By James Raia
Many companies make unusual-looking RVs, campers and minivans, but Volkswagen’s new entrant among the “fraternity of the odd” is its new mini-camper.
The small camper is called a Caddy Camper. The full-sized model was launched in 2018. Its innovative junior sibling transforms a small van into a larger “glamping lodge.” It will replace the outgoing larger Caddy Beach van.
Versatility is the premium attribute of the new van. Its small size means easier parking and nimble handling. It also adds to VW’s lineup of vehicles with multitasking abilities. The vans are ideal as daily drivers but work equally well in what the manufacturer calls “spontaneous micro-adventure.” In its early marketing, the German manufacturer has positioned the vehicle for “young, adventurous couples and families.”
The new mini-camper will have a folding rear bench that converts into a two-person bed. Volkswagen reports the bed has been redesigned for versatility and measures slightly less than 6 1/2 feet. Also included are lightweight camping chairs and a stowable table.
Likely the most innovative features are a panoramic glass roof that covers 15.1 square feet. The panel and all other windows can be darkened to block harsh light. There are two storage bags that can double as privacy screens when fastened to the rear windows.
The VW will also offer a pop-up tent that adjoins to the rear hatch. It’s ideal for a makeshift living room or a second bedroom. It looks like an adult-sized slinky.
The four-cylinder diesel engine is available with either 74 or 121 horsepower. There’s also a gasoline motor with 113 horsepower. It will also have Trailer Assist, which helps with towing, and VW’s Travel Assist.
Look for the new van’s debut in September. The price hasn’t been announced.
James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, California, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign-ups are available on his website, www.theweeklydriver.com. He can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.