Volkswagen Grand California review

Costs & verdict

Volkswagen Grand California 2019 RHD boot open
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Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Some will baulk at the Grand California’s substantial asking price, but it compares favourably with other van-based motorhome conversions. Plus, the regular California has historically been one of the slowest-depreciating vehicles you can buy, maintaining well over half its original value after three years. This should make buying one on finance a relatively attractive proposition.

Official fuel economy and CO2 emissions have yet to be announced, so we can’t say for certain yet how much the Grand California will cost you to run. However, the trip computer on our pre-production test vehicle suggested a real-world fuel economy of around 25mpg, on a mixture of smaller country lanes, town driving and fast motorways in particularly blustery conditions.

All Grand Californias come with 17in alloy wheels, manual air conditioning, sat-nav, cruise control, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. There are four three-pin plug sockets and six USB charging points dotted around the interior. 

Families might prefer the 600 because its higher roof allows it to accomodate more people, while the longer 680 could be the one for retired couples who want all the luxuries of home and generally take longer road trips.

Euro NCAP hasn’t safety tested the Grand California or the Crafter van on which it is based, but there is a decent amount of safety tech as standard. This includes automatic emergency braking (AEB), along with the usual electronic stability control systems. 

The Grand California’s three-year, 100,000-mile warranty applies not only to the mechanical parts of the vehicle but also its internal fixtures and appliances. 

Volkswagen Grand California 2019 RHD boot open
Volkswagen Grand California 2019 front tracking, tight
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While there are cheaper van-based motorhomes, the fact that the Grand California is built in-house by Volkswagen and is covered by a comprehensive warranty will appeal to many. It’s also very well thought out inside and comes with plenty of appliances to make camping trips a piece of cake.

  • Torquey diesel engine
  • Practical
  • Slow depreciation
  • Can’t disguise its bulk in corners
  • Pricey
  • Unappealing plastics up front