We’ve seen it, we’ve been in it! Tucked away in the far left corner of this year’s Covi show was a humble stand of Volkswagen’s 2 new offerings. The California Ocean and the Grand California, both were the 4 motion 4×4 options. They are sexy units, in part because unlike all other RV’s these are the only car manufacturer made ones. Everything seems to integrate just that little bit better. They both feel very well made.
Before we go further there is one huge elephant in the room. Overseas VW has drawn criticism for the eye watering price tag of both. And it would appear VW NZ is trying to contain that a bit; in the UK a Cali Ocean costs 69,000 sterling [$ 142,000 nzd.] The Grand costs 79,000 sterling [$162,000 nzd.]
VW NZ’s price tags are $139,000+ orc for the Ocean and the hinted tag for the Grand is $160,000.
To put that in perspective a brand new 4 berth Fiat Ducato camper will set you back $120,000 -135,000 nzd. That’s a lot of fun dockets in difference.
What we didn’t like [a part from the price tag]. Although both vehicles are right-hand drive, both houses [the camper part] were still orientated to a left hand drive car. The sliding doors were on the driver’s side. If you pull over roadside you are opening the side door to the traffic.
What we loved; they are both 4×4. While you’re not going to be taking a VW Cali over Molesworth Station, you sure are going up the hill in winter to the slopes in style.
The Cali Ocean features a time-tested layout of most modern T3-T5 campers. An electric/hydraulic poptop creating a generous double bed in the roof. A rock’n’roll bed downstairs that at a pinch can sleep 2. The standard sink and kitchenette runs along the left hand side. The front seats rotate to create a nice lounge area.
The Grand is based on a VW Crafter chassis. And the layout is quite different to the Ocean. There is no Poptop, it’s a high roof with really nice skylights. There isn’t a trademark rock’n’roll bed. Instead there is a dedicated double bed platform/bedroom at the rear. There is a bathroom cubicle with a shower. The small kitchenette unit runs down the right-hand side. Like the Ocean the front seats rotate to create a lounge area. Above the lounge area is a teeny tiny bed option for the kids.
If you are a VW fanatic you’ll be seriously tempted by both. If you’re not then at the very least you’ll be inspired and impressed by how VW do it with style.