The Volkswagen camper van has undergone quite a journey since it was initially introduced as a concept sketch in 1947, going on to become an instantly recognisable cultural icon over the decades. Nowadays, these ‘vans continue to offer comfortable and innovative bases, both for driving as every day vehicles and for touring in. In this guide, we’re rounding up the best VW campervans.

The Volkswagen campervan celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2022 and these iconic ‘vans remain among the best vans for camper conversion. In fact, in 2023, the 200,000th VW California was produced in Hanover since Volkswagen had taken production in-house, a milestone that was all the more impressive considering it had only passed 100,000 in 2017.

In this guide, we’re sharing our pick of the best VW campervans, including an award-winner from the Practical Motorhome Awards 2024. We’ve also included models from previous years, so you’ll have options to consider if you’re looking to buy used.

The best Volkswagen camper van:

Campaway Casa
Volkswagen Caddy California
VW California Ocean 2.0 TDI
Jöbl Kampa LE
Bilbo’s Nexa HL
VW Grand California 680
HemBil Drift

The best VW campervans are:

Campaway Casa
The Campaway Casa

Campaway Casa

  • Sleeps: 3 (plus child’s bed)
  • Belts: 3
  • Base vehicle: VW T6.1
  • Engine: 2.0-litre, 150bhp
  • Length: 5.30m
  • Width: 2.32m
  • MTPLM: 2800kg
  • MiRO: 2420kg
  • Payload: 380kg

Reason to buy:

  • Comes with a toilet, a shower and three long beds

Reason to avoid:

  • Partially outdoor shower, toilet isn’t completely private

Made by a third party for Broadland Leisure, this eye-catching VW-based camper is targeted at those who want an easy-to-park camper that comes with a toilet. The results are impressive in a ‘van that also appears in our guide to the best campervans. A front-facing raising-roof provides plenty of headroom, with cab seats swivelling round to face inwards. We did think the driver’s seat was marginally compromised by the large unit behind it but this wasn’t an issue when driving.

Cooks are bound to like the kitchen, with our reviewer, Peter Baber, noting that it came with “the biggest workspace I’ve ever seen in a campervan”. It’s well-lit and offers two sockets, a microwave and a single gas burner, along with controls for the Eberspächer air and water heater. In the rear nearside corner, the toilet can be found – it can be curtained off to create a nice-sized area where a towel rail and an external hot/cold shower attachment reside.

The raising-roof includes a well-lit roof bed – however, it’s the lower single bed that really stood out to us. The third travel seat collapses down and joins the swivelled passenger seat to create a bed that is over 7ft long. There’s also a child’s bed, which can be made with the slatted platform that slides out from the offside settee.

We love how sociable the layout is and think it’s great as a day-to-day ‘van too. In fact, it impressed our judges enough at the Practical Motorhome Awards 2024 to win the best motorhome for innovation category.

Full review: Campaway Casa

Volkswagen Caddy California
The Volkswagen Caddy California

Volkswagen Caddy California

  • Berths: 2
  • Base vehicle: VW Caddy
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 102PS Euro 6d-Temp
  • MTPLM: 2350kg
  • Payload: 601kg
  • Shipping length: 4.50m
  • Width: 2.10m

Reason to buy:

  • Great boot area

Reason to avoid:

  • Doesn’t come with a toilet or sink, cab seats don’t swivel

When we tested the VW Caddy California, we noted the steady ride it provides – minimal sway was felt when cornering, even if it was a bit more sluggish than we expected.

We like how VW has made unfolding the bed a straightforward one-person job too, only requiring the rear seats’ backrests to be flattened before unfurling it. The sleeping space may only be 1.07m wide but is longer than you get in many coachbuilts too, with a length of 1.98m.

It doesn’t provide the sociable setup seen in the Campaway Casa – the front seats don’t swivel around, for instance. There’s no toilet or sink either – in the case of the former, taking one of the best portable toilets for a campervan with you could help. However, it does come with some excellent and innovative touches.

At the rear, a one-burner gas hob can be pulled out and pushed back at the press of a button. The tailgate won’t be an issue for taller drivers either, with our 1.98m-tall tester able to shelter under it when raised.

