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Volkswagen California

CALIFORNIA DREAMING (some text hidden)

By Jonathan Crouch

Want a family vehicle you could really live with - and live in? Yes really. Jonathan Crouch checks out Volkswagen's improved California

Ten Second Reviewword count: 63

It's rather difficult to know what to compare this Volkswagen California model to. Since you can effectively live in it, you can't put it alongside conventional MPVs (and anyway, it only has four seats). Yet it's far more car-orientated (to drive and to look at) than a normal motorhome, a decent example of which would cost you much more. Quite simply, it's unique.

Backgroundword count: 124

In one sense, Volkswagen's California is a converted van with windows and a few beds in it. In another though, this vehicle could be seen as the key to a whole new life. Let us explain. Let's say you've retired: there are only two of you and you want to travel around the UK and Europe. You don't want the continual cost of having to fork out for accommodation. But neither do you want anything as large, clunky and pricey to run as a fully-fledged motorhome. You definitely aren't a caravanning sort of person either. If I've described you, then this is your vehicle. It's car-like for when you just need an MPV. And motorhome-like for when you're travelling. An ideal combination? Let's see.

Driving Experienceword count: 194

The engine range includes both diesel and petrol options, along with DSG and 4MOTION four-wheel-drive derivatives. Power outputs for UK models range from 102PS for the entry-level 2.0-litre TDI engine you get on 'Beach' models up to 204PS for the 2.0-litre TSI petrol unit available on plusher 'Ocean' variants. As with the Volkswagen Caravelle big MPV model this California is based upon, the cab area up-front is nicely constructed. It features a dash mounted gear stick plumbed into the centre console that frees-up floorspace for better walk-through access to the rear. This configuration shaves vital seconds off the time it takes a parent in the passenger seat to reach the back bench and apprehend a wayward child before they can 'make-over' their brother or sister with a felt-tip pen. The driving position and steering wheel are infinitely adjustable. So much so that, from Kylie Minogue to Giant Haystacks, virtually anyone's optimum driving position is attainable - it's just a matter of finding it. There are armrests on each chair too, along with supportive cushioning and fetching two-tone fabric. When stationary, you turn around the front two chairs to face the two in the rear.

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Pictures (high res disabled)

Statistics (subset of data only)

Min

Max

0-60 mph (s):

12.4

16.9

Combined mpg:

34

40.4

CO2 (g/km):

184

Extra urban mpg:

37.7

46.3

Height (mm):

1995

Length (mm):

4892

... and 6 other stats available

Scoring (subset of scores)

Category: MPV People Carriers

Performance
50%
Handling
50%
Comfort
60%
Space
20%
Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

This is an excerpt from our full review.
To access the full content library please contact us on 0330 0020 227 or click here

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