Automotive

Volkswagen prices the Grand California camper van and debuts a longer, sleeker trim

Volkswagen prices the Grand Ca...
Volkswagen's Grand California 680 comes with up to six camper cabin windows
Volkswagen's Grand California 680 comes with up to six camper cabin windows
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Volkswagen revealed the first Grand California model, the 600, earlier in August before its official world debut at the 2018 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon
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Volkswagen revealed the first Grand California model, the 600, earlier in August before its official world debut at the 2018 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon
Volkswagen saved the announcement of the Grand California 680 for the Düsseldorf show
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Volkswagen saved the announcement of the Grand California 680 for the Düsseldorf show
The 680 includes a longitudinal double bed in the rear and a more streamlined roofline than the 600
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The 680 includes a longitudinal double bed in the rear and a more streamlined roofline than the 600
The Grand California makes room for equipment with its foldaway rear bed design
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The Grand California makes room for equipment with its foldaway rear bed design
A look at the upper cabinetry and ambient lighting of the VW Grand California 680
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A look at the upper cabinetry and ambient lighting of the VW Grand California 680
The optional outdoor table and chair set stores neatly in the rear doors
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The optional outdoor table and chair set stores neatly in the rear doors
Volkswagen was inspired by yacht design in developing the Grand California, opting for a white interior and deck-style flooring
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Volkswagen was inspired by yacht design in developing the Grand California, opting for a white interior and deck-style flooring
The swivel front seats of the Grand California 680 team with the two-seat bench and dining table in creating the dining area
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The swivel front seats of the Grand California 680 team with the two-seat bench and dining table in creating the dining area
Located just inside the Grand California's sliding door, the kitchen block offers an indoor/outdoor fridge/freezer
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Located just inside the Grand California's sliding door, the kitchen block offers an indoor/outdoor fridge/freezer
The digital command touchscreen inside the Grand California makes it easy to monitor and control various camper features
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The digital command touchscreen inside the Grand California makes it easy to monitor and control various camper features
The Grand California's central wet bath includes a shower, toilet and foldaway sink
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The Grand California's central wet bath includes a shower, toilet and foldaway sink
Move the vanity mirror out of the way to access the Grand California sink ...
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Move the vanity mirror out of the way to access the Grand California sink ...
Then drop it down to wash up
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Then drop it down to wash up
The big change in the Grand California 680 is the addition of a larger bed, which sleeps two lengthwise, rather than across
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The big change in the Grand California 680 is the addition of a larger bed, which sleeps two lengthwise, rather than across
A quick shot of the nautical-style deck flooring inside the Grand California 680
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A quick shot of the nautical-style deck flooring inside the Grand California 680
The Grand California 600 makes its big debut in Düsseldorf
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The Grand California 600 makes its big debut in Düsseldorf
A look in the back of the Grand California 600
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A look in the back of the Grand California 600
Volkswagen doesn't include a full rear pop-out, like Westfalia, but it does extend the sidewalls just a bit to accommodate the Grand California 600's transverse bed
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Volkswagen doesn't include a full rear pop-out, like Westfalia, but it does extend the sidewalls just a bit to accommodate the Grand California 600's transverse bed
The mosquito screen on the VW Grand California 600
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The mosquito screen on the VW Grand California 600
VW Grand California 600 kitchen block
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VW Grand California 600 kitchen block
The kids' bed on the Grand California 600 slides away to increase interior space during the day
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The kids' bed on the Grand California 600 slides away to increase interior space during the day
Sliding out the Grand California 600 kids' roof bed
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Sliding out the Grand California 600 kids' roof bed
The Grand California's slide-out refrigerator is accessible from inside and out
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The Grand California's slide-out refrigerator is accessible from inside and out
The smaller bed in the 600 Grand California trim requires sleeping across the width of the van
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The smaller bed in the 600 Grand California trim requires sleeping across the width of the van
A look at the 600's optional roof bed with panoramic skylight
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A look at the 600's optional roof bed with panoramic skylight
The VW Grand California 680 with optional table and chairs
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The VW Grand California 680 with optional table and chairs
Without the little alcove, the Grand California 680's roofline is smoother and more swept back than the 600's
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Without the little alcove, the Grand California 680's roofline is smoother and more swept back than the 600's
The Grand California provides a folding rear bed and pass-through rear storage for longer gear
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The Grand California provides a folding rear bed and pass-through rear storage for longer gear
Grand California 680 longitudinal bed
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Grand California 680 longitudinal bed
Along with the Grand California 680 (center) and 600 (right), Volkswagen is showing the special edition California 30 Years (left) at the Caravan Salon
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Along with the Grand California 680 (center) and 600 (right), Volkswagen is showing the special edition California 30 Years (left) at the Caravan Salon
VW Grand California hook-ups
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VW Grand California hook-ups
A closer look at the Volkswagen Grand California fridge/freezer
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A closer look at the Volkswagen Grand California fridge/freezer
Volkswagen's Grand California 680 comes with up to six camper cabin windows
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Volkswagen's Grand California 680 comes with up to six camper cabin windows
The Grand California 600 (left) and 680
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The Grand California 600 (left) and 680
VW Grand California 600 at camp
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VW Grand California 600 at camp
Because of its rear bed extension panels, the Grand California 600 offers only two camper windows
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Because of its rear bed extension panels, the Grand California 600 offers only two camper windows
Lying across the width of the Grand California 600
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Lying across the width of the Grand California 600
Grand California bathroom
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Grand California bathroom
Storage space inside the VW Grand California
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Storage space inside the VW Grand California
The Grand California comes standard with an exterior shower hookup
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The Grand California comes standard with an exterior shower hookup
The outdoor door light is also standard
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The outdoor door light is also standard
Interior storage
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Interior storage
The electrically deployed entry step on the VW Grand California
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The electrically deployed entry step on the VW Grand California
Volkswagen offers versatility with its foldaway rear bed and divider panels
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Volkswagen offers versatility with its foldaway rear bed and divider panels
Camping in the VW Grand California 600
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Camping in the VW Grand California 600
With the addition of the optional hide-away roof bed, the Grand California 600 becomes a family camper van
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With the addition of the optional hide-away roof bed, the Grand California 600 becomes a family camper van
A better look at the Grand California kitchen block
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A better look at the Grand California kitchen block

