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The VW California XXL is glorious glamping on wheels

Big Cali boasts underfloor heating, a shower and a dining table. And looks like Elvis

We live in halcyon times for the posh camper van. So much cooler than the dreary fibreglass Breaking Bad campers of years gone by, it’s Volkswagen and Mercedes that are locked in camping combat at the top of the pile.

VW’s California and Merc’s Marco Polo are both superb homes from home. But what if you’re finding both just a little bijou? You need something bigger. You need the gargantuan VW California XXL, we’d wager. Points are immediately scored for the delightfully literal name.

The Cali XXL stands almost three metres tall and over six metres long. It’s so vast VW refers to its body as ‘a superstructure’, which is a term usually reserved for ocean liners and aircraft carriers. Frankly, why VW didn’t work the other way and simply put a 175bhp turbodiesel engine, pneumatic suspension and all-wheel drive on a high-rise hotel is anyone’s guess.

All of this size makes life very comfortable inside. There’s 2.2 metres of standing room, so no stooping for most folks. The beds are two metres long too, and the extra space available in the kitchen allows the fitment of two 50-litre fridges and a two metre-long worktop. Beer pong, anyone?

There’s also a freezer, a gas cooker and a dining table with seating for four. A magnetic spice rack. Built-in chopping board holders and drawers for the cutlery. The kitchen is so big, in fact, that VW has been able to fit a pull-out wet room into the space.

Basically, the California finally has a toilet cubicle, one which expands out into a 1200mm x 600mm space, with full shower facilities. No more grim campsite bathrooms. No more trudging across the wet grass at 5am when nature calls. This machine will actually save family holidays. 

Sure, there are bigger Winnebagos than the Cali XXL, but there’s something more appealing about a van that’s had a five-star makeover than a lorry that’s been filled with laminate. The XXL has underfloor heating. The panoramic glass roof could keep Wimbledon’s Centre Court dry. The lights, windows and even the music ambience is all controlled via a smartphone app. You can even set the bed to be electrically heated. Why don’t actual houses have that feature?

Strictly, the California XXL is a concept vehicle for now, but it lacks so many concept car tropes, we think it’s ready for production. There are proper door mirrors and handles. It’s even got two reversing cameras to help park the enormous rear end. VW wouldn’t have gone to that attention to detail unless there was serious intent behind the giant camper. Which means it’s time to clear a really, really big space in your lottery-win three-car garage…

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