A feature we love here is the kitchenware drawer beneath the hob – look beneath the bed to find a foldaway table and chair set too, complete with its own storage bag. It was also good to see the detachable zip-up compartments that come with the rear magnetic blinds – these can hold 5kg and are useful day bags.

Full review: Volkswagen Caddy California

VW California Ocean 2.0 TDI
The VW California Ocean 2.0 TDI

VW California Ocean 2.0 TDI

  • Berths: 4
  • Belts: 4
  • Engine: 2.0-litre TDI, common rail diesel with DPF
  • Payload: 537kg
  • Shipping length: 4.90m
  • Width: 2.29m

Reason to buy:

  • Looks good, drives well, packed with features

Reason to avoid:

  • The side sliding door is on the offside, no toilet or shower

We loved how well the California Ocean drove when we tested it in 2021. It was actually similar to driving a large car – easy to park and well-powered thanks to its seven-speed gearbox. Its length of 4.90m also makes it well suited to everyday driving and negotiating town, something that the best small campervans always offer.

We found the DAB+ navigation system and heated cab seats at the front made time on the road a comfortable experience – those in the rear won’t feel too left out either, with good legroom and plenty of space.

Pull open the sliding side door when you’re pitched up to reveal the interior – however, we would like to have seen this on the nearside, instead of the driver’s side. Internally, you can move the seats backwards and forwards, while a large drawer can be found underneath for storage.

Raise or lower the roof at the push of a button depending on whether you need the roof bed – the other berths can be made up by pulling out the rear seats and dropping the backrests. Usefully the front seats can be rotated, while cooks will appreciate the two-burner hob, fridge and sink that the VW campervan comes with. Something we should highlight is that there’s no toilet or sink.

Full review: VW California Ocean 2.0 TDI

Jöbl Kampa LE
The Jöbl Kampa LE

Jöbl Kampa LE

  • Sleeps: 4
  • Base vehicle: VW Transporter
  • Engine: 150bhp diesel 2.0-litre, seven-speed DSG
  • Length: 5.30m
  • Width: 1.94m
  • MTPLM: 3000kg
  • MiRO: 2490kg
  • Payload: 510kg

Reason to buy:

  • Ideal for weekend getaways and day-to-day use, NCC badged, clever ‘washroom’ setup

Reason to avoid:

  • No shower as standard

Coming on the VW Transporter, the Jöbl Kampa LE is, in our opinion, an incredibly smart option that is also NCC badged.

The best VW campervans are always excellent to drive, and that’s certainly the case here, thanks to the optional seven-speed DSG and 150bhp engine our test model came with. A well-specced cab includes adaptive cruise control, Bluetooth, a DAB radio and auto-lights, while we welcomed the soft-latching side door too.

Two forward-facing belted seats can be found in the lounge, while there’s the option of swivelling the front seats to face inwards, useful when there are four of you eating together. We do think that the table, which slots in here, could have been a bit bigger though.

In the high-top, you’ll find a bed that can be pulled down – it may only be big enough for children, but we think features like this could make this the best VW campervan for adults who occasionally take their grandchildren away. The main bed is incredibly comfortable too – it’s made up by turning the front seats side-on and using infill cushions to create two single beds or a double bed.

There may be no dedicated washroom, but an area at the rear provides a slide-out divider where a Dometic electric-flush toilet and a small stainless-steel handbasin can be found. We would like to have seen a shower included as standard here, but we think it’s impressive to see a hot water supply there, as there is in the kitchen.

Full review: Jöbl Kampa LE

Bilbo’s Nexa HL
The Bilbo’s Nexa HL

Bilbo’s Nexa HL

  • Sleeps: 2
  • Belts: 4
  • Base vehicle: Volkswagen Transporter T6.1 Kombi Highline
  • Engine: 2.0 150bhp Euro 6
  • Length: 4.91m
  • Width: 2.10m
  • MTPLM: 3000kg
  • Payload: From 759kg

Reason to buy:

  • Comes with a toilet, couples-friendly layout, delightful to drive

Reason to avoid:

  • Only has two berths

Bilbo’s is one of the few campervan converters in the UK who can claim VW recognition. We were very impressed by the Nexa HL when we saw it in 2020 – it offers owners a flushing toilet (housed in the rear offside corner) and an elevating roof, while we think its layout is very couples-friendly.

