Motorhome test VW Grand California 680

The VW Grand California is one of the coolest campers on the market!

Big, bigger, Grand California! At just under seven meters, the long version is not only one of the largest, but also one of the most unusual box vans on the market in terms of appearance. This is how it camps in the futuristic, large Bulli!

Ob Hymer Visionventure, Chausson X550 or Bürstner Lyseo Gallery – in the golden years of the boom, the motorhome manufacturers seem to be more eager to experiment than they have been for a long time. The VW Grand California also made waves after its premiere at the Caravan Salon 2018. Not least because its interior is more reminiscent of the bridge of the spaceship Enterprise than of a cozy living room. And otherwise?

The Grand California promises lightness and lifestyle

VW Grand California 680

At almost seven meters, the Grand California 680 is one of the longest vans.

© Christoph Boerries

That’s him: Basically a puffed up VW California that promises just as much lightness, simplicity and lifestyle as its little, iconic brother. Visually it works wonderfully. But wherever the small Bulli is understatement and shines with its versatility, the Grand California 680 with its almost seven meters in length is simply too big to be used as an everyday vehicle at the same time. As a motorhome, the Crafter-based panel van is absolutely successful. This is not only due to the convincing quality of the entire construction and expansion (except for the cooker cover, nothing rattles at all, very clean sealing joints on the high roof), but also to the clever detailed solutions. (Overview: the new vans from the Caravan Salon)

Technical specifications
Motorization 2.0 TDI 130 kW
power 130 kW (177 hp) at 3600 rpm
Displacement 1968 cc
Torque 410 Nm at 1500-2000 rpm
Top speed 165 km / h
Gearbox / drive Eight-speed DSG / front wheel
Tank capacity / type of fuel 75 l / diesel
Length Width Height 6836/2040/2967 mm
Wheelbase / tires 4490 mm / 235/65 R 16 C
Empty weight ready to drive / payload (test mobile) 3379/501 kg
Trailer load (braked / unbraked) 2000/750 kg
Lying area rear L x W 2000 x 1700 mm
Fridge / incl. icebox 70 l
stove 2 flames
Board battery 92 Ah
Fresh / waste water tank 110/90 l
Gas supply / heating (diesel heating with additional electric heating rods) 2 x 11 kg / Truma Combi D 6 E
Base price from 62,154 euros
Test car price 88,318 euros

The three-part mattress deducts points for the Grand California

VW Grand California 680

Plus point white: the interior is wonderfully bright during the day. “Titanium black-palladium” is the name of the simple design of the cockpit and upholstery.

© Christoph Boerries

He has: When it comes to room layout, VW is still sticking to a tried and tested longitudinal bed concept. The detailed solutions are surprising: We are impressed by the powerful, pull-out refrigerator, the folding washbasin, the motion detector in the bathroom, the induction charging point next to the bench (54 euros) and the step that moves in and out automatically. The numerous roof compartments are divided into two parts and can be opened upwards and downwards. The division is a matter of taste, but ensures order. In the evening, the color-adjustable ambient light in between (524 euros) creates a bar feeling. Unfortunately, points are deducted for the mattress: The three-part division creates two uncomfortable gaps for visitors at night – VW should readjust here! You won’t find a light switch back there either. The lighting switches off when the California is locked.

The slim silhouette also makes the long version nice and manoeuvrable

This is how he drives: Despite its 6.84 meters, the Crafter is surprisingly light-footed. You actually only notice the length when turning. The narrow silhouette, the ergonomically exemplary seating position, the very precise steering, the DSG transmission (together with the powerful 177 hp diesel, by the way, as standard!) And the perfectly functioning assistance systems such as distance control (1226 euros) and crosswind assistant (standard) ensure that the Grand California feels much, much better in the hand than its sheer size suggests at first glance.
Camping accessories to offer

Reimo sun canopy Mauritius

Price *: 149.00 euros

Skandia Moonchair Sirkka

Price *: 69.95 euros

Frankana Freiko Resty garbage separator

Price *: 17.50 euros

Paramondo awning

Price *: 499.00 euros

Wacaco Nanopresso portable espresso machine

Price *: 89.90 euros

* Price: Amazon price on September 7th, 2021

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