That peaceful easy feeling: A new era for Volkswagen vans


Up, up and away at a moment’s notice and in ultimate comfort is the happy option for today’s Volkswagen campervan owners

The great 60s & 70s drift of young travellers on the Hippie Trail across Europe to Southeast Asia, via the Kyber Pass and Kathmandu, took place mostly in Volkswagen Kombi vans. Some vans had done the route so many times, it was said they knew the way better than their drivers.

That mightn’t have been such an achievement since those in pursuit of liberation and enlightenment often took in Munich for the cultural attraction beer drinking at Oktoberfest, Spain to try outrunning enraged bulls through narrow cobbled streets at the Festival of Sanfermines and Torremolinos for psychedelic expansion of the mind.

Today’s Volkswagen Grand California is of an entirely new era but with all the same heart and soul. Its capacity to self-steer comes not from habit but the sophisticated technology of Lane Keep Assist. And there’s a reliably powerful engine, solar-powered appliances, comfortable beds, a sizeable onboard bathroom and swivelling front seats that a spacious dining-sitting area.

Imagine those Kombi pop-top vanners of by-gone days being astonished by the ease of winding out a broad awning, stepping into and out of the van via an automatically retracting step, taking a hot outdoor shower after a trip to a sandy beach and having the room to slide bikes or even a kayak into the body of the vehicle. No need to listen carefully to the sloshing in the fuel tank to estimate how long the remaining petrol will last.

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Many nights they undoubtedly dreamed of home-away-from-home comforts which are today a luxurious reality in the Grand Cali: cool drinks from the capacious fridge with ice from the equally generous freezer, meals prepared on the two-ring gas burner and dishes washed in an onboard sink. The ease, the comfort of such living matching the practicality and modern aesthetic of minimalist white interiors easy to keep good as new.

It’s so cool the grandkids will be nagging to come on the next adventure and that’s no problem. The Grand Cali 600 series 4-berth perfectly delights children with their own magic beds under the stars. Children adore the intricate special features so give them control of the high-tech touch panel to choose the ambience of the evening with coloured mood lighting and music. Good advice for today’s travellers who still want the freedom to go anywhere and do anything. How easy is that with perpetual 4MOTION all-wheel drive from a 130kW of engine power and solar recharging on all devices to power onboard systems.

Best of all, is that freedom to leave behind the cares of home while travelling effortlessly at the upper-speed limits on every road – no invoking the ire of drivers behind – and the ability to be self-contained wherever the view strikes the heart as just right for the night.

Learn more about The Grand California

Grand California 600 specifications:
130kW power (410Nm of maximum torque)
Fuel: Diesel, approx 9.2l for 100km
Euro NCAP Safety = 5 Star
6m length
4 berth for 2 adults and 2 children
4MOTION AWD 104W
Solar Panel
Retractable awning
Fridge capacity 70L
110L water tank
Self-contained bathroom
Adaptive Cruise Control
360° Parking Aids
Cross Wind Assist
Blind Spot Monitor
Lane Keep Assist
Camping table and chairs
Price: $169,990 msp

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NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
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