Climb aboard the Grand California and you’ll be greeted by a front compartment that betrays its commercial van origins; it’s constructed from the same hard-wearing materials you’ll find in the regular Volkswagen Crafter van. Unlike the smaller California, which uses soft-touch plastics, the Grand California uses the variety that’s typically reserved for school chairs. It’s also easy to scuff, particularly the door cards; they’re easily marked when you attempt to swivel a front seat without first opening the door for clearance.
The front seats are actually similar to those of the range-topping Highline-spec Crafter, with four-way electrically adjustable lumbar support and fold-down armrests on either side of the backrest. Factor in an adjustable steering wheel and it won’t take you long to find a comfortable driving position.
Forward visibility is good because of the raised driving position and big windows, and the door mirrors are big enough to help with any potential blindspots (there’s even a secondary mirror below the main one that allows you to see the kerb). As with most motorhomes, though, there’s barely any view directly backwards. The wet room obscures one of the back windows, leaving you with just a single pane of glass, smaller than an A4 sheet of paper, to see through. While front and rear parking sensors are standard, you have to pay extra for a reversing camera. This really ought to be standard fitment on a vehicle this big.
Every Grand California comes with an 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system incorporating Bluetooth, sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity and a DAB radio. The screen itself is logical to use and benefits from shortcut buttons for all the major functions. It’s not the most modern-looking infotainment system, but it does the job. The other touchscreen can be found on the outside wall of the wet room and allows you to adjust the hot water and central heating temperature or get a water level update. It will also tell you the status of the leisure battery (this is on a separate circuit from the main battery and powers the interior lights, fridge and other systems in the living area), among other things.