Most motorhome owners might be minded to accept a vehicle that just about passes muster in these dynamic respects. For most, safe and secure will probably do. Still, we’re dealing here with a factory-built prospect that aspires to deliver against higher standards than its rivals in so many ways.

Is handling one of those ways? Perhaps, but if so, you’d certainly have to concentrate to know it. Then again, since this motorhome is sufficiently viceless in negotiating open roads, city streets and car parks that you have so much spare mental capacity when driving it as to wonder what its distinguishing dynamic qualities really are, instead of having to devote so much brain power to managing and mitigating its quirks and weaknesses, perhaps VW can consider this a job well done. Yes, the Grand California is big and it doesn’t disguise its size much. Yes, it turns pretty slowly. Sure, it feels unwieldy at times, although a smallish steering wheel and plenty of steering angle both help to resist on that score.

Vehicle leans hard on its outside wheels around corners but remains stable and drivable, with the help of its electronic aids

Mostly, however, you’ll find that it’s easy enough to make it go where you intend on the road, and to keep it on the path you had in mind around a bend or within a lane, as long as you invest enough attention to its bulk. The steering certainly helps make the process straightforward, being medium weighted and reasonably accurate and responsive just off centre, while the chassis is civilised enough to allow the rear axle to dutifully follow the front over all but the very worst surfaces.

Body control is a little limited but only in proportion to outright lateral grip, so the car feels intuitive when cornering at reasonable speed and delineates its adhesive capacities pretty simply, plainly and effectively.

The Grand California 600 has a self-imposed natural speed limit, which is readily apparent around the Millbrook alpine hill route, yet it handles in a sufficiently viceless, stable and benign way that it reassures you it would remain secure and controllable in an emergency.

The obvious worry with a car so high sided is rollover, but that’s managed and mitigated quite effectively when it comes to it. The vehicle retained respectable lateral body control even when cornering in something approaching a hurry. Your entry speed is naturally quite circumspect and the always-on stability control prevents you from trying to pick up too much pace mid-corner.

Such gently paced steering and slow handling responses are all most drivers will need to adopt the fairly gentle cross-country gait needed to keep things comfortable – yet, should they plough on in ignorance, the VW remains reasonably accurate and composed at higher speed.


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This is a markedly more comfortable and sophisticated customer when touring than many might expect from a van-derived chassis. Vans are, after all, surprisingly agreeable vehicles to drive thanks to their raised cabins and upright, well-supported seats, as well as their fine visibility. This motorhome seems to add a good deal of extra road and engine noise deadening into the mix and has a soft-feeling, fairly absorptive ride, so it’s the kind of vehicle you’d look forward to taking a long European road trip in – albeit at decidedly unhurried pace.

The driver’s seat supports thighs and backs quite well and is comfortable over distance. The diesel engine can be a little obtuse on start-up and when revving hard, but most of the time, it settles into the background obediently enough.

Wind noise, meanwhile, is kept low at A and B-road speeds, only becoming at all distracting at and above 60mph – and at that pace, it’s not the only thing that’ll tell you you’re rowing the vehicle along a little more quickly than is sensible.

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