With its high level of specification, good finish and unrivalled drive, you’ll be hard pushed to find a better camper for your cash.
Superior build quality; great base vehicle; high level of specification; space-saving features.
Interior feels ‘chilly’; no fridge in kitchen.
The offside galley kitchen arrangement is still popular in elevating campers but often means the driver’s seat will not swivel. In this case, however, both seats in the cab swivel to allow lounge seating for five people.
There are two tables in this ’van. One is an innovative unit that clips to the kitchen worksurface and swings out to be supported by two legs. It doubles as a worksurface or a dining table seating up to five people, because the bench seat can be slid forward to meet it. There’s also a four-person, free-standing table that stows ingeniously in the back of the main sliding door. It has angled legs for better stability and can be used outside.
As ’vans like this have to fit quite a bit of kit into a fairly limited space, there are some fairly standard features in their kitchens, including two-burner hobs and stainless steel sinks with tough, transparent lids. Some also manage to squeeze in a fridge, but the California makes do with a cool box.
The actual worksurface is limited to just one small section, although the flip-up table provides cooks with a good alternative. There’s also a slide-out cutlery drawer.
The California’s roof bed is better than most because its mattress sits on wooden slats. There is also a luggage/safety net so you can happily store kit or kids up there when stationary.
The mattress for the other bed is very comfortable, partly due to the flatness of its seat cushions.
Considering the overall size of this short-wheelbase camper, the amount of storage space is impressive.
The California has lots of space in the boot, increased by elevating the rear part of the assembled bed, and is one of the only ’vans in its class to use space-saving tambour doors. There are lockers throughout, too, including a deep one under the sofa, but cooks will have a real struggle to stow their gear. There are just two cupboards below the kitchen unit and no overhead lockers. Nevertheless, clever storage solutions, such as the folding chairs in the boot door and the table in the sliding door, are real plusses.