I did some pondering over a pot of tea. The Grand Cali doesn’t have the multi-purposeness of the standard Cali. That’s small enough to be used every day, and with its pop-up roof can still sleep four easily enough. I have one at home. I adore it. It doesn’t have a bog or a shower, but that’s the compromise you make.
In adding them in, plus more space and features, the Grand Cali moves away from the simplicity of the standard version. Where the standard Cali is a multi-purpose vehicle in the truest sense of the word, the Grand Cali is simply a campervan. You can’t use it for anything else. Now, if we look at it as a camper van, we start to find holes. Because it’s built on the standard Crafter platform, it’s limited inside. Width is the issue. If someone’s in the centre galley cooking or washing up, no-one can get past them to access to bed of the bathroom. It sounds minor, but if it’s pouring outside and there’s four of you in there, these things start to matter.
The unpowered side door is also very heavy and awkward. Assuming a powered door is an option, you need it. The two passenger seats are upright and narrow. Their occupants will argue and elbow each other. I’m not that au fait with the campervan market, but a quick search shows that £70k gets you more floorspace elsewhere (although you have to balance that against the fact you’ll almost inevitably be driving gussied up Fiat with some dodgy decals).
Standard equipment is rather miserly. The two tone paint of this one is a £2,850 option. Flat white is the only non-cost paint. Very van. Awning, toilet ventilation, ambient lighting and the over-cab bed? All optional. Yes, really. The ability to sleep four in the 600 will cost you £2,490. I find that shocking.
If you still reckon this is the one for you, things start to look up. The fit and finish is excellent. It looks a heap more desirable than most campervans and is sleeker inside. It sweeps along at around 27mpg, and has enough power (a 2.0 turbo diesel with 177bhp and 302lb ft) to stop you holding everyone up. It’s pretty refined and comfortable to do distance in.
If I was semi-retired and my other half and I were off Euro-touring then the 680 might be a good bet, but overall I just can’t see this catching on for families in the same way as the standard Cali. I did idly wonder whether I’d come away from this mini-adventure wanting to upgrade mine. I don’t.