Buy all your VW California Accessories at the Club Shop Visit Shop

First hand view of the Grand California



Home is where you park it
VIP Member
T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
Ok, my view of the Grand California and yes I know it doesn’t compare with the ‘original’ Cali......

First of all it’s a very difficult question to answer because vans are always a set of compromises and there are no right answers. What I have decided to do is a comparison with what I see as a strong contender in the market segment VW is trying to enter. I’m also writing this on my phone so expect a few errors....

For me the stand out van conversation (and there are hundreds of different takes on the same idea) of the show was the Adria 640Sl twin. For me it hits the price/quality balance on the nail and I think it’s an ideal comparison against the Grand Cali 680. There is also an Adria 600 twin which compares well with the Grand 600

I liked the Adria because the quality of the fittings were as good as any and the interior design was well thought out. It was clear Adria had been in the conversion business some time. I was particularly impressed with the way a hinged partition separated the shower from the toilet and that it had a full length fridge. What didn’t bode so well was the small cooker and lack of leg space around the table. There was plenty of storage and room for two 6’ people to lay down comfortably in the bed.

The vehicle driving area however lacks the quality ‘feel’ of the VW....

The length of the vehicle was 640cm and height 250cm

Basic price is about £45k and when spec’d up with the 150bhp engine, auto box, air-con, radio, alloys etc the price can push £60k.

Comparing to the Grand the first thing I noted was the cooker is a similar size to the Ocean which is better than the Adria. I guess this is down to not having the full length fridge and the associated use of space. The size of the cooker/sink is where the Grand comparison with its smaller sibling ends. Where the Ocean makes use of wrapped aluminium the Grand uses wood. I get the impression budget compromises apply.

I found the interior fittings do not reflect the Oceans quality and it didn’t match the finish or feel of Adria’s offering also.

On this point I had a long chat with one of VW’s senior marketing men who tells me they are still working on the quality and they expect some things to change. I also mentioned the lack of storage space when in bed for books/glasses along with an option for phone charging, which he took on board.

The toilet and shower seemed very basic compared to the Adria and the sink is quite odd... I hope that gets changed before the production gets finalised. It did seem a bit Heath Robinson.... to add to that the the tap also acts as the shower head but seems to lack anywhere to attach it. This leaves you to hold the shower head above your head whilst showing. My wife thinks it must have been designed by a bald man.... I think they didn’t look at what was available in the market before designing the ablutions area. The Adria however has a large fixed separate shower head and the ablutions are a significant improvement on the VW.

I also found the fridge design a bit odd compared to the ocean. One of the key benefits of a top loading fridge is the cold air doesn’t spill out when you open it. Now when you open the Grands fridge you lose all the cold air and the battery and compressor has to presumably work hard to cool things back down again. I guess the same can be said of the conventional fridge of the Adria though.

The Grand 680 is an additional 40cm long and some of that size is noticeable in the sitting/dining area with a bit more leg space at the table. The table seems to be a bit more usable too.

There also seems to be a bit more storage space with better use of the overhead lockers, though it tends to look like an airline cabin.

The Grand also comes with outside table and chairs stowed in the rear doors, the Adria doesn’t.

Aside from the length the Grand does seem to be much more roomy which may be down to the use of largely white fittings and/or down to the additional 25cm of height.

There are a couple of things the Grand does do that the Adria doesn’t... 4motion and if you go for the additional bunk bed, space for 4 to sleep. This does raise the height of the van to 3m though and starts to put it in to the coach built category, mentioned later.

The length of the Grand is 680cm and height 265cm (300cm with bunk bed)

Quoted price of the Grand 600 is 57000€ (to be confirmed) which I expect will translate to the region of £75-80,000 with 4motion, auto lights, radio.... etc.... which will put it firmly in the larger coach built category.... Here the Adria 640 SL plus is strong and if you’re happy with the extra size the Adria would be much easier to live with.

So would I buy? What draws me to the Grand is 4motion and vehicle quality but I suspect the decision will hinge on whether the final price reflects those extra benefits, and also if the production vehicle sorts out shower/sink and quality issues.

I feel this is still very much a pre production model and would expect there are still many improvements in the pipeline.

If I wasn’t interested in the 4motion, as it stands, I’d definitely go for the Adria....
Thanks again for taking your time to write such detailed sumup
Just thinking about Adria works on a Crafter based vehicle...
Excellent review,

I would agree totally with your final comments on pricing and value for money. If VW follow their normal marketing procedure then a 'higher spec' vehicle will cost a fortune. They will have to pull out something special on the interior innovations if they are to compete with the rest of the pack.
My thoughts exactly, many of us buy the Cali because it’s VW from the shell up,if the Grand Cali is just a conversion of a Crafter then there’s better out there
An excellent review 'Itscalledbob'.
Two years ago I had a Swift motorhome based upon the ubiquitous Ducato chassis. Getting the two components to communicate was a real pain and after two months of ownership I gave up and sold it on to return to caravanning.
I still like the concept though and the driving of these vehicles is a lot of fun.
Having owned VW Estate cars, as a caravan tugger, for many years I am very enthusiastic about VW quality and certainly, the idea of having the 'Cab and Hab' thing under one roof is a huge influence. From the pictures published the dashboard looks very clean and modern as does the interior which after 30 years in Norway really appeals to my now Scandinavian taste. Light, clean and modern.
I will be following the progress of Grand California and look forward to reading the positive comments to follow.
It all seems to have gone quiet in Germany. Has anyone heard any more about expected production dates etc?
At the Caravan Salon VW informed me the price list would be available in November and the vehicles would be available to order on Jan 1st..... pleased I didn't hold my breath...
If, you’re not seven foot tall, how do you put the awning legs away?
I seem to remember them say its electric so the same way as the awning works on the big whites nowadays