- Grand California 600
To be fair you have a point, traditional motorhomes are normally so pretty
Buy all your VW California Accessories at the Club Shop Visit Shop
So since seeing one at the launch/show, I’ve yet to see one in the wild?
Almost six weeks in total of Euro wanderings this year and I’ve yet to see one!
Hundereds of Adria type Fiat/Citroen based Identivans but no GCs.
* No GC owners were offended during
I bet at least 60% of them were rentals. VW desperate to push them out to grab market from the Ducato based vans , God knows what kind of discount the rentals gotI’m on my last leg of a 6k mile 10 week trip to Nordkapp and I’ve seen so many 600’s I’ve lost count. The rental market loves them. There must have been 6 in the Nordkapp car park alone!
I’m no fan of the GC, particularly the 600. I see them as a failed opportunity, and whilst I maintain the 600 should have had a pop roof and should not have been designed by a dentist, I have to admit the market disagrees….
When I shut the (Cali) Poptop, i need first a walkaround climbing on wheels etc, to clear leaves and other dirt from the recess where the pop-roof sould be lowered into, and from the mechanism. How do you do that in a taller van?
The "slim" Motorhomes are a very interesting compromise solution. Like the Chausson X series, the Knaus Van series, the Adria Compact series, and other just 5cm wider than a Ducato/Sprinter/Crafter van, at 2,10m compared to big whites that are 2,35m. The "slim" motorhomes are considerably lighter than vans and allow to use the space way better and utilise the cargo to the fullest as they are lighter and one can carry a lot before hitting 3,5t, as opposed to vans and classic MH that seldom weight less than 3,1t empty.We've had 2 Calis (T6 and 6.1)from new but reluctantly sold the last one a year back when clambering around to get to sleep became too much. We really wanted to like the GC but for all the reasons given above it just didn't work. Reluctant to move up to a motorhome we were stuck until along comes the Chausson X550. https://www.motorhomes-chausson.co.uk/model/x550/
Its a van (a tad under 6m and just 2.1 wide) with an elevating bed, giving it a huge lounge seating 7, and a great kitchen with a very large fridge freezer. The bathroom is huge extending right across the van width, with a separate shower and changing area. No faffing around making up your bed every day - just press a button and down it comes. The 2024 model should be at the NEC this October. With auto and uprated engine slightly less than the Autosleeper. Hope to pick it up in the new year.
If they’re targeting young families it wouldn’t kill them to update the upholstery and paint job, regardless of how practical it is I wouldn’t buy one as it looks like something my Nan would driveIt didn't address the family of 4 that so many Transporter sized vans wanted as an upgrade...it totally failed in this area.
The Wildax Solaris XL is what the GC should have been..... innovative, larger than a standard Cali but still sleeping 4 without a tent on the roof.
I wonder. how many GCs would have been sold without borrowing the name "California".
I think VW have lost an opportunity, to keep the existent Cali clients that for one reason or another want to upgrade. They should have kept the 4 adult berth, offering a fifth as an option. How many Cali (Ocean)owners here upgrade because they have a new, third child? It should have offered a small "bathroom," a small one for the "emergency" not taking away a big chunk of the space. A table that slides and disappear, not a big heavy slat of wood that needs to stored somewhere away by an adult.
The GC , in my opinion, fails to be a successor , natural upgrade to current Cali Owners (how many here go for Hymer, Westfalia instead), at the same time it shows the inexperience of VW in the traditional van market, offering a layout and solutions that are generations behind the competitors.
It offers a name , VW and California", one warranty for both the mechanical and the habitation part. I fail to see what other advantages it has to comparable vans. It cannot be aesthetics.
One last point about the all in one warranty: what would be the downside owning an Hymer or Autosleeper or other top brand, should you need a repair under warranty?
Hymer and the likes have built a quality reputation, they won't let you down should something happen. They've been building just camper vans for decades, I'm sure their warranty is solid, but you can't show up at any VW dealer to have it fixed. But I would be very wary to let the GC (or the T5/6/6.1Cali) be fixed by any VW dealers. The average VW mechanic knows Jack about campervans. So you'd still have to find a VW dealer that has the trained mehanics to put their hands on your not so trivial habitation part of the van.
What a nice van/motorhome. Agreed much more spacious than the GC. Only drawback is no “garage” space under a rear bed but do you really need it in a van like this?The one that we have decided to aim for is the Autosleepers Bourton. We just need to get all our financial "ducks in a row" first.
Ah ha! I hear you say, That's a motorhome not a large campervan like the GC. However, examine the specification of both and there isn't much of a difference.
