In Europe they like to go camping and caravaning, but the caravans are relatively small by our standards.

Then again our campers pale in comparison to the massive RVs that ply the highways and byways of the United States.

Coming from Germany, Volkswagen’s Caddy Beach falls on the smaller side of the equation, but the company says it is a return to our roots, an inexpensive and fun campervan much like the original Kombi.

It’s the “most affordable and the cleverest recreational vehicle on sale today,” claims Volkswagen Australia’s new Director of Commercial Vehicles Ryan Davies.

Given the cost of an even modest motorhome, Caddy Beach is perhaps something of a bargain, at just $46,990 driveaway (recommended retail is $44,990).

You’ll be pleased to hear you can get a white one too, at no extra charge — the other six options cost extra.

Building on the long-wheel-based Caddy Maxi Trendline, the five-seat campervan packs plenty of cool gear into relatively compact dimensions (4.87m long, 1.8m high and wide).

Standard equipment includes a fold-out bed, walk-through tent at the tailgate, two folding camp chairs and table, tray tables for rear seat passengers, block-out window curtains, a rechargeable torch and four storage bags for the rear side windows.

With five folding seats and generous interior space, Caddy Beach is powered by a 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine with a 7-speed twin clutch transmission, and stop-start that produces 92kW/220Nm.

They’re small numbers but the pay off is fuel consumption of just 6.0L/100km.

Safety gear includes autonomous braking (Front Assist and City Emergency Brake), Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Assist and fog lights with cornering functionality.

Inside a colour multi-function display adds a premium look to the dash, with six speakers placed around the cabin linked to a Composition Media infotainment system with App-Connect.

The foldout double bed sleeps two. We’re not sure where the three passengers get some kip? There’s only two chairs too . . .

We can only assume the rear seats are removed to make way for the bed and vice-versa?

Standard kit includes:

  • Five (5) seats
  • 3-seater bench in 2nd row of seats (folding, folding/tipping, removable)
  • 3 x 2nd row child seat anchor points
  • Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-Pressure Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist, Electronic Stabilisation Program (ESP) and Traction Control (TSC)
  • Driver and front passenger front and side/head airbags and rear curtain airbags
  • Rear parking sensors and Rear View Camera
  • Driver Fatigue Detection
  • Multi-Collision Brake (MCB)
  • Forward Collision Warning “Front Assist” with City Emergency Braking (City EB)
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
  • Lane Assist
  • Hill Hold Control
  • Bi-Xenon headlamps with LED DRLs and dark-tinted rear tail lamps
  • Fog lights with cornering function
  • Black roof rails
  • Light & Sight package (rain-sensing wipers, dusk-sensing headlights and auto dimming mirror)
  • Height adjustment and lumbar support for front seats with backrest release
  • Leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel with height and reach adjustment
  • “Composition Media” radio (colour touch screen, AUX/USB/SD input, CD player, 6 speakers)
  • App-Connect system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink compatibility
  • Premium colour multi-function display with digital speedometer and driving information
  • LED lights in cabin
  • Folding tray tables on back of both front seats
  • Tailgate tent with walkthrough feature and window
  • Wide fold-up bed (removable)
  • Opaque block out curtains for windscreen front and sliding door windows and tailgate window
  • Storage bags for rear windows (2 per window) (removable)
  • Mini rechargeable torch
  • Compact folding camp chairs (2) and folding camp table (1)
  • Ventilation grill for right sliding door window (2.3m x 2.0m)
  • Exterior ‘Beach’ decal
  • 17″ ‘Canyon’ alloy wheels with alloy spare
  • Exterior Beach decal
  • Titanium Black cloth seat upholstery “Pilion”

It can be optioned with:

  • Roof racks
  • Bicycle carrier
  • Roof box
  • Surfboard carrier
  • Tow bar (rated to tow 1300kg)

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.