New Volkswagen Caddy California to start from £29,965

VW’s latest camper usefully undercuts the Transporter-based California on price when it goes on sale in May

Prices for the new Volkswagen Caddy California campervan have been confirmed. The home-from-home adapted Caddy Cargo van will cost from £29,965 including VAT when order books open towards the end of May.

That price gets a standard wheelbase model equipped with a 1.5 TSI petrol engine producing 112bhp and a six-speed manual gearbox. Above that model sits a 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 120bhp and a seven-speed DSG auto, which costs £34,699. 

Both engine options for the California Caddy can also be had in the larger Maxi body style. The Maxi grows 353mm longer than the standard model (wheelbase is up 215mm), and costs £1,320 more.

Both models are fitted with all the usual camping accompaniments plus Volkswagen’s latest range of in-car technology, made possible by sharing its MQB underpinnings with many of VW’s standard car range, including the Golf Mk8. 

As standard, power is sent to the front wheels only, although Volkswagen also says that the Caddy California will be available with four-wheel drive at a later date, along with more engine options.

On the outside, the California looks almost identical to the Volkswagen Caddy MPV, a model that’s yet to be confirmed for the UK. It retains the same alloy wheels, LED headlamps, vertical tail lights, roof rails and 1.4 square-metre panoramic glass roof as the passenger model.

However, Volkswagen has given the Caddy California’s cabin a serious overhaul. The standard MPV’s rear bench has been swapped for a folding bed (1,980mm long and  1,070mm wide) and all of the van’s rear windows – including the glass roof – have been fitted with blinds to prevent the morning sun from waking the occupants.

At the rear, Volkswagen has fitted a space-saving pull-out kitchenette, which includes a gas hob, cutlery tray and a storage box for food and cooking utensils. Also, since the kitchen is mounted at the rear of the vehicle, the Caddy’s tailgate doubles as a weathershield to provide protection from the rain while cooking.

Buyers also get the same foldable camping chairs and table from the larger California, which can be stowed in bags under the bed – and there’s plenty of scope for add-ons such as roof racks and detachable awnings. What’s more, the bed can be removed completely to turn the California back into a van.

Finally, Volkswagen has launched a new, modular tent system designed specifically for the Caddy California. It can either be connected to the rear of the campervan or used independently. Volkswagen says the tent increases the size of the campervan’s living space, allowing enough room for a family of four.

As with the standard Caddy, the California will use VW’s latest MIB3 infotainment setup, which features a central screen measuring up to 8.25 inches across. Air conditioning, electric door mirrors and height and lumbar adjustable front seats are standard, as is a host of safety equipment, including lane assist, cruise control, a driver alert system and Volkswagen’s trailer-assist system. 

With even the most expensive Maxi priced at £36,019, the Caddy California gives campers a much cheaper alternative to the California, which starts from £55,484 in Beach Tour trim, or you could buy a pair of Caddy Californias for the price of the cheapest VW Crafter-based Grand California (from £74,701).

Are you in the market for a camper van? Check out our long-term report of the Volkswagen California Ocean…

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