Grand California 600
Length - 5.98m
Width - 2.04m
Height - 2.97m
Payload - 417kgs
Gross weight - 3.5t
2023 Price - £82,570
Length - 6.49m
Width - 2.3m
Height - 2.9m
Payload - 520kgs
Gross weight - 3.5t
2023 Price - £97,000
Big diference in price? Actually no. The AS Bourton comes fully loaded at that price whereas the GC600 is the base price before options. By the time you have ticked the options list to bring the spec near to the AS van, the price is almost the same. So apart from the AS Bourton being slightly longer and wider the two vans are pretty much in the same arena. Another bonus is that the Mercedes Benz van offers free roadside assistance for 30years providing you always use MB to carry out the servicing.
Yes, I prefer the build quality of the VW product but the AS product is extremely good as well. There are even less old fashioned fabric options that give the Bourton's interior a more up market contemporary feel. However, leaving all that aside, it is the simple, spacious layout that we like.
Good review but I’d add that I am struggling to find another Crafter/Man based van out there within £12-15k of a Grand Cali by the time you’ve added the DTD discount, free servicing etc.So I found myself with an itch the past week or so, and had an urge to check out a GC600 in the hopes that the van would be better for us as a family; avoid bulky awnings, restricted space and so on.
Personally, I do think the GC is a fail - atleast from a family perspective.
We went to see one yesterday in Ipswich and whilst we would LOVE the additional space....the design layout, material choice and so on just dont make sense.
Firstly, the transversal sleeping position of the 600 (the only family-suitable model) means that there is BARELY enough room for me; very much akin to a PEZ in a dispenser. What's more, is that the Mrs is early nighter, early riser. So one way or another, someone is climbing over the other with that sleeping layout.
The other issue with the bed is that with such little room, if I stretch out my feet, they're rubbing on the walls. In the standard Cali that's not an issue; it's all plastic. The Grand however has fabric all around the walls like an aftermarket conversion. The one we saw was covered with dirt from feet, hands, etc.
Additionally, the white doors etc are wooden; with a myriad of dents and whacks which I cant see surviving the family well.
And the ladder....Jeez. So - to have the upstairs bed accessible, you need the ladder out.....but the ladder sits right outside the toilet/shower door and next to the kitchen. So once the kids are in bed, you're trapped in either the front or rear half of the van. If the rear, you've no access to the fridge or door. If the front, you have no access to the bed or sink. And in both scenarios, no access to the toilet. If they used a vertical ladder or something with less incline, it'll be fine i'm sure - but it just kills all of the layout.
The other major fail for us was the rear seats; two tiny seats that can barely sit two IsoFix side by side. And when the kids are older, no arm rests or areas of support; whether bolsters or lumbar. I can just imagine the agony of driving to France (or anywhere!) with a constant unforgiving 'YOURE ON MY SIDE!'.
The other issues have been talked about at length by many others - table strapped to the bed and not retained in situ, fridge design lets all the air out, everything getting wet in the bathroom etc.
That said - I also loved the concept of a bigger van; a crafter specifically. It's just a shame the layout and materials were a terrible choice.
I think at the end of the day, if you're coming from an Ocean, it's comparing a product that's had decades of refinement with space being a real luxury; so clever storage and design has been paramount - and it shows. The GC however has far more space and perhaps has less clever designs for that very reason. If we had seen the GC before owning the Cali we'd have loved it. But knowing how much things get whacked, knocked, climbed on (chairs, not counters!), the GC is (very sadly!!!) a non-runner for us.
Now, a GC for a couple......absolutely makes sense, minus the inherent design flaws; which all vans have in some way - any van will have a compromise one way or another.
Depends wether you’re prepared to live with a very compromised van…?Good review but I’d add that I am struggling to find another Crafter/Man based van out there within £12-15k of a Grand Cali by the time you’ve added the DTD discount, free servicing etc.
Even if I bought a base Crafter panel van and got a conversion like this done to try and solve the space problem (no dedicated washroom and accomodation all on one level) I’m sure I wouldn’t be far off GC money with what will be a worse finish and poorer residuals.
We created The Alpine Conversion for space, flexibility and practicality. This conversion works in a Mercedes Sprinter, VW Crafter, Peugeot Boxer and Ford Transit.www.tayloredcampervanconversions.co.uk
Regardless of any other reason I think it’ll sell just based on that.
A big fan of Chris' content to be fair - a very objective and unbiased videos (not afraid to call it how he views it) and in subsequent videos tries to resolve some of the issues (ie - electrics updated to allow off grid living etc). And somehow he's managed to make the 600 look a bit less bulbous and a bit more hardcoreI watched this interesting and very relevant video from someone who went from a Cali to GC. Said it all to me TBH
That's exactly what drove us (excuse the pun) to the GC; Crafter. Adria etc do nothing for us, mainly because of that fact.
I agree a great reviewer! His point is that most reviewers on YT are loaned one for a few days or a week so really don't appreciate what they're like to live with.A big fan of Chris' content to be fair - a very objective and unbiased videos (not afraid to call it how he views it) and in subsequent videos tries to resolve some of the issues (ie - electrics updated to allow off grid living etc). And somehow he's managed to make the 600 look a bit less bulbous and a bit more hardcore