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

Ford Nugget review

danvan

danvan

VIP Member
Messages
69
Location
London
Vehicle
Motorhome
We recently traded-in our 2013 Cali SE, and I promised to post a review of the Ford Nugget we've bought to replace it. I appreciate this is a Cali owners forum, so everyone is sold on the idea of a Cali, I'm not trying to persuade anyone to follow suit, I just thought it'd be useful info.

It's worth noting the context of our situation, we're a family of five, with kids of 12,10 and 7. Our Cali was a well used, ex-hire, 2013 model and we had to use the 5th seat for travel (and then take it out again to camp or use the van for anything other than travelling).

We only spent the one night in the Nugget, just to make sure all was well ahead of our summer holiday. I've set out below the pros and cons, plus other thoughts.

Pros
- The Westfalia parts of the van feel very well put together, I'm no longer worried the kids will kick all the doors in (we had to replace a couple of doors in the Cali for this reason). I'd question whether white is a practical colour for the units though.
- Not having to remove the 5th seat is a game changer. Not only is that a major faff, it robs all the space inside when it's there
- Having three access points (tailgate, and side doors each side) opens the van right up when camping and is really practical with the kids when using it as a car
- I was able to make dinner in the kitchen while my wife played board games with the kids on the table. That will be so much more convenient on cold/rainy days than sending the kids into the roof.
- The roof bed is much wider than the Cali, so we can use that for all three kids quite comfortably. In the Cali we were putting two kids downstairs, one across the front seats and us upstairs. That meant carrying a KFoam cab mattress, which took up a lot of boot space.
- All bedding (for five) goes in a hatch behind the rear seats, all camping extras go under the seats (about 2x the size of the Cali underseat storage), and there is a cupboard for the Porta Potti. So the boot area remains free to start camping as soon as we arrive. For our summer trip I'll use that space for 2x inflatable kayaks and the SUP.
- There is a nice deep cupboard for five fold up Decathlon chairs. You get two Westfalia chairs with the van, but they are massive and there is nowhere obvious for them. Whilst we had the 2x VW chairs in the Cali tailgate, three more chairs in the Cali boot took up yet more space.
- It has an electric hot water boiler. I didn't think we'd need it, but actually being able to wash up in hot water in a decent sized sink was good and saved a trip to the washing up area. Now if I could only figure out how to turn the boiler off.
- Being 7 years newer, it feels more modern and has an auto gearbox to make things more relaxing.

Cons
- The Ford part of the van feels a bit more functional. It's more plasticky than the Cali, which may actually wear better, but is less plush.
- There is less kitchen storage. On the Cali we had one shelf for plates, one for pots, and then two for food. On the Nugget we have one shelf for plates, another for pots, a tall and thin cupboard (which would take about 4x wine bottle and some sauce bottles) and then a half shelf for food (think 10 cans of beans).
- The swivel seats don't lock into position facing backwards. It's annoying that they move around.
- The table is stored behind the rear seats, the table leg under the seats. That's more faff than the Cali, but actually to get the table up in the Cali we had to remove the 5th seat, so the Nugget wins
- We carry a roof box and single bike rack on the roof (and then four bikes on the back). We had the electric roof on the cali and that stayed up fine once we'd removed the bike and most of the weight out the roof box. The Nugget roof drops a bit with the weight of the empty roof box and bike rack. The actual roof does lock into position, so there is no fear of it coming down, but without the weight it sits about 5cm higher than the stopper on the locking mechanism.
- Having to put a towbar bike rack on is less convenient than folding down the VW rack on the tailgate
- I miss the waves from other Cali owners. Although I did have a roofer admire the van the other day, he also had a Transit.
- The Nugget name. Seriously, who thought of that?

In terms of cost, we paid £60k for the Nugget which was 17 months old and has 7,500 miles on the clock. We got £30k trade-in on the Cali, the same as I paid for it in November 2019. The Ford dealer in Christchurch had the Cali up for £38k, but it's been sat there for 2 months and is now down to £36k. £60k feels a lot for a Transit, but it's going to work much better for us, which is really down to the size of our family and the way we'll use it.

I can't see the Nugget catching on in the same way as the California, but I had a courtesy call from the Ford dealer last week and he told me they've taken lots of orders, but also lot of people were being put off by the 12 month wait. I'm still hopeful of seeing another on the road at some point.

