Favourites
Volkswagen Grand California Review logo

Volkswagen Grand California Review

Volkswagen Grand California
Volkswagen Grand California
Volkswagen Grand California
Volkswagen Grand California
Volkswagen Grand California
Volkswagen Grand California
Volkswagen Grand California
Volkswagen Grand California
Volkswagen Grand California
Volkswagen Grand California
Volkswagen Grand California

1/10

Volkswagen Grand California

2/10

Volkswagen Grand California

3/10

Volkswagen Grand California

4/10

Volkswagen Grand California

5/10

Volkswagen Grand California

6/10

Volkswagen Grand California

7/10

Volkswagen Grand California

8/10

Volkswagen Grand California

9/10

Volkswagen Grand California

10/10

1 / 10

heycar review

      Launch year
      2019
      Body type
      Campervan
      Fuel type
      Diesel
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Volkswagen's large home on wheels

Best bits

  • Lots of interior space
  • Easy to drive for such a big vehicle
  • In-built bathroom

Not so great

  • Expensive to buy
  • Heavier versions can’t be driven on a standard licence
  • Modern interior rather than homely

Read by

Volkswagen Grand California Exterior

Overall verdict

Volkswagen Grand California Front Interior

On the inside

Volkswagen Grand California Exterior

Driving

Volkswagen Grand California Exterior

How much does it cost to run

Volkswagen Grand California Interior

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"The Volkswagen Grand California is a large, desirable campervan based on Volkswagen’s large van – the modern Crafter. There have been plenty of aftermarket converters that have had a go at creating a camper using the likes of the Crafter or other large vans as a base, but this is the first time that a manufacturer has done the job itself."

Volkswagen Grand California Exterior

Volkswagen has form with in-house campers, with the smaller Volkswagen California using the Transporter as its base, but the Grand California takes things up a notch. Based on the Volkswagen Crafter, it is available in two different sizes, the 600 and the 680, with the former measuring 6m in length and offering a double bed stretched sideways across the back of the cabin. There is also the option of an overhead roof bed that sits above the cab, which is designed for children.


The 680 is longer, at 6.8m, but has a lower roof so is only available as a two-berth. Because of the extra space the bed runs lengthways in the back.


The big addition over the smaller California is the wetroom, which is available as standard in both models. This features a cassette toilet, a foldaway sink, a shower and a selection of shelves for storing toiletries. It’s not a luxury hotel experience, but it adds a level of privacy and comfort as you don’t have to venture out in the dark should nature call in the night while you’re camping.


As the Grand California is based on a light commercial vehicle, there is a version that has a gross vehicle weight of 3.5 tonnes, which means that it can be driven on an ordinary driver’s licence. However, this isn’t the case for all of the versions, so drivers without an upgraded C1 licence will need to check which model they are buying and be sure they are legally allowed to drive it.


All versions come with the same 177PS 2.0-litre diesel engine, which is paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard. The combination means it will happily sit at 70mph on the motorway and the suspension makes for a remarkable relaxed experience – handy for those long-distance cross-continental jaunts.


It might be a bit more intimidating at lower speeds, though, due to its sheer size. It’s no longer than the short-wheelbase Crafter, but it is tall at 2.97m, so low car parks are a definite no.


Once you’ve got used to the large dimensions it is relatively easy to drive, though. The high-up seating position means you get a good view out and the large mirrors mean you can see all around with ease. There are plenty of sensors all around the van, too, which will help guide you into a tighter parking spot.


The Grand California might look pricey on paper, with prices starting at just under £73,000 and heading up to comfortably over £80,000, but it is worth comparing to an aftermarket Crafter conversion – the latter might not work out too different. The desirability of campervans means that the normal rules don’t apply when it comes to second-hand values – it won’t lose value in the way that a normal car or van will, and you’ll have loads of fun with it in the time you own it.


Ready to get your top quality Volkswagen Grand California?

  • All come with a warranty
  • Selected dealers only
  • All quality checked

Volkswagen Grand California

2.0 TDI 600 5dr Tip Auto [3.5T]

  • 2021
  • 100 miles

Manufacturer Approved

  • Sinclair Volkswagen Van Centre Swansea
  • Glamorgan, SA49GW
Price:£71,995
HP: £1,880.92/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £1,880.92, Customer Deposit: £10,799.00, Total Deposit: £10,799.25, Total Charge For Credit: £6,527.37, Total Amount Payable: £78,522.37, Representative APR: 6.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 6.9%

Volkswagen Grand California

2.0 TDI 600 5dr Tip Auto [3.5T]

  • 2020
  • 1,058 miles

Manufacturer Approved

  • Sinclair Volkswagen Van Centre Swansea
  • Glamorgan, SA49GW
Price:£69,995
HP: £1,828.67/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £1,828.67, Customer Deposit: £10,499.00, Total Deposit: £10,499.25, Total Charge For Credit: £6,346.37, Total Amount Payable: £76,341.37, Representative APR: 6.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 6.9%

Is the Volkswagen Grand California right for you?

The Grand California is not a vehicle you buy because you need it, but it will rightly feature on lots of people’s wish lists. There are very few direct rivals to it, with most campervans created by aftermarket companies that buy a base van and build onto it from scratch. The Grand California is the only one that you can get with the reassurance that it was built by Volkswagen itself.


It might not have the individuality of an aftermarket creation, but it’s modern, well-built and well-designed inside and out. If ease-of-use and reassurance are things you want from a vehicle that could take you many many miles from home then the Grand California could be just the thing.

What's the best Volkswagen Grand California model/engine to choose?

The 600 and the 680 versions are more than just two trim levels. Due to the extra weight in the latter, you won’t be legally allowed to drive it on a standard driving licence if you passed your test after 1 January 1997 – you’ll need to take an extra test to get a C1 licence.


The 680 might come with a bit more length to give you a bigger bed and slightly larger kitchen area, but the 600 has the added bonus of an extra over-cab bed that is perfect for kids. So long as you or your partner aren’t very tall then the 600 makes more all-round sense and is better value for money.


There is only one engine on offer in the Grand California, so it matters not which one you go for – it will come with a 2.0-litre diesel and an eight-speed automatic gearbox regardless.

What other cars are similar to the Volkswagen Grand California?

There aren’t any direct rivals to the Grand California – you can’t walk into, say, Ford or Mercedes and buy a campervan. Instead you are looking at buying a base van and then taking it to a converter, or just buying straight from a company that has taken care of the process.


If you want something created by a manufacturer then the only other options are the slightly smaller Volkswagen California or the Ford Transit Custom Nugget that was created in partnership with Westfalia.

Learn more

Volkswagen Grand California Front Interior

On the inside

Volkswagen Grand California Exterior

Driving

Volkswagen Grand California Exterior

How much does it cost to run

Volkswagen Grand California Interior

Prices, versions and specification