Hannover, Germany - Volkswagen has been building California campervans based on the Transporter since 1988, but this one, based on the new Crafter panel van, is the biggest and most luxurious yet.

Welcome aboard the Grand California, Volkswagen’s first camper in the six-metre class, complete with bathroom, which will make its world debut at the Caravan Salon in Dusseldorf, on from 24 August to 2 September, and will go on sale in Europe early in 2019.

The cabinet trim is white, with pop-open windows at the back and on the sides and large skylights above the double bed in the back and over the living area. All the side windows have cassette blinds and flyscreens - and there’s a blackout blind for the flight deck, so the interior is completely curtained at night.

In addition to the master bedroom, there’s an optional high bunk bed for two children over the cab, complete with its own skylight.

Standard equipment includes external lighting over the sliding door, an electrically powered step that moves out in front of it and a two-part mosquito net in the door, as well as a connection for an temperature-adjustable external shower.

There are swivel seats at the front, and a double bench seat in the living area, with a large dining table big enough to seat four in comfort. The speakers in the living area can also be accessed via Bluetooth, so you can play music straight off your smartphone, tablet or laptop.

The kitchen has a twin-hob gas cooker, a sink and a pull-out 70-litre fridge with freezer compartment that’s accessible from outside as well as via the sliding door - and a wide variety of drawers, pull-out storage compartments and tip-up shelves.

But the big deal about the Grand California is its 840x800mm bathroom, with toilet, shower, a fold-out wash basin, shelves with toiletry holders, towel rails, a toilet-roll holder inside its own cupboard (so it stays dry while you shower!) a skylight for ventilation and 110 litres of on-board fresh water storage.

For safety reasons, there are no light switches in the bathroom - the lights are switched on automatically by motion sensors.

Optional extras include 4Motion all wheel-drive, a second roof-mounted air conditioner at the back, an awning, a rear bicycle rack, a camping table and chairs (which can be stowed in the wing doors), an additional electrical heating system powered by the engine, a solar panel system on the roof, a satellite dish and a built-in WiFi router.

IOL Motoring