Any questions, just let me know!

Nugget 1 (2).jpg

Nugget 2.jpg
 
Ocean Spirit

Ocean Spirit

Eating Ice Cream, skimming stones.
Top Poster
VIP Member
Messages
1,702
Location
Hampshire
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
I was able to make dinner in the kitchen while my wife played board games with the kids on the table. That will be so much more convenient on cold/rainy days than sending the kids into the roof.

Tell us more?
 
Bellcrew

Bellcrew

Messages
1,250
Location
Lymington
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
I was able to make dinner in the kitchen while my wife played board games with the kids on the table. That will be so much more convenient on cold/rainy days than sending the kids into the roof.

Tell us more?
With the roof up or down?
 
Camperfamily

Camperfamily

VIP Member
Messages
678
Location
Edinburgh
Vehicle
T5 SE 180
As we’re currently navigating the challenges of a 3 child family with our SE, this is an interesting post.

Did you consider a Beach at all?
 
Georgiegirl

Georgiegirl

Messages
215
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204
Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed and well balanced comparison. We saw the Nugget at Carfest last year and were really impressed.it’s good to hear a review from someone that actually has one and can compare to the Cali experience
 
K

Kernowboy

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
642
Location
Cornwall
Vehicle
T6.1 Ocean 204 4 motion
Interesting, thanks for posting.

Much better payload in the Nugget too - 5 up with bikes, roof box, kayaks, sups etc.; no way you would get that lot in an Ocean/SE legally. Big ‘pro’ in my opinion, 1 of the main limitations on a Cali.
 
peregrinus

peregrinus

VIP Member
Messages
105
Interesting review thanks.

Is the fuel mpg similar?
Did you consider selling the vw privately and seeking a cash discount on the ford?
 
GrahamB

GrahamB

VIP Member
Messages
531
Location
Dorset
Vehicle
T6.1 Ocean 150
Great review - really interesting practical points. Thanks for sharing. Please to come back and write a longer term review after your upcoming trip!
 
sapto

sapto

Top Poster
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
3,336
Location
Central Switzerland
Vehicle
T5 SE 130
Thanks for sharing and it is great to read your view. IMO it is very important to be open minded also re other forms of camping.
Keep us postet and stay with us.
 
edocali

edocali

Messages
159
Location
Kingston, UK
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
thanks for posting, does the Nugget offer open (not in drawer) storage like in the Cali boot ?
 
chez786

chez786

VIP Member
Messages
87
Location
bingley
Vehicle
Just browsing
Great review. I also seen one of these at a camping show . Thought the layout wa perfect for a family
 
Ch1pbutty

Ch1pbutty

Top Poster
VIP Member
Messages
2,808
Location
Burgess Hill
Vehicle
T5 Beach
Saw a LWB Nugget style conversion at a friends BBQ at the weekend. Only difference from the Nugget was that it had large storage lockers instead of the toilet / 2nd basin. The extra length also gives alot of open storage.

They were a family of 5, but had added an extra board above the toilet so that smaller child could sleep across the van roof.

Owner said the only downside was that you had to spin the front seats round to fold the downstairs bed out, but not a big drawback,

Was very impressed, huge amount of space, still seated 5, hot water and manual non corroding roof. Easy to multi task without the usual van shuffle (with roof up of course). 3 access points (twin sliding + boot) was good.

Be great if VW with come out with some alternatives.
 
WelshGas

WelshGas

Retired after 42 yrs and enjoying Life.
Super Poster
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
22,328
Location
United Kingdom
Vehicle
T5 SE 180 4Motion
Saw a LWB Nugget style conversion at a friends BBQ at the weekend. Only difference from the Nugget was that it had large storage lockers instead of the toilet / 2nd basin. The extra length also gives alot of open storage.

They were a family of 5, but had added an extra board above the toilet so that smaller child could sleep across the van roof.

Owner said the only downside was that you had to spin the front seats round to fold the downstairs bed out, but not a big drawback,

Was very impressed, huge amount of space, still seated 5, hot water and manual non corroding roof. Easy to multi task without the usual van shuffle (with roof up of course). 3 access points (twin sliding + boot) was good.