This VW camper looks good too, while the Kombi version of the T6.1 Transporter base vehicle that Bilbo’s has opted for offers extra body strengthening. As Bilbo’s has used the Highline version, it’s nicely kitted out too, with features including an immobiliser, hill-holder, CAT1 alarm, automatic post-collision braking and adaptive cruise control. With its electromechanical power steering, it’s a delight to drive.

When it’s time to sleep, simply fold the rear seats down and combine them with the swivelled cab seats to either make up a double bed or twin single beds of 1.87m x 0.60m – usefully, the latter allows for access to the toilet and kitchen without disturbing the other occupant.

The main kitchen can be found on the nearside, offering a sink, a three-ring hob, a mini-grill or microwave, and a 50-litre compressor fridge.

Full review: Bilbo’s Nexa HL

VW Grand California 680
The VW Grand California 680

VW Grand California 680

  • Sleeps: 2
  • Belts: 4
  • Base vehicle: VW Crafter
  • Engine: 2.0-litre 177PS Euro 6 turbodiesel with 8-speed automatic gearbox
  • Length: 6.84m
  • Width: 2.04m
  • MTPLM: 3880kg
  • Payload: 421kg

Reason to buy:

  • Innovative, well-built and comfortable

Reason to avoid:

  • No oven, disappointing extension in the kitchen

Based on the VW Crafter, the Grand California comes in two campervan layouts – the 600, with a transverse bed and a GRP roof with an optional bed, and the 680, a longer ‘van with fixed single beds.  It’s the 680 we’re focusing on here, as we liked what we saw when we tested it in 2019.

A dinette table clips onto the side, and can be reached from the driver’s side. We welcomed the inclusion of the two outdoor chairs and a table that come as standard too, a useful addition for lovers of al fresco dining.

We should highlight you’ll have to make do without an oven – the kitchen’s extension is disappointing too, due to its small size. However, the 680 comes with fixed workspace on the other side of the in-line two-burner hob and sink. This well-lit space also includes a 70-litre drawer fridge, two mains sockets, a shelf with two USB sockets and a TV connection, with the latter particularly handy if you want to take entertainment outside.

Across from the kitchen sits the washroom, with the nice innovation of a motion-sensitive light. This space is reminiscent of an aeroplane, with moulded surfaces and a fold-up basin – a tap doubles up as a shower too. Two drainage holes in the shower tray are a welcome sight too – these will be welcome if your ‘van isn’t level (see: the best motorhome levelling ramps to help with this).

The ‘van’s two single beds come on sprung plastic, and, despite a 10cm difference in length, can come together to create a comfortable double.

Full review: VW Grand California 680

HemBil Drift
The HemBil Drift

HemBil Drift

  • Sleeps: 4
  • Base vehicle: VW T6 SWB
  • Engine: 2.0 TDI 102PS Euro 6
  • Length: 4.89m
  • Width: 1.91
  • MTPLM: 3000kg
  • Payload: 600kg

Reason to buy:

  • Clever swing out kitchen unit

Reason to avoid:

  • Handbrake needs lowering to turn the driver’s seat

Made by CMC Reimo, the Drift has the typical VW-style layout, incorporating a rear bench and side kitchen. Two sliding doors come as standard, with the option of swinging out the kitchen to cook in the open.

Our model included the Comfort Pack, which gave it numerous extra features, including a Webasto diesel heater and a VW Comfort Dash, as well as a central console, drinks holders and a top-loading glove box.

It’s good to see both cab seats swivel but we found the handbrake needed lowering to ensure the driver’s seat turned fully. Another benefit of the Comfort Pack – a solid pedestal table that can easily take four. It’s useful that the table can be as close to you as you want too, as the rear bench slides and the table’s pedestal leg swings.

The swing out unit in the kitchen provides a two-burner hob, a cold-water sink with a tap and three drawers – however, it’s worth highlighting that there’s no on-board waste-water container. To swing the unit out, simply release a catch in the floor – however, while we like this highly innovative feature, we should point out that it will still be at the same height as the ‘van’s floor, so you may find it awkward to cook in this position. The kitchen also comes with a 29-litre fridge.

A comfortable double bed can be made up by folding down the Reimo Variotech seat – an optional roofbed is also available, which could take two adults.

Full review: HemBil Drift

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