Volkswagen has added a new model to its California range of campervans – and it is its most compact example yet.
The Caddy California, revealed by the German car manufacturer this week, is designed for holidaying couples, featuring just the one double bed that folds out over the rear seats.
But if you do want to take a bigger group on a staycation, VW has added the option of a specially-made tent that attaches to the back of the van to double the sleeping capacity. And users will even be able to cook for their guests from the comfort of their mini-motorhome, as it comes equipped with a micro-kitchen on rails that extends from a small compartment in the boot.
If introduced in the UK, it would be priced at around £27,000, including the tent.
Compact camper: VW has unveiled its new – and smallest – California campervan in its range, based on the Caddy MPV. It even comes with a bespoke tent to increase the sleeping quarters
The bed, which when folded away is a third of its total length and has to be unfurled from the boot section and lays across the rear bench, is two metres long and features the same ‘cup springs and a high-quality mattress’ you get in the bigger California and Grand California models (which feature in our list of the five best campers of 2020).
If you do plan a couple’s getaway, you can remove the rear seats entirely, providing van-like luggage space and means you can have the bed folded out at all times.
In the boot is also a lightweight set of camping chairs and a table and a pair of storage bags.
These have a dual function: first to carry heavy items from your home to the van and back; second as a set of curtains that can clip to the rear windows for additional privacy while your have a kip.
The one-metre long bed folds-up to just a third of its overall length so it can be stored in the back. Unlike other models, the bed isn’t incorporated into the rear seats, so these can be removed entirely if not in use – thus increasing luggage space
The bed features the same ‘cup springs and a high-quality mattress’ you get in the bigger California and Grand California models
While the bed is two metres, it does mean there is just sleeping for two inside the vehicle. But there is the option to sleep another two people…
Buyers will also have the option of a micro kitchen, which slides out of a unit under the bed.
Pull the section out and it handily sits underneath the raised boot lid, so you don’t need to worry about getting wet while you’re cooking.
It comes equipped with a single hob, a section to house a gas small canister to power it and a draw for your utensils.
An optional tent, which fits to the boot section of the Caddy California, means you can take another two people (or more, looking at these images) on tour with you
There’s a mico kitchen which slides on rails from a compartment slotted into the boot
It features a single hob, space for a gas canister, sections to keep some (but not much) food, and a cutlery drawer
VW UK says the Caddy Califronia isn’t confirmed for the UK yet, but if there’s enough demand it will be introduced to showrooms. Prices in Germany are to start from €30,000, including the tent. That means an entry price in the region of £27,000 if sold in the UK
New for this model is the addition of a 1.4-metre panoramic glass roof, which allows owners to star-gaze from their double beds in the evening.
And if they have friends or family travelling with them, there’s the option of an add-on tent that’s made specifically for the Caddy campervan.
It uses ‘air poles’, which VW says makes it easier to erect than a conventional tent, and with direct access to the boot of the compact California has space to sleep an extra two people.
The Caddy California will be the smallest camper in VW’s range, sitting below the standard California and enormous Grand California
A lightweight set of picnic chairs and table can be stored in a second compartment in the boot, next to the micro kitchen storage
With the coronavirus pandemic hammering the travel industry, more people are considering holidaying in the UK. The Caddy California could be the ideal vehicle for a new era of staycations
Powering the tiny camper is diesel engines with power outputs of 74bhp or 120bhp.
Volkswagen, which has been embroiled in the Dieselgate scandal since 2015, says these motors are not only fuel efficient but also green, with a double-dose of ‘AdBlue’ fluid in the exhaust system watering down the emissions to make them ‘among the cleanest engines in the world’, the brand claims.
Buyers will also have the option of front-wheel drive or – for those who want to take their camper off the beaten track – 4Motion four-wheel drive, which will be at a premium.
Carry bags in the boot are used to transport goods to and from the van but also have a second purpose…
The bags also double as curtains by clipping onto the window frames. Buyers can also spec this huge glass panoramic sunroof
At launch, the Caddy California will comer with just diesel engines, though VW says they are some of the ‘cleanest in the world’
The Caddy California camper even has a section to store this lightweight picnic chair and table set. No prices for the vehicle have been released for UK buyers, but expect it to be quite a bit cheaper than the larger California, which starts at £55,000
There’s plenty of tech crammed inside the Caddy California, too.
This includes the optional ‘ ‘Innovision Cockpit’, which is made up of a 10-inch touchscreen, VW’s ‘Discover Pro’ navigation system and an online connectivity unit with integrated eSIM so users always have internet access.
The driver can link this system to the ‘California on Tour’ app, which has been created for the model range to locate campsites, legal locations to pitch-up for the night and leisure activities that are available in close proximity to where you’re staying.
The Caddy is also fitted with ‘Travel Assist’, which is an automated driving mode to be used in heavy traffic.
This is just one of 19 driving aids buyers can choose in the compact campervan, which also includes ‘Trailer Assist’ for those using the vehicle to tow.
The system helps the driver when trying to reverse a trailer or hitched caravan into a spot.
Announcing the car this week, VW said: ‘From now on there are thus three California models – a camper van family for every budget, every journey and every adventure.’
How much is it and when can I get one?
What budget that is remains unknown, as pricing information has yet to be released – or even if it will be sold here.
Prices are due to announced in October, but in Germany are expected to start from €30,000, including the tent. That works out at around £27,000 in the UK.
That would make it half the price of the bigger California, which starts from £55,539, and a fraction of the cost of the bigger Grand California (£72,745 to £75,238).
A spokeswoman for VW Commercial Vehicles UK told This is Money that a decision has yet been made about the availability of the Caddy California in the UK.
However, they added that if media interest and growth in staycations is anything to go by, it would likely be sold in UK dealers in the future.