Two things make this camper stand out from the crowd. If you're into sports and need to transport bulky gear, the rear bed design is ideal. If you're on the tall side, the XXL bed and the spacious bathroom setup should cement the Globestar 640 DK on your campervan shortlist. Even if you're not tall or into mucky sports, the build quality and ingenuity of this German-blooded camper doesn't fail to impress!
Berths: 2/3 Travel seats: 4 Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato (Maxi chassis) Maximum weight: 3,500kg Payload: 555kg
If you fancy a nice day out and enjoy moseying around campervans, then it’s well worth popping into Newark-based SMC where brothers, Gavin and Alistair Briggs-Price, will make you most welcome.
Not only do they have a glitzy indoor showroom that’s guaranteed to satisfy even the most urgent of magpie instincts, but the customer lounge with a self-service hot drinks machine is perfect for lolling around while you wait for your wagon to be prepped for a test drive.
SMC are also the main importer for Globecar in the UK, which perhaps isn’t the most recognised brand of campervan over here yet. However, if you head to Germany, where these hail from, they are two a penny. In mainland Europe, they’re also badged PÖssl and you may well have spotted the odd one of these on our roads, too.
So, made in Germany and built on the popular Fiat Ducato chassis, how wrong can one go?
As standard, you get the 2.3-litre, 130bhp engine under the bonnet, which should offer ample grunt, although I tested the 150bhp version (177bhp is also available) and that whizzed along just fine. My demo for the day had six-speed manual transmission but you can opt for Fiat’s Comfort-Matic robotised gearbox if you prefer automatic.
Journeying is comfortable, thanks to the cab’s driver and passenger ‘Comfort’ seats with armrests on both sides, and central cup holders. Both seats swivel (although that’s not advisable when on the move, for as much fun as fairground teacups are) and you don’t need to release the handbrake to do this. As the police might have something to say about dangling legs, the driver’s seat is also height-adjustable, which is handy.
As I pootled around the lanes of Nottinghamshire, I fiddled with buttons, air vents and anything else I could get my hands on. I was pleased to find the choice of a 12V socket and a USB port so that I could plug in my phone and fire up Google Maps (otherwise, I’d probably still be there now!) Despite my best fiddlings, I couldn’t get the radio to work and in its absence, I became aware of just how quiet this Globestar 640 DK is on the road.
When cruising, the engine is barely audible while the silent treatment from the excellent conversion behind is deafening. After some time, that familiar growling sound indicating it must be lunchtime became the only noise I could hear, and so I headed to Kelham Hall & Country Park – I did, after all, have a photo shoot to be getting on with...
This place looks like something out of a Jane Austin novel. Well, a BBC representation of one, anyway. Nowadays, they host weddings and also have a campsite there. Both business ventures appeared to be doing well and the place was in full swing, despite it being Monday.
As I neared the end of the extensive driveway and approached a fork, in the absence of signposts, I picked my poison and headed left. Unfortunately, this led to a small car park behind the hall, where wedding guests had hogged all the parking bays. With nowhere to park and little more than a postage stamp to turn around my 6.36 metre-long camper, it was at this point I realised that the bedroom door, which also doubles as the bathroom door, most definitely needs to be left in bathroom mode when in transit, as otherwise your rear visibility is diddly-squat.
With no reversing camera, either, I had to do it the old-fashioned way by sticking my head out of the window and hoping for the best… I only flattened the bride and a couple of corgis, so nothing important.
The benefit of the Ducato chassis over others of a similar size (like the Transit or Crafter) is that it’s slightly wider on the inside, and that means it can accommodate a transverse double bed. Here, the XXL bed measures a generous 6ft 5in by 5ft 1in and sits quite high so there’s loads of storage room below. The middle section can also be removed to enable the transportation of bulkier objects, such as elephants, ladders and bicycles, so it’s the ideal campervan for those planning on running away to join the circus.
With the middle section removed, either side can then be easily lifted in order to access all of the van's vitals that live under here. There’s a 100-litre fresh water tank that has two draining modes so you can leave 20 litres in reserve, in case you want to stop for a cuppa while on the road. There’s also a 92-litre waste water tank and Truma Combi 4 heating.