There's much love for the Volkswagen California camper around the world, and it seems that love has only grown to embrace the larger Grand California. So we knew going into the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon that the Grand California would be a key stop. What we didn't know was that Volkswagen would surprise the show with a second model that wasn't part of its original announcement earlier in the month. The larger 6.8-m (22-ft) wheelbase Grand California headlines VW's Düsseldorf appearance, bringing with it a more streamlined roof and a longitudinal double bed. And just like that, the Crafter-based Grand California camper van is officially a family.

The Grand California that Volkswagen detailed in its first announcement in early August is the 6-m (19.7-ft) wheelbase Grand California 600, which comes with a fixed, 1.95 x 1.4-m (6.4 x 4.6-ft) transverse rear bed and optional kids' roof bed. The 6.8-m wheelbase Grand California 680 that VW announced at the show uses its extra size for a larger 2 x 1.7-m (6.6 x 5.6-ft) bed fixed lengthwise in the rear.

Volkswagen saved the announcement of the Grand California 680 for the Düsseldorf show
Volkswagen saved the announcement of the Grand California 680 for the Düsseldorf show

The 680 doesn't offer the optional roof bed and comes with a more streamlined, non-alcove super-high roof that gives it a more traditional van profile. That roof measures 2,850 mm (9.4 ft) high, versus the 600's 3,030-mm-high (9.9-ft) alcove roof. As such, the 680 is positioned as a roomy, luxurious road traveler for two, as opposed to a family camper van.

We haven't seen a full pricing sheet on the Grand California just yet, but Volkswagen has announced that the van will start just under €55,000 (approx. US$64,325) when it goes on sale next year. The entry-level model will be a 600 with 174-hp (130-kW) turbo-diesel four-cylinder driving the front wheels with the help of an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Volkswagen's 4Motion all-wheel drive system will be available optionally, as will navigation, Volkswagen Media Control, a tow bar and other features. The camper options list will include satellite, LTE/Wi-Fi, solar panels, a 2.2-kW roof-mounted air conditioner (replaces rear skylight) and a passenger-side awning.

Camping in the VW Grand California 600
Camping in the VW Grand California 600

Unlike the smaller, multifunctional Transporter-based California, the Crafter-based Grand California is really a dedicated full-time camper van with a permanent camper layout that includes the fixed rear bed, central wet bath and high roof. Beyond their different rear bed and roof layouts, the 600 and 680 are configured the same inside, with a kitchen block just inside the sliding entryway, swivel front seats and a two-seat bench around a dining table, and a central washroom with shower, toilet and fold-down sink.

A look in the back of the Grand California 600
A look in the back of the Grand California 600

Volkswagen looked to the world of yachts for design inspiration, bringing over light, bright interior colors and boat deck-style flooring to give the Grand California a clean, modern look. Light floods in during the day through two standard 700 x 600-mm (28 x 23-in) skylights, and at night an array of direct and indirect lighting fends off darkness. The lights are controlled via individual switches or centrally using the control touchscreen mounted next to the wet bath.

Other standard features of note are the dual-burner stove and 70-L indoor/outdoor pull-out fridge in the kitchen, the 110-L fresh and 90-L waste water tanks, and the gas air and water heating system. The living area includes Bluetooth speakers that can stream music directly from a connected device, like a smartphone or laptop, or play music through the Crafter's infotainment system.

The Grand California 600 (left) and 680
The Grand California 600 (left) and 680

The Volkswagen Grand California will roll out to dealerships in early 2019. You can see more of both the 680 and 600 in the photo gallery and read more about the model in our original article about it.

Source: Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles

2 comments
tsvieps
"Grand California". So will it be sold in the US?
bhtooefr
No, they've been using the California name for 30 years, and none of the models called that have been sold in the US. That said, it is rather annoying that in the US, to get a Class B camper van like this, you're basically looking at $100k before taxes minimum... and European-market prices are usually quoted WITH their much higher taxes, so this is vastly cheaper (true, some options considered essential in the US, like air conditioning, will increase the price, but considering the 19% German VAT that's probably rolled into the claimed price, you're looking at just over half the price of the stuff available here).