California Beach vs. California Coast – Ocean – Campingbus Comparison

On the search for a successor for our VW T5 California we did not do ourselves easily and also the V-class of Mercedes considered. But at Volkswagen alone 3 models came into question. The California Beach, California Coast and the flagship of the California Ocean, which is also known as Hotel California. The decision was not easy for us.

baseline situation

We had our beloved VW T5 California for many years and were looking for a suitable diesel successor with Euro 6 standard to hopefully be able to drive to larger cities in the future. Last week we had an article in the Spiegel about VW stopping the delivery of the VW T6 because the nitrogen oxide values are too high. Not a good sign, but it can be fixed with a software update.

Maybe the Mercedes Marco Polo or the Marco Polo Horizon would be the better choice after all. Konzen has at least never been in the limelight with such topics.

The kitchen unit in the Marco Polo is very elegant. In combination with the ship’s floorboards as floor covering and the indirect lighting, this almost goes in the direction of glamping.

We are two adults not particularly tall (under 180 cm;), with our two children currently 8 and 9 years old and our dog Lenny.

We only have one car and live close to the city and also like to visit cities on holiday, so that an underground car park suitable vehicle is almost a must for us.

What speaks for a driving hotel VW California

Quite simple – the comfort. At least that’s what we really appreciated in our California. The 30 cm wide kitchen unit is actually the biggest difference between the California models. This installation allows washing up in a small sink, cooking with 2 flames on a gas stove and accommodates the 42 litre compressor refrigerator.

Relax and cook for two and enjoy the evening.

The additional space of the furniture is used for the second battery, the fresh and waste water tank and the gas supply. All that is left is storage space. With it you can start something, even as a family of 4 with a dog.

View into the compressor refrigerator of the Hotel California.

The California Coast and Ocean, however, offer additional storage space. The two folding seats have a huge drawer that can be used for all the provisions. It’s really ingenious, even if it doesn’t allow you to load larger objects such as snowboards. In the rear upper area there is another storage space, which mostly had to be enough for the whole clothes of our children (in the summer holidays).

An additional small table can also be pushed forward and folded out next to the bench seat. The four of them is quite small, but it still works for a breakfast with muesli and coffee.

The table is simply too small for a cosy breakfast with four people. At the back you can see the additional compartments for the storage space.

In the California Ocean, the pop-up roof is also electric. Of course, there is always the danger that it will not close at some point, but the roof can also be closed manually. After 8 years we also had to exchange the hydraulic pump for several hundred euros.

Thanks to the equipment, you can start your holiday or weekend immediately without a big load and everything is there – that’s what I call freedom.

The camping equipment of the Coast/ Ocean

  • High roof for 2 persons with slatted frame (120 cm x 200 cm)
  • Bed in living room (114 cm x 200 cm)
  • Darkening with roller blinds up to the front side windows
  • 2-burner gas cooker with piezo ignition
  • Stainless steel sink with bowl
  • 30 litres fresh water and waste water tank
  • Compressor cooler with 42 liters
  • Additional table to fold out
  • Gas bottle with 2,8 kg for cooking
  • Camping table in the sliding door
  • 2 camping chairs in the tailgate
  • Shower in the rear for an extra charge

What’s wrong with the California Coast and Ocean?

The models are not flexible enough from our point of view. As a standard only 4 persons can ride along. However, the kitchen unit simply takes up too much space, even during transport such as removals. The backseat is so heavy that it can practically not be removed on its own (it is similar for single seats). On average, we are probably camping for 2 months a year, which is just 16.6%. In everyday life, however, the bus is used daily, 83.3% of the time.

For us it makes sense to have 6 seats every now and then in order to take some friends or parents with us, if you already have a bus this should be the least we can do, right?

Then we also have the price issue. Yes, the models are all very expensive and differ only slightly from the Mercedes Marco Polo. But for an inflexible solution, even paying 10,000 to 15,000 euros more is not an option from our point of view.

At this point, of course, all the individual expanders such as Custom Bus or Spacecamper & Co. show off their strengths. They offer concepts that combine both in one and are very flexible. To name just one example at this point: The backseat of the Spacecamper: It can be removed alone in a few minutes. It has a large drawer with plenty of storage space, which can also be removed to hold long items. Perfect!

What speaks for the California Beach

The California Beach is actually a Multivan with a solid camping equipment. The Beach comes with a rail system, which allows the seat to be moved flexibly and up to 2 more individual seats can be added to the 3-seat bench. The result is 7 full seats with armrests and 3-point harness. The bench can be folded down and together with the Multiflexboard a generous bed is created. Due to the sporty contour of the bench seat, an additional mattress is recommended as an overlay. The only disadvantage of this bed is the height in sleeping position. Because this is a good bit higher than in the Coast and Ocean, so that when sitting upright on the bed our head bumps in the sky.

The Camping Equipment of the Beach

  • High roof for 2 persons with slatted frame (120 cm x 200 cm)
  • Bed in living room (155 cm x 200 cm)
  • Blackout with roller blinds up to the front side windows and the windscreen
  • Camping table in the sliding door
  • 2 camping chairs in the tailgate
  • Multiflexboard at extra charge
  • Second battery at extra charge

Beim Coast und Ocean gibt es für die Verdunkelung der Windschutzscheibe Rollos im Beach nur einen Stoff, welcher an den Sonnenblenden und dem Rückspiegel fixiert wird.

The darkening of the side windows of the Mercedes Horizon looks like in a hearse. From my point of view it needs to be repaired.

Conclusion California Beach versus Coast & Ocean

Those who use the bus in everyday life and have more than 2 children will love the beach. But of course there are still a few accessories missing to make your camping holiday perfect. Here you will find a few inspirations and ideas for flexible camping furniture to expand your camping bus. With 4 persons, however, daily conversions are pre-programmed and owed to the compact camping bus.

The California Coast and Ocean is perfect for 2-3 people as no conversion is required. In the evening we cook and eat together, sleep upstairs and have breakfast together the next morning downstairs. That was always something very special on our trips without children!

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Christina Cherry
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