Be great if VW with come out with some alternatives.
Checkout the Marco Polo forum and you'll see what can happen to Westfalia pop top roofs. They have their problems.
 
jonr71

jonr71

VIP Member
Messages
121
Location
London
Vehicle
T6.1 Ocean 204
If it wasn't just the 2 of us in a van, I think the Cali could be a challenge. I hired a Cali when my kids were young 6 & 8 and it was fine. but if we had a 3rd, I can't imagine we would have managed. Having hired bigger vans, we found that for 2 of us, a fixed bed had no real benefit - it just made the van bigger, which limited where we felt comfortable going with it. I would imagine that the Transit is an ideal compromise when you have >2 or older kids without sacrificing where you can go.
 
W

Wannabecamperman

Messages
11
Location
Birmingham
Vehicle
Looking to buy
I read your post with interest, as the newer shape Nugget (with larger pop-top windows and a full colour touch screen control panel at the rear) is looking most likely to be my van of choice when I finally complete my house sale, hopefully early next year. Please update the thread with more comparisons / findings after a longer stay, if you would.

And Blue Merle, 'The Cali camper family on YouTube switched from Cali to nugget pop and now got a nugget plus worth watching some of there YouTube if anyone is interested in buying a nugget' - I am also a big fan of how the English family (though they live and work in Italy) have made themselves at home in their new Nugget Plus Hi-Top, and much of my research has been by watching their exploits - good shout!
 
Camperfamily

Camperfamily

VIP Member
Messages
678
Location
Edinburgh
Vehicle
T5 SE 180
@danvan how are you getting on with your Nugget?

We’re thinking about buying either a Nugget Plus or a Beach, so keen to hear your experience
 
Multi1100

Multi1100

Messages
140
Location
Netherlands
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
We recently traded-in our 2013 Cali SE, and I promised to post a review of the Ford Nugget we've bought to replace it. I appreciate this is a Cali owners forum, so everyone is sold on the idea of a Cali, I'm not trying to persuade anyone to follow suit, I just thought it'd be useful info.

It's worth noting the context of our situation, we're a family of five, with kids of 12,10 and 7. Our Cali was a well used, ex-hire, 2013 model and we had to use the 5th seat for travel (and then take it out again to camp or use the van for anything other than travelling).

We only spent the one night in the Nugget, just to make sure all was well ahead of our summer holiday. I've set out below the pros and cons, plus other thoughts.

Pros
- The Westfalia parts of the van feel very well put together, I'm no longer worried the kids will kick all the doors in (we had to replace a couple of doors in the Cali for this reason). I'd question whether white is a practical colour for the units though.
- Not having to remove the 5th seat is a game changer. Not only is that a major faff, it robs all the space inside when it's there
- Having three access points (tailgate, and side doors each side) opens the van right up when camping and is really practical with the kids when using it as a car
- I was able to make dinner in the kitchen while my wife played board games with the kids on the table. That will be so much more convenient on cold/rainy days than sending the kids into the roof.
- The roof bed is much wider than the Cali, so we can use that for all three kids quite comfortably. In the Cali we were putting two kids downstairs, one across the front seats and us upstairs. That meant carrying a KFoam cab mattress, which took up a lot of boot space.
- All bedding (for five) goes in a hatch behind the rear seats, all camping extras go under the seats (about 2x the size of the Cali underseat storage), and there is a cupboard for the Porta Potti. So the boot area remains free to start camping as soon as we arrive. For our summer trip I'll use that space for 2x inflatable kayaks and the SUP.
- There is a nice deep cupboard for five fold up Decathlon chairs. You get two Westfalia chairs with the van, but they are massive and there is nowhere obvious for them. Whilst we had the 2x VW chairs in the Cali tailgate, three more chairs in the Cali boot took up yet more space.
- It has an electric hot water boiler. I didn't think we'd need it, but actually being able to wash up in hot water in a decent sized sink was good and saved a trip to the washing up area. Now if I could only figure out how to turn the boiler off.
- Being 7 years newer, it feels more modern and has an auto gearbox to make things more relaxing.