The gas bottle (2 x 11kg) compartment is accessed from the back of the van, via the barn doors. Above the bed, there are cupboards on both sides as well as at the back, which are deep enough to give quite a bit of storage room. There’s a tinted window on the nearside and this has shelving above it, adorned with several LED lights of both the spot and the movable variety.
With a further window in each of the rear doors (all of which open and feature blinds), as well as a skylight, this bedroom is bright and well ventilated; a far cry from the dingy, claustrophobic cave that sometimes dwells in this type of campervan layout.
Of course, having the bed run widthways rather than lengthways creates more room ahead of this, and here you get a very roomy bathroom area. I’ll admit that, not having any provision for ablutions in my own little VW campervan, the necessity of a bathroom is something I sit on the fence about. Not because I enjoy washing in a cold stream but because the space and payload you sacrifice to have a bathroom is not to be sniffed at.
But I could be tempted by the rare setup in this Globestar 640 DK, as the pay off is worthwhile. On one side of the central passageway is a bathroom with a swivelling Thetford loo and a sink, while a separate shower cubicle sits opposite. Nothing remarkable about this you might say, but hang on – there are a few tricks up its sleeve…
The wooden doors on both cubicles open independently in order to:
1) Close off the bedroom from the rest of the van, so the party doesn’t have to end when one of you hits the sack.
2) Close off the kitchen/diner in order to create an en suite bedroom.
3) Close off both the front and rear of the van to leave a fully featured central washroom.
Both cubicles also have tambour doors, so you don’t run the risk of flooding the bathroom when showering. The shower cubicle is a super-handy space, thanks to its flexible design.
For one, it’s actually a wet room, and that’s a million times better than a flimsy plastic curtain that sticks like muck to a blanket and inevitably goes mouldy. However, what’s really nifty is the removable metal pole along the top, which transforms the cubicle into a wardrobe and is also the perfect place for hanging wetsuits, muddy coats, damp towels, etc.
Similarly, the toilet cubicle has a few ingenious touches, like the tap over the sink that pulls out and converts to a shower hose. Poke this through the adjacent window and you can water down sandy kids and muddy dogs outside to your heart’s content!
Further clever design features mean the cupboards and shelves in here provide a surprising amount of storage space, too. Like the bedroom, the whole area is well lit and ventilated, with LEDs aplenty and a central skylight.
The front diner is of standard fettle. A forward-facing bench seat with two seatbelts means four can travel in safety. In front of the bench, a table is clipped to a rail on the wall and sits flat when in transit. Once parked up, lift it up, attach a leg and you’re good to go. A further slide-out circular section means there’s room for four at the table, including whoever’s sat in the swivelled driver’s seat.
As an optional extra, a second bed can be made up here, too, using the tabletop and a foam insert. Size-wise, the bed is about half an inch shy of six foot long, and is 2ft 6in wide. Behind the bench seat, you’ll find a slimline 90-litre Thetford fridge/freezer with a large storage cupboard below. Further stowage can be found under the bench seat and also in cupboards above the table.
Opposite the diner is the side kitchen, which features a stainless-steel sink and a two-burner gas hob with a dark glass lid. The option of an oven is available, too. Four cupboards sit below, with a really deep one at the bottom that’s ideal for pots and pans, while a further cupboard sits above.
As with the rest of this camper, there are a couple of clever design features that showcase the attention to detail. At the side of the rectangular kitchen unit is a small table that pulls up in order to create extra worktop space; below this, there’s also a small open cupboard, and the button for the electric step is located here. A handy flyscreen over the door means you don’t have to choose between mosquito broth or steamy windows when cooking.
As I was sat enjoying my tasty motorway services sarnie, a chap from Kelham Hall came over. We chatted for a while about the merits of a campervan before he concluded ‘I’d absolutely love something like this but I’ve got twelve kids, so I bought a bus and put twelve bunks in it!’
While the Globestar (thankfully!) doesn’t quite sleep a full football team, it does make excellent use of space. One of my bugbears with big campervans is that I expect them to be spacious inside, but often they feel cramped and boxy, as a result of cramming too much in. That’s not the case here, where thoughtful design has resulted in something that’s genuinely comfortable and practical to live with, as well as being built to last.