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Marquis - September - Leader

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Hillside Leisure Birchover (2010) - motorhome review

Posted on 15 Nov 2010

Val Chapman

Key Features

  • 2010 model
  • Rising Roof
  • 4 berth
  • 2.0TD engine
  • Volkswagen T5 base
  • Max weight 3000kg
  • Campervan layout
  • From £31,995 new

The Verdict

Clever design features are packed into this traditional VW camper van layout. It works well and is well priced.

The Score

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At A Glance

Hillside Leisure Birchover 2010

  • Small enough to replace family car
  • Four travel seats and four berths
  • 820kg payload
  • Large cutlery tray works well
  • VW base vehicle is expensive

Technical Specification

Model Year 2010
Manufacturer Hillside Leisure
Class Rising Roof
Range No Range
Base Vehicle Volkswagen T5
Engine Size2.0TD
Maximum weight (kg)3000
Payload (kg)820
Length (m)4.89
Width (m)1.90
Height (m)2.00
Belted Seats4
Main LayoutCampervan
Price from (£)31995
Price from (€)-
Campervan Test Date-
View the full Buyers Guide entry

Detailed Review

BLACK windows, alloy wheels, silver coachwork with subtle graphics, gleaming chrome running rails… the Birchover looks every bit the young-image motorhome.

In fact its image is much more akin to big, classy car than holiday transport.

The Birchover is the creation of Hillside Leisure in Derby. Built on a VW T5 base with a lively 2-litre TDI power unit, the elegant Birchover model is one of a number named after villages in Derbyshire.

And, as each one is converted to the buyer’s specification, you can choose your look in terms of colour and wheels in addition to your kit.

It sleeps four – two in a double bed that forms by pulling forward the settee base and dropping the back down., and two more in the smoothly- elevating roof.

We’ve brought the Birchover to Beechwood Park, a campsite in the village of Thurlston, just off the A6 five miles outside Derby. 

The roof is up and the semi-circular mesh ventilation panels are uncovered because it’s a warm spring day. Kitchens in campervans like this are miniscule. But if you keep your menus simple, it’s surprising what you can achieve.

You can’t truly compare a unit that’s only the size of a family car with any other motorhome so, if you try, you’ll notice that the missing feature, by comparison, is the washroom.

Pick a campsite with showers and that’s not an issue, of course. But delve further into the Birchover’s facilities and you find two features that bridge the gap between true motorhome and campervan.

One is a toilet disguised as a seat that can be moved around the living area or fixed in one of two positions. The other is an exterior shower. A rose and hose  connects to the back of the motorhome. No privacy, of course, but that’s what swimming gear is for!

And there’s a surprise hidden under the kitchen – a cutlery tray every bit as large as one you probably have a in a drawer in your house kitchen.

This motorhome is crammed with clever design features and more kit than you’d expect in a unit of its small size.

When we tested the Autocruise Jazz  we remarked on its suitability for everyday transport. The Birchover takes that concept even further because it’s smaller. Value? We think so, especially as you can reduce the price by choosing less kit; Birchover prices start at £31,995 although our test unit cost £37,995.

This review was first published in Go Motorhome magazine.

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