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Volkswagen Caddy California verdict

2021 onwards (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 54.2

Written by CJ Hubbard Published: 30 May 2022 Updated: 18 July 2023

Should you buy one?

Yes, though be aware of its limitations before you buy. The Caddy California brings the California formula to a truly car-sized camper, but unlike some conversions it’s not a fully-featured home-away-from-home.

The lack of indoor cooking facilities, a heater or even a proper option for dining inside means the Caddy California is an exclusively fair-weather camper – at least until Volkswagen begins to offer the driveaway awning to sit over the rear and provide weather protection for the chef and somewhere for passengers to lounge under cover.

But if you’re the sort who leads an active lifestyle and what you really need is something compact and efficient to support sporting pursuits, the Caddy California is a brilliant way to get access to a comfy bed and a warming drink in between catching waves at the beach or hills on your mountain bike.

If that sounds like you, then you should definitely consider one very seriously. No other carmaker offers anything like it, and although even cheaper third-party campers and day vans are available, none of these are likely to match the Caddy California for quality.

What we like

The usual VW campervan quality and cleverness in a smaller, nimbler package. The price is very appealing, the engines – even the diesels – are very clean, and for the most part the Caddy California drives just like a Golf.

If the size suits you and you like the idea of a tent on wheels, then nothing about the Caddy need hold you back.

What we don’t like

The fancy touchscreen interfaces are, basically, annoying, while the limited facilities versus larger Californias may not make it suitable for longer trips. But given the cost and the more compact packaging this is more of an observation than a complaint.

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