Volkswagen California Ocean: long-term take a look at evaluation


Mileage: 1,889
Economic system: 32.9mpg

I’ve at all times been a little bit of a fair-weather camper. The prospect of establishing a tent within the pouring rain, or traipsing up a mountain within the biting wind, isn’t my concept of enjoyable. Having someplace heat and dry to retreat to is a high precedence, so visiting pubs is a very pleasing pastime of mine.

The idea of a camper van had at all times appeared like a great answer. Whereas I’d by no means been in a position to discover the concept of proudly owning one, you may hint again the obsession to my childhood bed room, the place a sixties VW Sort 2 cash field nestled itself amongst an unlimited array of 1:18-scale diecast supercars.

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I’ve nonetheless bought the mannequin, and whereas it isn’t as stuffed with chilly, laborious money as you’d hope after 20 years of saving, I can lastly declare the dream has turn into actuality – albeit with just a little assist from Volkswagen.

That’s proper, I’ve simply picked up the keys to my very personal VW California. I’ll be operating it for the subsequent six months or so, to see if that boyhood fantasy is as rosy in actual life, or whether or not I ought to stick with browsing the south coast with my soaking wet tent.

There are at the moment two fashions to select from: the California Seashore or the California Ocean. We’re testing the latter, which is the dearer of the 2, due to the addition of a sink, fridge and two-ring gasoline hob. It’s superbly laid out, with cabinets and drawers operating the size of the van.

Even after a couple of weeks and an extended weekend away in Wales, my spouse Anna and I are nonetheless discovering hidden treasures, such because the picnic seats within the tailgate, or the small mirror within the wardrobe. Each window has a built-in blind, and the entrance chairs swivel 180 levels to accommodate 4 individuals across the desk.

Not solely will it seat two couples, the California Ocean may even sleep 4 individuals. The roof raises electronically in round 30 seconds to disclose a raised mattress up high; the rear seats then fold flat to offer area on your associates. We’ve but to find fairly how tight it’s with 4 on board; Anna and I shamelessly pressured my brother-in-law and his pregnant spouse into an adjoining tent throughout our Financial institution Vacation journey to Fishguard.

Our van isn’t low-cost, however for a smidge over £60ok you get an gear listing to rival the most recent luxurious SUVs. Match and end isn’t fairly on par, however it is a practical car designed to resist years of abuse from impatient kids and mucky canines. We’ve bought a set of waterproof seat covers within the drawer beneath the again seats, however fortunately we’ve not had to make use of them but.

Each California Ocean will get 17-inch alloys, automated lights, three-zone local weather management, heated seats, Bluetooth and USB connectivity and a five-inch touchscreen. The kitchen and related gubbins are included, after all.

We added a couple of choices to our van, the most costly of which is the eye-catching two-tone paint. We couldn’t resist speccing our camper in Auto Specific crimson and white, regardless of the hefty £2,604 invoice. Elsewhere, we went for the extra achieved Uncover Media Nav system (£1,602), Adaptive Cruise Management (£414) and entrance and rear parking sensors with a digital camera (£714).

Our van has the VW Group’s 2.Zero-litre TDI diesel which, as a result of WLTP constraints, now produces 196bhp. It’s linked to the tried-and-tested seven-speed DSG gearbox, which works wonders on gasoline financial system, due to a intelligent coasting perform. Given the van’s bluff form and the facility on supply, I’m not too disillusioned by a 32.9mpg common over the primary 1,900 miles. Because the engine loosens, there’s a really actual risk that determine will enhance.

*Insurance coverage quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three factors.