« Back Volkswagen Up! Gti + Grand California

This prize is for two cars plus £50,000 cash included in the price of your ticket.


Bigger isn’t always better – that’s a good mantra for the VW Up! GTi. That and ‘good things come in small packages’. You see this is the first time the smallest VW in the range has had the proper GTi treatment and VW hasn’t gone at it with half-measures, yet it also hasn’t overcooked the pudding.

You see there’s a lot to be said for a car that isn’t overpowered – that’s not to say it’s underpowered – but the Up! GTi is a car that you can extract 100% of the performance from down your favourite back road and have an absolute blast, all while not having to worry about points on your licence. The Up! GTi (yes, the ‘!’ is mandatory) is blessed with a tiny little three cylinder, 1.0 litre turbo engine which produces a significant 113bhp. Not significant because it’ll gain you bragging rights in the pub, but significant because it’s the same amount of power that the Mk1 Golf GTi had.

Weighing in at only 960kg helps too, giving a 0-62mph time of 8.8 seconds (that’s faster than the Golf). You get a wonderful three-cylinder off-beat thrum from the exhaust, the steering is direct, the handling is nimble and the cabin is pure retro VW GTi with the tartan seats and perfect design. This may be one of the smallest hot hatches on sale today, but it’s also one of the absolute best.



The VW California has been one of the most popular vehicles in the BOTB line up since it was introduced, so it stands to reason that once VW released its big brother – the Grand California – we’d have to drop it in!

Based on the VW Crafter van, the Grand California takes everything you see in the T6.1 and turns it up to the max – quality, design, space, practicality all take a massive leap up.

There are two Grand California models – the 2/4 berth 600 with a raised roof section, and this longer, more luxuriously spacious 2-berth 680 model. And to make sure it’s the best they offer, it’s the 177bhp, DSG model with VW’s 4MOTION AWD system.

Inside there’s a fully fitted kitchen with hob, sink, fridge/freezer, comfy seating and tables, but crucially there’s a double bed and a toilet AND shower. If you top up with water and gas, and have the optional solar panels on the roof you’ll be able to tour without worrying about visiting a campsite every night.

The T6.1 California may look cool and sleep 4, but if you want proper VW quality, perfect design, huge amounts of room and all the space you could want for two, the Grand California is the one for you.

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