Think of camper vans, and we dare say there’s a certain German brand that will pop into the minds of most people before any other. That’s no surprise, seeing as the Volkswagen California can trace its ancestry all the way back to conversions of the original Type 2 Transporter, itself launched in 1950.
Of course, things have changed somewhat since then. The modern ‘T6’ California gets a choice a manual or automatic gearbox and even the option of four-wheel drive so you’re prepared for the traditional Glastonbury mud bath.
There’s also the choice of two versions depending on how seriously you take your camping. Kicking off the range is the Beach which has a couple of fold-out beds, but that’s about it. If you want cooking facilities with gas and water plus a few more luxuries, the pricier Ocean is the one you’re looking for.
So, what competes with a Volkswagen camper? Well, you can order a camper version of the Ford Transit called the Terrier from your local Ford dealership, Mercedes has the V-Class Marco Polo and there’s the far cheaper Ssangyong Turismo Tourist to name just three.
Read on to find out how the California behaves on the road, what it’s like inside and what it’ll cost you. We’ll even let you know what it’s like to sleep in, not something we usually do at What Car? And while you’re here, don’t forget to have a look at out our New Car Buying pages for big savings on tonnes of new cars and vans.