DURING a summer of enforced staycationing in sleet-blasted campsites, many of us have considered investing in a campervan, but the daydreams of wholesome holidays in the trusty family camper rarely come to fruition. Too unwieldy as a daily driver and too pricey as a second car for many, full-size campervans are at their most appealing when you’re trudging across a muddy field towards a campsite laundrette with waterlogged bedding.
It’s an issue VW may solve with the new Caddy California, the successor to the Caddy Beach campervan and the first Caddy to bear the California name. VW declares that the same ‘multi-tool’ ethos has been applied to the California family’s smallest sibling, and one standout new feature is a Swiss Army-like pullout mini-kitchen stashed in the back. Complete with a single gas hob, dinky cutlery tray, storage space and wind shield, it even qualifies the Caddy California as a motor home.
The upgraded two meter fold-out bed — described as ‘very big’ — no longer relies on the Caddy’s second row of seats for support, meaning these can be left at home. There’s the option of a 1.4m² glass roof for nights under the stars, a fancier magnetic curtain system and storage bags that also act as window covers. A table and camping chairs are stashed in a bag beneath the bed.
VW is also planning an accompanying free-standing modular tent with big windows and the all-important ‘air poles’ (anyone who’s tried to erect a tent in the rain will understand the benefit of this innovation on a British camping holiday).
The Caddy has new turbo diesel engines, VW’s Travel Assist system for partial automated driving and Trailer Assist for easy manoeuvring with a trailer.
The new Caddy California will launch before the end of this year, with a longer wheelbase version following in 2021. Prices have yet to be announced.