Designed especially for the UK market, the Avenir 63 LG has a classic rear lounge with twin settees that can be converted into singles or a king-sized double bed - this a flexible two-berth campervan with bags of appeal
Berths: 2 Travel seats: 2 Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 580kg
The Danbury name may forever be linked with Volkswagens but, as part of its integration within the Pilote Group, it has also expanded its line-up to include larger Fiat Ducato-based van conversions. The Avenir range adopts continental-style fixed bed layouts, which is not surprising as these vehicles are effectively rebranded Pilote Vans built in France.
However, there is one exception… The Avenir 63 LG was introduced at last February’s NEC show in Birmingham in prototype form. It’s still made in France, but this is the first Avenir model to be ‘UK handed’ (with the sliding door on our nearside). More importantly, it has been designed especially for the British market and, at the Pilote Group’s annual press preview near Nantes, we were able to see and drive the production version.
Unlike most other Avenir models, which have a half-dinette seating area behind the cab, the 63 LG adopts the classic British theme of a rear lounge. With no other seats apart from those in the cab, this is a pure two-berth model, but, as it’s based on the extra-long (6.36m) Ducato panel van, you’ll discover a spacious vehicle with room for two people to tour in comfort.
The most important aspect is the seating in the stern, of course. Here, there are twin settees, each 1.86m long. That’s over six foot in ‘old money’ so you can put your feet up and, just as importantly, sleep lengthways (for easier access, without clambering over your partner). The sofas are large enough to use as single beds or, alternatively, a slatted base (with supporting legs attached) can be pulled out from the nearside to fill the aisle, then the backrest cushions go in on top and you have a 1.86m by 1.82m king-sized double bed. There’s a TV point on the adjacent wardrobe wall – ideal whether in lounge or bedroom mode – and pleated blinds provide privacy.
Moulded trim panels on the sides and on the back doors give a clean, automotive appearance and there are spotlights in the ceiling, as well as LED striplights – all very smart but there are no reading lamps. Gone is the raised floor of the prototype, so there’s a flat floor now from the barn doors forward until you reach the cab.
An island leg table is fitted (and stores in the wardrobe), while small under-seat lockers are available under the end of each sofa and accessible from outside. The fresh water tank lives under the offside bench, while opposite are the leisure battery and a useful (but small) drawer. Bedding will probably have to go in the overcab area.
The kitchen is unusually generous in size with loads of worktop space for meal preparation. A Thetford Duplex oven/grill sits below the three-burner hob and sink combination unit and there’s a drawer under the oven, with a second drawer below the sink. A three-bottle rack is installed in the kitchen cupboard and there are mains and USB sockets adjacent to the worktop. The fridge is an 85-litre Vitrifrigo compressor-type fitted under the counter.
Much as the galley impresses, though, it’s the bathroom that’s the star feature. There’s a minimum aisle width of 490mm between the two areas and, inside the washroom, behind the sliding door, you’ll find a proper separate shower as well as a bench cassette loo, basin sitting on the worktop, opening window and storage. The shower itself comes with a duckboard and roof vent. Externally, the flush glazing and alloy wheels complete an upmarket van conversion that looks well-placed to challenge British-built rivals.