Camper King range review
Images courtesy of Camper King
Introducing Camper King
Camper King is not a name you’ll have seen at the major motorhome shows, nor is it a member of the National Caravan Council (like other well-known campervan brands), but it claims to build more camper conversions on the Volkswagen Transporter than anyone else in the UK. That’s currently up to 35 vehicles per week, following a period of rapid expansion and a move to new premises near Banbury in June 2020.
In fact, the deal on the new site was signed just days before the first Covid lockdown, resulting in more than a few tense moments. However, as we all now know, the pandemic has caused unprecedented demand for campervans, so the former prestige car sales site proved a fortuitous decision and the company can now present seven vehicles indoors to potential customers, as well as showing different flooring, worktops, wheels, etc, in its ‘configuration lounge.’ It has also been able to add MoT facilities and an accessory shop selling everything from sleeping bags to awnings.
Camper King can also undertake habitation servicing on site and, if you return to the factory annually for this service, it will extend your warranty for a further year – every year that you own the ’van, if you purchased it from there. Not that you have to buy direct from Banbury in the first place, as Camper King has dealers throughout the UK – 17 outlets, all listed on the website, camperking.co.uk
While it can carry out conversions on customers’ T5 and T6 Transporters, Camper King converts mostly new T6.1s, although these are pre-registered panel vans. None of its conversions have Type Approval and nor is it a member of Volkswagen’s new Motorhome Qualification Scheme.
Camper King conversions
The company uses its own pop-top roof and its own design of rock ‘n’ roll seat/bed system, although an RIB bench is available at extra cost on some models. Prices start in the mid-£40,000s on a used base vehicle, with typical new campers (on pre-registered vans) costing around £55k, although it’s possible to spend a lot more…
Camper King hire
Before you decide, you might like to hire a VW from Camper King. The cost of a two-day rental can be refunded if you subsequently purchase a ’van. Even if you have no thoughts of buying, a hire fleet of 25 campers (rising to 50 next year) could give you a taste for the lifestyle while you save up. In the meantime, here’s an overview of the Camper King model range, all of which feature the classic side kitchen campervan layout.
The Camper King models
A four-berth, five-seater camper with a double passenger seat in the cab. It comes with a combined hob and sink unit, 50-litre fridge, 110Ah leisure battery and on-board 20-litre fresh water tank. Key options include electric or diesel heating, a solar panel and the RIB rear seat. The long-wheelbase version offers extra storage or a Porta Potti cupboard.
Adding a grill unit in the side kitchen, the Monte Carlo also gains an Ambient Lights Package (worktop, cupboard and logo lights). Again, you can choose short or long-wheelbase and opt for an RIB seat at extra cost. There are special upholstery options, too, as well as upgrades to 18in or 20in alloy wheels.
Offered only in short-wheelbase form, the Le Mans benefits from a wider, three-person rear bench seat, so you get a broader bed, too, while the side kitchen narrows aft of the 50-litre front-loading fridge. Spec now includes a wireless charging pad, as well as a wind-out sunshade finished in either black or white. Heating and exterior styling packages are offered amongst the extra-cost options.
Effectively, the Santorini is the long-wheelbase equivalent of the Le Mans as it, too, has the wider rear seat/bed. Standard spec includes swivel driver and passenger seats, individual coffee tables, diesel-fired heating, 18in or 20in alloy wheels, a sunshade awning and the Ambient Lights Package. Optional extras include the well-regarded RIB seat, parking sensors, reversing camera, stereo upgrades and special upholsteries.
Another long-wheelbase-only model, the Portofino is a rare find in the VW camper world, as it includes a full-sized oven/grill. It also has a three-seater rear bench (RIB with Isofix at extra cost), swivel cab seats, diesel heating and an exterior gas barbecue point. Exterior styling packages, a solar panel and parking sensors again feature on the options list.