Earlier this year, we took ato get a taste of the van life. It was great, but now there's an even wilder way to wander down the coast.
The new Volkswagen Grand California is the biggest, best camper van the automaker builds. It's basically a full-on motor home built atop the underpinnings of the VW Crafter cargo van, and it looks the business. You can even deck it out in a vintage-ish two-tone paint job. There are pop-open windows at the back and on the sides, and you can black out the cab area so nobody can creep while you sleep.
But the real magic is inside. Every window gets cassette blinds and screens, and the double bed nestled in the back gets big ol' skylights. A power-retractable step makes sure you can get in and out of the thing, and if you fancy a party, you can use Bluetooth to control the speakers scattered around the interior.
Like any proper recreational vehicle, there's also both a kitchen and a bathroom. The kitchen packs both a fridge and a freezer, and it's even accessible from outside the vehicle through a sliding door. The dining room has enough space for four people to eat in relative comfort. The bathroom has both a toilet and a shower, and motion sensors control the lights. There's also a hookup for an outside shower. Onboard tanks can hold 110 liters (about 29 gallons) of water.
If you're bringing the little ones on your glamping expedition, be sure to check the box for the optional bunk bed. The Grand California can also be fitted with a roof-mounted air conditioning unit, a bike rack, a camping table and an awning. Solar panels on the roof can improve your green cred, to boot.
But it's still a car, which means there's plenty of traditional auto tech to enjoy, too. Optional driver aids include active parking assist, automatic braking, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist and rear cross-traffic alerts. If you're taking it onto the dirt, all-wheel drive is available, also. The Grand California goes on sale in Europe in early 2019 -- despite its name, it's actually not for sale in the US.