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German campervan manufacturer, Westfalia, reveals 2018 models

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German campervan manufacturer, Westfalia, has revealed its range of new campervans for the 2018 season

It has also confirmed that, for the first time, it is to sell its Kepler and Jules Verne campervans here, which are built in France and have only ever been sold in the French domestic market.

Of the new German-built models launched for the coming season, it is the new Sven Hedin, which uses Volkswagen’s all-new medium-wheelbase, high-roof Crafter, that’s the highlight.

This new VW campervan uses a pop-out section cut into the rear nearside panel to allow a two-metre bed to fit transversely in the rear of the Crafter body (it is just 1.83m wide inside). The electric pop-out section extends the foot of the double bed and is retracted when not in use.

The new Crafter has already been praised for its cab ergonomics and driving appeal and, in the new Sven Hedin, there is the option of an eight-speed fully automatic gearbox (the six-speed manual is standard), as well as a host of driving aids.

Both cab seats swivel to face a half-dinette with extendable (and removable) table and twin forward-facing contoured travel seats with individual headrests.

Directly behind this is an all-new washroom with swivel cassette loo, underfloor heating, shower with twin drains and corner basin.

Opposite is the side kitchen, which extends partially across the sliding door positioned on the UK offside. There is a forward-facing 75-litre Dometic compressor fridge (no freezer) with drawers, which can be opened from inside the campervan or outside. There is also a glass-covered twin-burner hob and a small round sink below which are three drawers.

Beside this is a large cupboard, which adjoins the double bed. The fixed transverse double bed, which is the highlight of this layout, measures an impressive 2.0m long (with the pop-put extended) by 1.0m to 1.35m wide. It is equipped with the latest coldform mattress and can be folded away or removed completely to allow through loading of large items. Even with the bed in place, there is a huge storage below.

British prices and specifications have to be confirmed, but the price in Germany is €59,990.

Also launched for the coming season is a shorter version of Westfalia’s popular Fiat Ducato-based Coumbus campervan. The new Columbus 540 (as the name suggests, it’s just 5.4m long) features an optional SCA pop-top roof with a double bed (1.96m x 1.3m, making this compact campervan a true four-berth.

Inside, it is the standard Columbus layout, with a transverse double bed at the rear (1.98m x 1.15 at its foot and 1.3m at its head), a central washroom with shower, swivel cassette loo and corner basin. The washroom also has a new side window thanks to the addition of the pop-top roof which means no rooflight can be fitted, opposite the side-facing kitchen, which has a 65-litre compressor fridge with full 180-degree swing door, meaning it can be accessed from outside, and a revised front dinette with two forward-facing travel seats (both of which have Isofix child seat fixings), a removable table and twin swivel cab seats up front. As with its new sibling, the Sven Heding, this Columbus’ bed can be folded and removed completely to allow through storage of large items. Again heating is courtesy of an Eberspächer 5KW diesel-powered water heater feeding five radiators (cab, dinette, washroom, kitchen and bedroom) and underfloor heating also in the washroom. Prices for new Columbus 540 have not been confirmed.

Finally, the other big news from Westfalia is the launch of three models (one of which is completely new for 2018) into the UK market that have, until now, only been sold in France.

The Kepler One and Jules Verne, both of which are current models, will be joined by the all-new Kepler Six when they go on sale in the UK for the first time at the start of the 2018 season.

Both Keplers are built on the VW T6, while the Jules Verne is built on the Mercedes-Benz Vito.

All are built by Westfalia’s partent company, Rapido, at its specialist van conversion factory in France that also makes Dreamer campervans.

The Six, which is expected to be the strongest seller of the three in the UK, has a front-rising pop-top roof with a double bed and a typical VW campervan layout below. There are two rear seats on rails meaning storage space can be increased easily. It is also possible to have two extra removable rear travel seats installed, making this a six-seater. However, with six seats it is not possible to use the rear bed.

The side-facing kitchen is on the on the UK nearside opposite the sliding door. It features a twin-burner hob adjoined to a sink, top-loading fridge and plenty of drawer storage.

Again prices for these new models have not been confirmed, but the new Kepler Six is priced in Europe at €51,900.

It is expected all these models (the Six, Sven Hedin and Columbus 540) will be on display at the NEC in October.

There are currently three Westfalia dealers in the UK, although the company expects to appoint at least one more by October.

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