Camper van comparison test: costs

The Volkswagen California, Mercedes V-Class Marco Polo and Ford Transit Nugget really do let you take everything with you, including the kitchen sink. But which is best?...

Volkswagen California Ocean 2021 boot

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

The Marco Polo is the only one of our competitors that’s available with a Target Price discount, making it the cheapest to buy outright, while the California is the most expensive.

Factor in all the costs that a private cash buyer is likely to face, such as fuel, insurance, servicing and depreciation, and you’ll find the Nugget is the priciest to own over three years, with the California working out £399 cheaper over that period and the Marco Polo a whopping £1815 less.

Ford Transit Custom Nugget 2021 boot

Thanks to a hefty deposit contribution from Ford and a relatively low APR rate, the Nugget is the cheapest on a PCP finance deal. The California and Marco Polo will set you back at least £298 a month more.

The Marco Polo is not only the cheapest to buy outright and run but also the best equipped. As well as the leather upholstery and the electric tailgate, door, rear seats and roof we mentioned earlier, you get three-zone climate control, 19in wheels and heated front seats. The California also comes with three-zone climate control and heated front seats, but big wheels are a pricey option and you can’t even get leather seats. As for the Nugget, it has the fewest luxuries.

Mercedes V-Class Marco Polo 2021 boot

The safety experts at Euro NCAP have tested the vans on which our competitors are based, albeit under much less stringent rules than those that exist now. They found the V-Class the best at protecting occupants from injury, and although the Transit Custom equalled the V-Class’s five-star rating, it got lower scores in most areas. The Volkswagen Transporter could manage only a four-star rating.

Both the Marco Polo and California come with automatic emergency braking as standard, but this important driver aid is only an option on the Nugget.

Camper van comparison test costs

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