The Camping and Caravanning Club have kindly granted us permission to share their review of the new VW Grand California 600 that was published in the November 2018 edition of their magazine.
Bringing us firmly up to date, the T5 finished production and the new T6 was launched in September 2015. The change in overall look is not as significant as previous model changes, which is why you will find the club rondel features 5 vehicles as from the front the T5 and T6 look incredibly similar.
Sleek, modern, powerful and with plenty of driver aides, the T6 is an incredible motorway muncher with everything from the frugal 84bhp diesel engine up to the 200bhp engines available as both petrol or diesel. Gearboxes are 5 to 7 speed as per the T5.
If this model interests you, here is a buying guide:
op Gear is known for caravans, track footage, the British pride associated with the Atom, and making fun of slow cars. We’ve got all of those here, as a brand-new Volkswagen California camper van meets the basic smart fortwo and an Ariel Atom 3.5R on an empty piece of tarmac.
The Atom could win this race in reverse. But this isn’t the basic one; it’s the 3.5R, the most extreme thing they’ve made since the crazy V8 and a comprehensive evolution of the super-lightweight formula.
At 350 horsepower, this car has 150 less than the superbike-derived V8 model. However, it’s faster, taking 100 miles per hour in under six seconds. The 2-liter four-banger from the Civic Type R is supercharged and has been matched to a close-ratio, rally-spec Sadev six-speed sequential box, operated by wheel-mounted paddle sifters.
The smart fortwo is one of the slowest cars sold in Britain. A 1-liter naturally aspirated engine sits under the trunk floor and sends just 70 horsepower to the back wheels. Meanwhile, the VW California is like a much heavier version of the T6 van, and it uses two turbochargers to extract 180 ponies from a 2-liter diesel block.
It also weighs around 2.5 tons, so it exceeds the weight of the smart and the Atom combined. However, the TDI engine produces 4.4 times the torque of the smart, so it’s actually faster.
When you lose a drag race to a refrigerator on wheels filled with camping equipment, you know it’s time to build a better city car… smart. There’s no conceivable benefit for having such an underpowered engine in this day and age. It’s not like the fortwo is cheap either. At £11,150, it’s more expensive than a Dacia Sandero with a dCi engine. Heck, you can get a Renault Zoe EV for £13,443 and never pay taxes.
Volkswagen reveals the new Volkswagen Transporter T6 in Amsterdam. UK sales start later in 2015
The new Volkswagen Transporter has made its full debut in Amsterdam ahead of arriving in the UK later this year. Shown in panel van, Caravelle MPV and Shuttle minibus guises, the T6 Transporter has arrived 65 years after the original T1 ‘Splitty’ made its debut.
Key highlights of the new Hanover-built Transporter include sharper design, a more premium interior, improved dynamics via the option of an adaptive chassis, more convenience with power seat and tailgate options, better efficiency with standard idle-stop, greater convenience via new radio-navigation systems with online services, and more safety via VW’s latest driver aids.
Sporting the latest VW design language with a full width grille and headlights that wouldn’t look out of place on a VW passenger car, the latest Transporter is said to be more car-like than ever. Higher-spec models can be specified with full LED headlamps and daytime running lights on the exterior, plus a host of safety and security features already found elsewhere in the VW range.
For example a Driver Alert System that detects if you are tired, a post-collision braking system, adaptive cruise control, and useful features like an electric tailgate and reversing camera are all on offer.
Inside, anyone familiar with Volkswagen’s latest cars will feel at home. With plush materials on higher-spec Caravelle models and infotainment systems lifted straight from the likes of the Polo, Golf and Passat, the new Transporter feels just like an overgrown VW passenger car.
Engine-wise, the familiar range of VW diesels will be available, with Caravelle, Shuttle and California models being offered with Euro 6-compliant powerplants. For now, the Transporter panel van has Euro 5-compliant units which VW refers to as “EA288 Nutz” internally. Volkswagen says that the engine was developed for long, durable service life and will be offered in EU6-emissions-standard markets.
On paper, the transversely-mounted 2.0-liter diesel family is anything but “nutz,” offering The engine range is extensive, from 83bhp all the way to a 201bhp unit. A 7-speed DSG gearbox can be specified on higher-output models. All the diesels are 2.0-litre TDI units and claim to be 15% more efficient than those in the current T5 Transporter. New 2-litre TDI engines offer from 84bhp to 204bhp; four-cylinder petrol variants are also 2-litres, delivering 150 or 204bhp.
All have a stop-start system fitted as standard – VW says this could reduce overall fuel consumption by 15%. saving a litre of fuel per 100km on average across the range.
A long wheelbase version will be available as will a high roof derivative. A passenger side sliding door comes as standard, with a driver’s side sliding door available as an option. In terms of carrying capacity, the panel van cargo area ranges in size from 4.3m to 5.8m3 load volumes depending on the model chosen.
The California camper van version will join the range towards the end of the 2015, shortly after the panel van arrives in the UK. Caravelle and Shuttle passenger carrying versions make their debut in the fourth quarter too.
