Is a full-size Volkswagen California campervan too big for you? Well, VW has a solution - the compact new Caddy California.
Based on the new fifth-generation Caddy van, it uses VW's modular MQB chassis. There are four seats, but for camping, the idea is that you take the second row out, which allows the double bed (which has cup springs and a high-quality mattress according to its maker, so its construction provides the same high level of sleeping comfort as the beds in the T6.1 California and Grand California) to fold out fully. When it's folded up, the bed sits above the cargo space, leaving you with plenty of room for bags and, we guess, picnic hampers.
The really cool part about the Caddy California is the fold-out kitchen. Hinged to the left-side of the rear cargo space, it folds out behind the car, so that the open rear hatch acts as both a sun-shade and rain-protection when cooking al fresco. The new mini kitchen consists of two pull-out parts. Integrated in the top part is a single hob gas cooker, inclusive of wind shield and handy shelf. The bottom pull-out section contains a cutlery tray and further storage space for cooking utensils and provisions. Built into the rear part of the kitchen is a securely locked box (with floor vent) for the gas bottle.
Up above the bed, is a big panoramic glass roof, both to let light into the cabin during the day, and to allow you to gaze at the stars when camping out. For privacy, there are curtains for the front windows and windscreen, attached by magnets (just like on the big Californias) and a storage-bag system on the rear side windows, which can take items with a weight of up to five kilograms on each side.
There are also clip-on fly-screens for the front windows, which mean you can sleep with the windows open for air, but without being eaten alive by bugs, plus dimming LED cabin lights, and a foldaway table and chairs that store under the bed.
For a little extra room, there's also a modular tent that can clip onto the back of the Caddy California, doubling your living space. Thanks to its 'air poles', it is apparently quick and incredibly easy to put up. Large windows, which can also be fully opened, ensure lots of light throughout the day.
New smartphone app
Up front, there are optional digital instruments, and the 10-inch Discover Pro navigation system. The Caddy California is also fully connected, and has always-on internet and connection to the Volkswagen We network. There's also a new California-specific smartphone app. Developed for Apple and Android smartphones, the app provides a whole host of information, including about camp sites and pitches, camping businesses, water and waste disposal stations, all sorts of different leisure activities (such as cycle hire and things to see) and about the functions of the Caddy California. The app can be used with all VWCV camper vans.
The new technology highlights of the Caddy California include progressive driver assistance systems like Travel Assist - a system for partially automated driving across the entire speed range. Equally useful is Trailer Assist for partially automated and thus extremely easy manoeuvring with a trailer. In all, 19 different driver assistance systems will be available for the Caddy California.
Al launch, the Caddy California will be available with a choice of 2.0-litre TDI diesel engines with either 75hp or 122hp, while 4Motion four-wheel drive will also be available.