The original Volkswagen – what we would come to know as the Beetle – was tiny. The Type 2 bus offered more space. And new models like the Passat and Atlas are that much bigger still. But in terms of interior space and the accommodations fitted therein, VW’s latest is in another league.
It’s called the Grand California, and it stretches six meters (nearly 20 feet) long. That’s a good meter (about three feet) longer than the three-row Atlas crossover, and it’s bigger in just about every other dimension, too.
Into that oversized form, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has fitted sleeping berths, a bathroom with shower, and a kitchen with a 70-liter (18.5-gallon) fridge and twin-burner gas stovetop… everything, we’d say, but the kitchen sink. But it has one of those as well.
It also has a sliding rear door with an electric foldout step for ease of ingress and egress, a Bluetooth-enabled audio system you can control from the back with your tablet or smartphone, panoramic skylights, solar panel on the roof… the works. It can even be had with 4Motion all-wheel drive for venturing off the proverbial beaten path.
VW’s able to fit all that stuff into the Grand California because, while the standard California is based on the Transporter, this one’s based on the larger Crafter. But it still builds upon the automaker’s extensive experience making camper vans. In fact it’s made over 160,000 Californias since the first one debuted based on the old Bulli microbus.
The new Volkswagen Grand California will debut at the Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf, where the manufacturer will reveal all the details – including pricing and launch dates. But despite the name, we wouldn’t expect it to be offered in California – or in any of the other 49 states in the American union.