30K VW Caddy California mini-camper makes it over to the UK
Volkswagen first introduced the newest and smallest member of its iconic California camper van family in 2020. The Caddy California has been on offer in mainland Europe for over a year and is now launching in the UK. With a price that starts under £31,000 and a standard slide-out mini-kitchen, the Caddy California is Volkswagen's most convincing mini-camper yet, ready to take on the UK's rich market of third-party mini-camper conversions.
From solo campers like the Wheelhome Vikenze II, to some of the world's first and latest hybrid and all-electric mini-RVs, the UK might just have the most impressive market of mini-camper vans in the Western world. And now it again welcomes one of the world's most famous shrunken camper vans.
As detailed during its 2020 world premiere, the Caddy California replaces the Caddy Beach and takes an extra step toward becoming a proper mini-motorhome. Not only does it pack a folding bed, as the Beach did, but it also comes with a slide-out mini-kitchen with single-burner gas stove and drawer space for utensils and cooking tools. It's a very modest kitchen as far as campers go, but it's a kitchen nonetheless, something buyers did not find on the Caddy Beach. Interestingly, the kitchen is included standard on the UK model, whereas it launched as an option in Germany.
The Caddy California doesn't offer a dinette, but the folding outdoor table and chair set that comes standard serves as dining space. Those worried about inclement weather can add the available tail tent to ensure they have a comfortable, sheltered dining area on all their trips.
At night, the Caddy's 78 x 42-in (198 x 107-cm) cup spring bed folds out from its storage place atop the parcel shelf. Unlike in the past, the bed does not rely on the folding rear seats for support, allowing drivers to remove the rear seats if they need extra cargo room instead of passenger space. Without the pop-up or high-roof options available on larger VW California models, the Caddy California sleeps only two adults. Those looking for more sleeping space will need to add the tent.
With five seats standard, the Caddy California is a versatile MPV that's just as ready for everyday driving as it is for camping trips. The lack of the tall driver-side kitchen block included in the larger California vans means a natural, comfortable van interior for everyday driving. Power comes from a standard 112-hp (82-kW) 1.5-liter TSI engine or available 120-hp (88-kW) 2.0-liter TDI.
The Caddy California starts at £30,720 (approx. US$41,750), including RRP and VAT, and the longer Maxi version starts at £32,076 ($43,600). The available £984 California pack adds camping conveniences such as tinted rear glass, a 230-V inverter and a three-pin UK electrical outlet.