Cons
- The Ford part of the van feels a bit more functional. It's more plasticky than the Cali, which may actually wear better, but is less plush.
- There is less kitchen storage. On the Cali we had one shelf for plates, one for pots, and then two for food. On the Nugget we have one shelf for plates, another for pots, a tall and thin cupboard (which would take about 4x wine bottle and some sauce bottles) and then a half shelf for food (think 10 cans of beans).
- The swivel seats don't lock into position facing backwards. It's annoying that they move around.
- The table is stored behind the rear seats, the table leg under the seats. That's more faff than the Cali, but actually to get the table up in the Cali we had to remove the 5th seat, so the Nugget wins
- We carry a roof box and single bike rack on the roof (and then four bikes on the back). We had the electric roof on the cali and that stayed up fine once we'd removed the bike and most of the weight out the roof box. The Nugget roof drops a bit with the weight of the empty roof box and bike rack. The actual roof does lock into position, so there is no fear of it coming down, but without the weight it sits about 5cm higher than the stopper on the locking mechanism.
- Having to put a towbar bike rack on is less convenient than folding down the VW rack on the tailgate
- I miss the waves from other Cali owners. Although I did have a roofer admire the van the other day, he also had a Transit.
- The Nugget name. Seriously, who thought of that?

In terms of cost, we paid £60k for the Nugget which was 17 months old and has 7,500 miles on the clock. We got £30k trade-in on the Cali, the same as I paid for it in November 2019. The Ford dealer in Christchurch had the Cali up for £38k, but it's been sat there for 2 months and is now down to £36k. £60k feels a lot for a Transit, but it's going to work much better for us, which is really down to the size of our family and the way we'll use it.

I can't see the Nugget catching on in the same way as the California, but I had a courtesy call from the Ford dealer last week and he told me they've taken lots of orders, but also lot of people were being put off by the 12 month wait. I'm still hopeful of seeing another on the road at some point.

Any questions, just let me know!

View attachment 95879

View attachment 95880
Did you consider the Nugget Plus withHigh Top?

Ford-Westfalia-Nugget-Plus-HighTop-2-0-TDCI-150PK-AUTOMAAT-3.jpg
 
Kemper-van

Kemper-van

Messages
162
Location
Belgium
Vehicle
T6.1 Beach camper 150
@danvan how are you getting on with your Nugget?

We’re thinking about buying either a Nugget Plus or a Beach, so keen to hear your experience
I’m running a 6.1 Beach 4motion (150hp) and Nugget SWB poptop (130hp) alongside each other (small rental operation), but use both for own camping trips with 3 kids as well.

In terms of driving comfort the Beach wins easily. Less crashy on bad roads, quieter inside (we have the double layered glazing), more comfort in the back with 3-zone aircon, larger backseat, big boot behind the seats. Allows it to be used as ‘normal’ family car if you want. For camping, this large bench is superb to sleep 3 kids. We have been doing this a lot!
The Beach pop-out kitchen isn’t really used. We carry a vangear mini pod in the back instead.

For camping, the Nugget has some clear advantages:
- just a bit wider, makes a difference
- easier access to the roofbed (no climbing on front seats)
- you can do and reach everything from inside. So much easier than with the Beach. Allows much easier early/late season trips.
- 3 room layout means you’re not in each others way while cooking.
- no need to lower the handbrake to swivel driver’s seat :) (take note, VW!)
- roof bed is larger, but with growing kids, just not wide enough anymore
- you can still use the kitchen floor area as ‘normal’ boot, but it’s less practical as family car. With the LWB Plus with Poptop, you get a lot more floor space in the kitchen.
- with the LWB, you also have the advantage of a really useable toilet.
But, you can’t slide the bench forward or backwards during driving in the nugget… And there is no aircon in the back, nor do you have radio speakers for the backseat when choosing the pop-top Nugget.

For driving, i prefer the Beach. For camping in early/late season, I take the nugget. For summer camping, we prefer the beach! We have not had issues with the height. In France, half of our highway miles with the Nugget were registered as below 2 meters…

Personally, I would love to have a combi of both :cool: :
- wider & more comfortable bench of the beach in the nugget
- better quality of the beach
- 4motion drivetrain
- central display of the beach. The new dometic screen has its issues….
- smaller kitchen

Luckily, VW and Ford are now co-developping the next custom / transporter. :cool:
 
danvan

danvan

VIP Member
Messages
69
Location
London
Vehicle
Motorhome
@danvan how are you getting on with your Nugget?

