Volkswagen California Vs Grand California

Which Is The Best Campervan For You?

When choosing a campervan there is a huge array of options from converted commercial vans to vans designed exclusively from new and manufactured as campervans by a range of automotive manufacturers. 

Arguably the most famous of these manufacturers is Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. Volkswagen is renowned for their campervans, starting with the automotive icon which is the 1950s VW Transporter.

Today Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles produce a range of vans and campervans. But which is best? The VW California or the VW Grand California? 

Find out in Inchcape's head to head guide.

Key Differences

Both models feature familiar Volkswagen styling and DNA, the California is based on the VW Transporter van and the larger Grand California is based on the VW Crafter.

The California features a stylish design with smart alloy wheels, sharp lines, LED lights and chrome accents which give a desirable look. The Grand California focuses more on practicality than style with standard halogen lights and black plastics. 

Upfront both models feature a practical dashboard with plenty of storage and cupholders. They both feel built to last due to the durable materials and overall quality. The California however, has a more modern feel thanks to the large central touchscreen which supports smartphone connectivity and the digital driver's display which can be customised to show a range of information. 

Overall, the California has a sharper and more modern looking design inside and out, whilst the Grand California is still one of the most desirable motorhomes available but focuses more on offering practicality. 

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Volkswagen Grand California 9 at Inchcape 1000x562

Engine Choices And Price

The VW California is available with a choice of powerful and efficient TDI engines. The range starts with a manual 2.0 TDI with 150PS costing from £60,050. The most powerful engine available is the automatic DSG 2.0 TDI with 204PS which costs from £76,172 and is only available with the range topping Ocean trim. The cost of the California depends on the specification and engine chosen. 

The VW Grand California is more expensive due to its larger size and there are fewer options to choose from. There is a 600 and 680 version, with the 600 more compact and the 680 a long wheelbase. The Grand California 600 starts from £80,666 and the 680 from £83,362. The one engine choice is an automatic 2.0 TDI with 177PS. 

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Practicality and Space

The VW California offers enough space for four adults, both while driving and camping whereas the Grand California offers space whilst driving for four adults but the second bed is only suitable for children. This is the one of the only things which limits the practicality of the Grand California vs the California. 

In both models you can stand up whilst inside the vehicles, but only in the California when the pop-up roof is erected. 

The California has storage in the kitchen area, under the seats and at the rear. The Grand California has much more storage with cupboards all over the interior and more useable space which means you carry more items and larger items such as a surfboard or BBQ.

The Grand California also offers more practicality when camping due to its bathroom pod which includes a shower, toilet and sink. Whereas, the California does not have any of these facilities, except the kitchen sink. 

Finally, the California is arguably more practical for day to day life due to its smaller size which means you could use it as your everyday vehcile as it is much easier to park and maneuver than the Grand California. 

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Volkswagen California 61 Beach at Inchcape 1000x562



Even though the VW California is smaller it is still a great camping companion. 

It features two full size beds which fold away when not in use which gives space for four adults to camp. The interior is fully adaptable to your needs, with sliding seats and a folding table you can change the setup of the interior. The front seats also rotate so that when stationary, all of the seats face inwards. 

The kitchen area features a two burner gas hob, power points, a sink with cold water and plenty of storage. 

Finally, the pop up awning means there is plenty of headroom and storage above when erected.

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There are a range of advantages to the Grand California when camping vs the California. 

These include the fixed rear bed, which means if you have four passengers you never need to fold up the bed like you do in the California. 

There is a boiler integrated into the Grand California so that it can supply hot and cold water to the kitchen and bathroom sinks. It also has much larger fresh and grey water tanks to support the extra requirements of the bathroom. 

The bathroom pod features a shower, sink and toilet, which unlike in the California means you don't have to leave the vehicle. 

Finally the kitchen has a two burner hob, sink with hot and cold water, lots of storage and a fridge with a freezer compartment. 

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In summary both the VW California and VW Grand California are brilliant campervans. When deciding which is best for you it is worth considering whether this will be your only vehicle or not, your budget and whether you require camping space for four adults or two adults and two children. 

The California is better if you plan to drive it everyday, you want more choice and control over the price and options and you need space for four adults. 

The Grand California is the better option if budget is less of a priority, you plan on it being a second vehicle and you want the home comforts of hot water, a fixed bed and bathroom pod. 

Click below to compare the models for yourself at Inchcape Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
Volkswagen California 61 at Inchcape 1000x562