Dreamer’s new Camper Van XL is aimed at the those downsizing from a coachbuilt and for these customers it avoids all the usual pitfalls – small fridge, lack of storage, no separate shower, etc. In fact, it also adds two excellent, adult-sized double beds in a motorhome that’ll make you question whether you really need anything bigger.
Berths: 4 Travel seats: 4 Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 395kg
Dreamer’s newest model has two double beds – but the novelties don’t end there. It also has a larger lounge than most rivals, the sort of fridge usually only seen in big coachbuilts and a separate shower, thanks to the patented Modul’Space bathroom first seen in Rapido’s popular V55. Here, then, is a van conversion that seems to have it all.
If there’s one area in which fixed bed campers usually fall down it is, predictably, in the lounge. Here, though, changing the half-dinette for a more spacious L-settee really makes all the difference. Not only that but your rear passengers will be happier, too, because the forward-facing section has proper shape to its backrest and, with a section of the side seat removed to create legroom, the squab slides forward to further enhance comfort. On site, with the settee fully L-shaped, the table can slide out towards the kitchen and I’d choose to dine facing the side door, enjoying the views but untroubled by bugs thanks to the flyscreen. It’s just a pity that the table doesn’t fold in half (as in Rapido coachbuilts) as it would still be adequate for snacks, while allowing easier passage past the galley.
In the kitchen you also get three large drawers (if you forgo an oven/grill), complete with soft-closing, space dividers and a central locking device. There’s not much worktop, but Dreamer does fit a lift-up flap at the forward end of the galley (and a bottle rack below that). Much more noteworthy in this kitchen is its star feature – the Dometic 9-Series tall/slim fridge with automatic energy selection and a whopping 135-litre capacity. Above that is a very large shelved cupboard – throughout this ’van storage seems both generous and well-planned.
We’ve seen the Modul’Space concept before, in both Dreamer and Rapido models, but this is its debut in an extra-long Fiat and the first time it has been used in a four-berth ’van. Even in its fourth season it remains a unique and impressive piece of design. Quite simply, if you press the left-hand catch on the wardrobe, you’ll be faced by your clothes, hanging neatly. Press the right-hand catch and the whole wardrobe pivots round over the rear bed, revealing a separate shower cubicle, while still giving you access to your best shirts via a second door.
The shower isn’t the biggest – this is still a van conversion after all – but it is a million times better than most campervan showers. It’s all GRP-lined, has a folding screen and, when you step out, you do so into a roomy changing area. That’s because the bi-fold toilet room door (opposite), closes off the rear of the motorhome to create the sort of full-width washroom normally the preserve of 7.5m coachbuilts. The only downside is that the swivelled wardrobe doesn’t provide complete privacy from the rear and there’s no curtain for the bed, either. Still, you can (just) use the loo or basin with the toilet door closed and there’s plenty of storage (again) in here, as well as a smart (but constantly needing cleaning) stainless-steel basin and a swivel cassette loo (mounted on a plinth, so you need long legs).
Van conversions of this size with four adult berths are relatively few and far between. Some manage it by adding a pop-top above the high-top (but canvas sides suggest summer use only), others achieve it through complex seat-to-bed transformations. Here, the rear bed is always at the ready and the front bed simply pulls down (and pushes back up) with the minimum of effort. The cab seats can still be sat in with the bed lowered (kids could probably use the settee, too) and access to the ’van through the side door is possible if you stoop.
The upper bed is just as comfy as the rear bed (that’s very comfortable thanks to a Bultex mattress on a slatted base), and not dissimilar in size. Like the rear bed (but not like every drop-down) you can leave pillows and duvet in situ when you stow it away. The rear bed doesn’t require climbing a ladder and it has greater headroom but, otherwise, its advantages are the rear speakers and remote switches for the radio, so you don’t have to get out of bed to switch on (or off) Chris Evans’ show in the morning. At the rear, you sleep heads to the nearside as there are tall cupboards on the offside, providing a huge amount of space for folded clothes.
The rear bedroom can also become a garage. Just as we’ve come to expect since the Adria Twin first arrived well over a decade ago, the centre section of the bed tips to vertical, so that you can carry bikes (or other bulky stuff) on board. The fixed sections of bed base hide the inboard fresh water tank on the offside and the gas locker and more storage on the nearside. Once again, the Dreamer shows its superiority over most rivals here. For a start, the locker space forward of the gas compartment is behind a tambour door, so you can still get at what’s inside when the garage is full of clobber. Secondly, on 2019 Dreamers (and Rapido Vans), the furniture here has a technical coating to make it more durable. Also new is a two-piece removable false floor, under which you can slide outdoor chairs, leaving room for bigger stuff above.