- VW California owners & Wayside Van Centre
Anyone got a California ? If so what are your thoughts. Want one – couple, no kids, keen to keep bikes in it while we travel so shove back seats forward and put in there, then rack em on arrival, inside at night etc and sleep upstairs. I know they are expensive but look the mutts kernuts and also availble here (although i would import a UK one)
And if anyone goes near this van centre I wondered if they could do a walkby of a van for me ! I’m geographically displaced you see…
TIAPosted 6 years agostevemorg2Subscriber
We had a T4 California which we loved – well put together, reliable but with a 2.4D engine it was a bit sluggish.
We looked at T5 Californias when we decided to upgrade but were put off by the quality of by the units inside – they seemed flimsy and the prices were horrendous. I certainly wouldn’t carry bikes inside it!
We ended up buying a T5 panel van and had it converted – saved a lot on money, units are really well put together and we were able to choose our own layoutPosted 6 years agoCrellMember
That’s not an especially cheap van, though it is a 4motion.
This link will show you the ones available from the VW van dealerships, and actually shows the photos unlike the other VW site.
For a couple with bikes, they’re cool, though I’d be racking the bikes. For us with 2 kids the Caravelle is just a bit more practical.Posted 6 years ago
Yep the 6m 4motion one. VW NZ can’t source one and if they could it would be around 8 months and eyebwateringly expensive. I can buy a UK one and import for about 60percent of that price. Has to be 4motion. They have sold 3 ever in NZ and I know where one is so chances of second hand are nil. Conversions are hard and I wat the floor rail to make,it more flexiblePosted 6 years agothomthumbMember
cheaper to buy a new lwb t5 van (£25k-ish?) and get a quality conversion company to kit it out to your personal hi-spec (£15k-ish) rather than £47k+ for a new california
i think that massively depends on what you want. the basic vans start at around 16k but your looking closer to 30k for 4 motion – especially if you want anything off the options list (AC £800+vat etc)
the california has some really nice touches – table in the door/ seats in the tailgate that if you wanted you need to buy off VW parts list (at some epic cost i’d imagine)Posted 6 years agoSprocketJockeyMember
I’ve got a Westy T4 California 1.9 TD and it’s fab. New ones, as you say look great but you pay a massive premium for them. Westy T4 layout is almost identical to the VW T5 Cali, but much better finished IMHO. For that reason I’d personally be looking at a late model 2.5TDI T4 as an upgrade (there is a synchro version too, but pretty rare).
I wouldn’t overestimate the amount of size inside. With the rear seats / bed folded flat you’d get a couple of bikes in on their side but you’re going to need to be really careful to avoid damaging the interior and upholstery (put tarps down etc).
You’ve got space in front of the rear seat but in my experience I can only fit one fully assembled bike diagonally between the rear and front seats (the fitted units take up about a third of the width). For that reason I tend to have the bikes on the rack all the time
I also reckon it would be a huge hassle to keep the bikes inside overnight and sleep in the pop top. Apart from anything else you’re probably going to need to take them out before making a brew in the morning! At the very least they’re going to block access to something vital in one of the cupboards.
Pop top doesn’t have a huge amount of room and getting in and out can be a bit of a mission if you’re both on the <ahem> larger size, unless you’re happy with your head at the thin end of the wedge, so to speak.
For that reason we always have the bikes on the rack. Locked through the tow loop. Occasionally will pop the bikes inside if we go out for the evening but we always sleep downstairs (our little boy goes in the pop top!). You’re head is only 6 inches away from the rack so you’ll hear if anyone tries to nick your bike.
For what you want, you may be better with something like a multi-van or Combi (perhaps LWB?) with a pop roof conversion rather than a full camper. That would give you the space and flexibility you want plus the ability to sleep in it.Posted 6 years ago
Thanks for all the info. We’ve actually tried one , a friend has one of the 3 4motion manuals so we had a test night in it with bikes etc.
The issue with conversions is the compliance into NZ is almost impossible, there is a reasonable risk it would not be complied which would be expensive. As the Calif is factory spec it is a straightforward compliance exercise, has to be based on the new 5.1 platform though for frontal impact compliance. Hear your points about bikes inside, mainly it would only be in ropey places otherwise outside on the rack. Has the 4motion as well as lots of places we go have rough access in and in a heavy van would pref 4wd, ditto on the roads as they are so sh1te here. I did look into a pop roof conversion but nobody here does anything decent, Kea being the only ones prepared to do it and their roof conversion isn’t very good. The joy of living in a small country.
Will keep looking, new price here for it would be about 135k !!!!!Posted 6 years agoCrellMember
On the pop top kombi front, vw have just launched the California Beach. Really more of a pop top caravelle than a Cali and I think I want one of these rather than the normal ‘velle.
35 new, but specced up its closer to 41 (38 from auto e bid.) 12 week delivery and no SH vans for a while.
No kitchen, 180 , dsg, 4motion , or leather options either
IPosted 6 years agolateoMember
Can endorse a number of comments made by Sprocket above. Have owned a Caravelle T5 and now driving a converted T5 pop top
The Caravelle internal arrangement really isn’t great for muddy sports and the seating is awkward to rearrange (especially the fold down bench seat)
The California is very expensive for what you get and often doesn’t compare favourably with other professional conversions
The Beach sounds like a reasonably cheaper alternative but I can’t recommend the internal layout
My own advice is a high top van or an alternative T5 pop-top, with Fiamma bike rack and a NewYork padlockPosted 6 years ago
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