccupation with camper vans, it’s Volkswagen. From the first “Splitty” bus in the 1940s to their best-selling California van, Volkswagen is an industry leader in figuring out how to build functional, well-priced campers for families. Today, the company announced the next van to join the VW lineup: the Grand California. Love campers and trailers? Come join our new community group.
The Grand California is the production version—set to be unveiled at the upcoming Düsseldorf Caravan Salon—of last year’s California XXL concept camper. It uses the Crafter van as its base, so it’s larger than the Transporter-based California model that celebrated its 30th birthday this year. Curbed got to try out the California van on a special road trip (read all about it, over here), so we’re excited to see what the California’s big brother has to offer.
Many of the things we loved about the XXL concept camper are similar to the Grand California. An all-white interior with gray accents keeps things light and airy, and there are windows galore. The full-length panoramic sun roof is smaller on the Grand California, but sleepers in the rear bed can still stare at the stars through one skylight and another sits above the dinette.
A compact kitchen uses a dual-burner propane stove and sink combo with storage underneath. An innovative indoor-outdoor access 70-liter pull-out fridge at the side entry door will be handy on the road, and four people can sit inside the living room area thanks to swivel front seats and a rear bench. A wet bath includes a shower, toilet, and fold-out sink, and a ventilated skylight makes the bathroom feel less claustrophobic.
A rear bed area sleeps two cross-wise thanks to flared sides, and an optional kids’ alcove sleeping area is accessed by a ladder from the center of the van. Storage cubbies take advantage of the camper’s high roof, and other standard and optional features include interior heating, roof-mounted solar, satellite TV, and air conditioning.
On the exterior, Volkswagen proves that they are always thinking about how people actually use campers with helpful amenities like an outdoor shower, awning for shade, and an electric entry step. The Grand California will be available in standard single paint options, and in the iconic dual-color paint made famous by the smaller California van.
The new van will debut at the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon in late August, and that’s when we will know more about pricing. Whatever the price, it’s highly unlikely that the Volkswagen Grand California will be sold in the U.S., especially because the California van isn’t sold here either. One van we can get excited about is the forthcoming I.D. Buzz, an all-electric minibus set to debut in North America in 2022.