Timing right? A year after Volkswagen didn’t really fool anyone by calling its California XXL a ‘concept’, reality has hit. In the interim, it’s gained a new name, Grand California, along with several tweaks – some highly significant. 

Gone, for example, is the rear ‘bulge’; also, the extensive glass roof area. The former has been downplayed to twin back doors, which also mean a bike rack can now be fitted, if required. The roof simply sports a large, opening sunroof. 

The official launch also saw Volkswagen unveiling a bigger sister model – Grand California 680 – as well as this, the 600 version. Both will go on sale in the UK early next year. 

And, although the UK prices are still to be confirmed, the initial mainland tag of €55,000 (just under £50,000 at the time of writing, and that’s for the most powerful 177PS engine with DSG automatic transmission) is going to be enough to send shivers down the spines of anyone else considering converting the Crafter. Ditto Fiat and Peugeot, whose Ducato and Boxer base vehicles are suddenly looking rather aged.

It’s certainly the most modern of base vehicles. Crafter is the Transporter’s bigger sister – that’s just the starting point for Grand Californias.