Also unveiled at the launch of the new Transporter was a ‘Generation Six’ special edition of the new van.- a market-launch exclusive that includes available two-tone paint job and optional 18-in retro-design “Disc” alloy wheels, plus standard LED front and rear lights, chrome package, tinted windows, and fog lights with cornering light. The interior of the Multivan Comfortline-based SIX features two-tone Alcantara seats, fabric floor mats and contrast stitching on the steering wheel and gear shift leather. The SIX also comes equipped with various drive and cabin technologies, including ParkPilot front and rear, Side Assist with electric folding mirrors, Adaptive Cruise Control, and a Composition Media infotainment system. It’s currently unconfirmed as to whether or not we’ll be seeing the special Generation Six here in the UK.
The new T6 models are powered by a new-generation TDI family that modest output levels between 83 and 201 horsepower. VW will also offer 2.0-liter four-cylinder petrol options with outputs of 148 and 201 hp. With the help of a standard stop/start feature, the engine lineup could reduce fuel consumption by an estimated 15 percent.
The driver can expect some help when putting the engine to work, starting with a new adaptive chassis system that dials suspension in according to three selectable modes: comfort, normal and sport. Available driver assistance technologies include Adaptive Cruise Control, Light Assistance front controlled headlight management, and Driver Alert System. Hill Descent Assist is available on models equipped with 4MOTION four-wheel drive.
The Transporter interior also gets some interesting goodies. The available 6.3-in touchscreen infotainment system features new proximity sensors that change the screen from display to input mode as one’s hand approaches. The optional electronic voice enhancement system works like a seamlessly integrated PA system, amplifying the driver’s voice over the rear loudspeakers so that he or she can be heard while keeping both eyes on the road. A newly-available electric tailgate system pops the tailgate open or closed at the push of the key fob and driver-door button. A heated windshield is also on offer.
Immediately recognisable as a Transporter, Volkswagen says the T6 design is sharper, more precise and higher quality thanks to lines, beads and edges that run the entire length of the vehicle.
“The entire body now has the appearance of being all one piece, as if milled from a solid block,” states a VW media statement.
Once again three derivatives form the van family: the basic Transporter commercial, the flagship Multivan people-mover and, in between, the Caravelle multipurpose vehicle, which will be available for the first time in Highline spec.
It’s not clear if the 2014 Tristar concept’s powertrain – combining all-wheel drive with a 150kW/450Nm 2.0-litre diesel and seven-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic transmission – will be available.
All 4MOTION all-wheel drive models will be available with Hill Descent Assist and of course there’s traction/stability control with trailer stabilisation.
In terms of comfort and convenience there is the option of a new adaptive chassis control system with comfort, normal and sport modes for the electrically adjustable shock absorbers, plus Dynamic Cruise Control (DCC).
There’s also an electric tailgate that in its most basic form offers power closing, but comes with a fully automated function.
New safety features include optional radar-operated ‘Front Assist’, which warns of an imminent collision. Combined with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), the system can slow the vehicle to a stop, while a ‘City Emergency Braking’ feature provides collision avoidance at speeds of under 20 mph.
There’s the ‘Automatic Post-Collision Braking System’ as standard, but further options include ‘Light Assist’ automatic high-beam, ‘Driver Alert System’ drowsiness detection and electronic voice enhancement, which can amplify the driver’s voice for rear-seat occupants via the sound system.
All T6s will be fitted with a Bluetooth hands-free system and the 6.33-inch monitor employs proximity sensors that switch the system from display mode to input mode when front passengers move their hands close to the touch-screen, which offers USB and SD media storage.
In Europe, the ‘Discover Media’ and ‘Discover Media Plus’ navigation systems will be equipped with Car-Net’s Guide & Inform services.
The Transporter has been Germany’s top-selling van in Germany for decades, with the T5 finding two million customers globally since 2004 and around 12 million VW vans being sold in the past 65 years.
Models that concentrate on load carrying will again feature a barn-door-style tailgate, while passenger carrying variants are equipped with a lift-up hatch, with either electronic latching or automated operation available on higher-spec models.
All-wheel drive Transporters can be optioned up with hill descent control.
The Germans from Wolfsburg have officially presented the all-new, sixth-generation Transporter family. The presentation was organized in Amsterdam, and we got to see many possible configurations, from the premium Multivan to the basic T6 Transporter commercial van.
The design evokes that of the Passat in many ways. The VW emblem is a little bit larger as a nod to the original Bulli while horizontal lines connect to slightly narrower headlights
Prices are on a par with the previous model or slightly lower. For a few models, the prices are even considerably below those for the comparable prior versions. The price list for the Transporter in Germany, for instance, starts at €23,035 (plus value added tax for the 62-kW TDI/Euro5), while entry into the world of the Multivan begins at €29,952 for the Multivan Conceptline with 62-kW TDI (incl. value added tax, Euro6). The previous Startline entry-level model is replaced by the upgraded Trendline trim level at a price of €34,301 (gross).