Australia’s cheapest factory camper? Despite the Golf GTi price-tag of $47,000 you might be surprised to find the Caddy Beach very much is. The next closest thing is the Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo Activity which is a mouthful to say and costs a minimum of $63,627. From there you’re looking at $91,000-plus for something like a VW Transporter-based Trakkadu 340.
Flying at least $15,000 below the nearest competitor is a good start. In the box is a long wheelbase Caddy Maxi Trendline base van with 17-inch alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights, auto wipers, auto-dimming rear vision mirror, a 6.33-inch multimedia touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, and a colour multifunction display in the dash.
To make it a campervan, the Beach includes a fold-out bed in the back which is just larger than a king single, a 2.3 x 2.0 metre walk-through tent which slips over the tailgate when open, tailor-made storage bags which fit in the rear-window cavities, two plug-and-charge removable torches which double as LED cabin lighting, privacy glass around the rear, a bag of magnetic blinds which clip to the windows, an insect-netted ventilation panel which snaps onto the sliding rear windows, and a very neat little fold-away table-and-chair set.
That’s a great set of inclusions, and it already bumps the Marco Polo Activity in some areas with a tailor-made bed (rather than just seats which fold flat or a roof-tent) and a very good multimedia offering. There are also some important safety inclusions which I’ll detail later in this review.
The absence of a few items prevent the Beach from being a true long-termer and render it inferior to its pricey rivals. There’s no fridge or cooking amenities, just the one battery (don’t leave those lights running…) and, somewhat tragically, the omission of VW’s 4-Motion all-wheel drive system.
You could improve on the Beach with some minor spending, but it is ultimately designed to support singles or couples and not families.