With summer round the corner and more and more of us opting to holiday in the UK, the sales of campervans and motorhomes have been steadily rising. Factor in our currently weakened currency and an ever milder climate and you’ll have to agree that there’s never been a better time to hit the open road and explore England’s green and pleasant land, camper style. To help start your adventure, dluxe considers two of the most popular camper van choices; the new Mercedes V Class Marco Polo campervan and Volkswagen’s ever popular California.
Continuing a campervan tradition which spans more than 60 years, the Volkswagen California is the only vehicle in its class to be designed, engineered and built in-house. Since its launch in 1988, the California has become the benchmark vehicle in the camper van sector with more than 111,000 being sold to date. Entry to the California range starts at £37,657 for the entry Beach model which offers up to seven seats and sleeping space for four. The bench-seat easily folds to convert to a two-berth bed across the width of the vehicle, while a manual pop-up roof gives access to a further double bed. A fold-out table and chairs are cleverly stored in the sliding door and tailgate, while an integrated awning makes for a comfortable and practical camping experience. The Beach is available with a 2.0-litre 102 PS TDI engine with a five-speed manual gearbox, and a 2.0-litre TDI 150 PS with a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG transmission.
The California Ocean replaces the SE model from the previous generation, with prices starting from £47,840. Customers can choose from two engines with either 150 or 204 PS and six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG gearboxes. 4MOTION four-wheel drive variants mean the ultimate ‘home from home’ can go further and wider afield. The Ocean also adds an electro-hydraulic pop-up roof with lighting, plus a kitchenette with two rings, a fridge and sink.
The new generation California adds a host of safety, comfort and convenience features. These include a Driver Alert System, Brake Assist and an Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, as well as the option to add innovations such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Front Assist and City Emergency Braking for safer and more relaxed cruising. In the cabin the California gains a new ‘premium’ dashboard with wide centre console and car-like feel, plus the latest infotainment system, DAB digital radio, Bluetooth and new multi-function display.
The Marco Polo is based on the popular V-Class, and can seat or sleep four people. It comes with a full range of equipment including a built-in kitchenette with a fridge and hob, plus a two-seater sofa which can easily be transformed into a bed (with underbed storage). It also features a roof bed, accessed via an electrically raising roof; a wardrobe and a generous luggage compartment.
The ambience is that of luxury with as standard, Sport models featuring a twoseater sofa with bed extension; yacht wood flooring in rear compartment (available in a choice of two colours at no extra cost); camping table plus two chairs with storage bag; electrically operated pop-up roof; swivelling driver and passenger seats; automatic three- zone climate control; external connections for power and fresh water; tinted rear windows; 18-inch alloy wheels; ambient lighting; Garmin navigation system; leather upholstery; Active Parking Assist with rear-view camera; and split tail gate.
A choice of two engines are available: 220 d and 250 d, both using a turbocharged 2.1-litre diesel engine. The 220 d has an output of 163 hp with fuel economy of 44.8 mpg on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of 166 g/km. The 250 d generates 190 hp and 440 Nm of torque, can achieve 44.8 mpg and emits 169 g/km of CO2. A 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission is standard across the range.
For an additional £2,140, AMG Line models add AMG bodystyling; 19- inch AMG bi-colour wheels; sports suspension; carbon-look dash; AMG spoiler lip on tailgate; and metallic paint. Despite its ample dimensions Mercedes has focusedon making the Marco Polo easy to drive with the option of Lane Tracking package which includes Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist for £595 and the Driving Assistance package for £1,695 which includes Distronic Plus; Blind Spot Assist; Pre- Safe; and Lane Keeping Assist. Campers can also opt for a side awning for extra space at £695 and auxiliary heating for all weather camping at £1,345.
The Mercedes-Benz V-Class Marco Polo camper van is now on sale, with prices starting from £53,180 for the entry-level V 220 d Sport. The V 220 d AMG Line is £55,320, the V 250 d Sport £55,055 and the V 250 d AMG Line is £57,195.