We’re thinking about buying either a Nugget Plus or a Beach, so keen to hear your experience
With three kids the Nugget is significantly better for us compared to our old SE/Ocean. There's much more space when camping, it feels bigger because you have the rear access to the kitchen, and works better for a family meal (you can seat five rather than four). And no need to lug an extra seat in and out.

It is also our main family car, and works well for that purpose too. The kids are closer to us, there's a massive boot, and sliding doors both sides is really handy.

As the kids get bigger though, we'll struggle to have them all sleep in the Nugget (despite the much bigger roof bed). We once hired a Beach and that worked best for sleeping five of us, but with no storage it was cluttered and chaotic inside. That may be where we end up in a couple of years if we want to continue the family camping thing.

As a base van, I've got no complaints with the Transit. It's a relaxed cruiser (we have the 185 engine and auto box) and no noticeable fall in performance when fully loaded. Whereas our VW sat very low at the back, the Transit sits up a lot and has a lot of suspension travel. That makes for a bouncy ride at the back, but does mean the mud flaps aren't dragging on the ground when fully loaded.

The Westfalia conversion parts have held up well do far. The furniture is made of thicker material than in the VW, so stand up to more abuse from the kids than our VW did.

My biggest concern is what happens if something camping related goes wrong, or breaks. From what I've read on Facebook groups, parts have to be order via Ford (who then liaise with Westfalia), but Nugget specialist Ford dealers aren't that clued up. I've not tested that yet, but the Ford dealer I bought from in Christchurch seemed well informed and managed to obtain a replacement table for me in a few days.

Finally, I've seem a few people mention the lack of aircon and speakers in the rear compartment. I was also concerned about this, but we've had no complaints from the kids (even during 38 degree journeys in France last summer). The rear passengers are closer to the front air con vents than in the VW , and our SE's rear speakers were always covered when fully loaded anyway.
 
Kemper-van

Kemper-van

Messages
162
Location
Belgium
Vehicle
T6.1 Beach camper 150
With three kids the Nugget is significantly better for us compared to our old SE/Ocean. There's much more space when camping, it feels bigger because you have the rear access to the kitchen, and works better for a family meal (you can seat five rather than four). And no need to lug an extra seat in and out.

It is also our main family car, and works well for that purpose too. The kids are closer to us, there's a massive boot, and sliding doors both sides is really handy.

As the kids get bigger though, we'll struggle to have them all sleep in the Nugget (despite the much bigger roof bed). We once hired a Beach and that worked best for sleeping five of us, but with no storage it was cluttered and chaotic inside. That may be where we end up in a couple of years if we want to continue the family camping thing.

As a base van, I've got no complaints with the Transit. It's a relaxed cruiser (we have the 185 engine and auto box) and no noticeable fall in performance when fully loaded. Whereas our VW sat very low at the back, the Transit sits up a lot and has a lot of suspension travel. That makes for a bouncy ride at the back, but does mean the mud flaps aren't dragging on the ground when fully loaded.

The Westfalia conversion parts have held up well do far. The furniture is made of thicker material than in the VW, so stand up to more abuse from the kids than our VW did.

My biggest concern is what happens if something camping related goes wrong, or breaks. From what I've read on Facebook groups, parts have to be order via Ford (who then liaise with Westfalia), but Nugget specialist Ford dealers aren't that clued up. I've not tested that yet, but the Ford dealer I bought from in Christchurch seemed well informed and managed to obtain a replacement table for me in a few days.

Finally, I've seem a few people mention the lack of aircon and speakers in the rear compartment. I was also concerned about this, but we've had no complaints from the kids (even during 38 degree journeys in France last summer). The rear passengers are closer to the front air con vents than in the VW , and our SE's rear speakers were always covered when fully loaded anyway.
True, back seat is indeed closer in nugget, but the beach gives more flexibility to really shift the bench forward on any given position. In the nugget, you have to stick to the furthest back position anyway.

With no speakers in the back, we need to turn the radio up so much it becomes uncomfortable in the front. We now use a portable bluetooth speaker (UE Boom) which is positioned somewhere in between. :)

No aircon in the back just takes longer to cool the interior. Although in winter, having the parking heater on while driving is more important. It remained really cold in the back during the cold spell. Unfortunately, with the new dometic display in the kitchen, you can no longer control it while driving. And no remote starting of the heater anymore. So much for progress.… :-(

i really like both, difficult to choose between beach and nugget. Both have ++ and — .
 
Top