There are a few compromises involved in fitting fixed single beds in a six-metre panel van, but nothing too onerous. What’s more obvious here is the superb build quality, as well as the neat and practical detailing.
Berths: 4 Travel seats: 4 Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Gross weight: 3,300kg Payload: 385kg
Named, like several of its sister models, after a US National Park, Yosemite actually means ‘killer’ in Miwok after a native tribe. But, although it’s yet another fixed bed van conversion, direct competitors of the Yosemite are few. This model aims to merge the advantages of a six-metre body with lengthways single beds.
We’re quite used to Hymer test vehicles arriving laden with expensive options and this one proved no exception. In all, it boasted over £11k-worth of extra kit. There are items fitted here that you couldn’t live without – and that elevating roof accounts for over £3k – but the Crossover Pack, which seems designed to create a pseudo-off-roader look, is far from essential. My favourite option is the outdoor table (mounted on the offside rear door) with two al fresco chairs (strapped just inside the nearside back door, in front of the gas locker). The build quality you expect from Hymer was evident with not even a hint of a rattle.
Other than that, it drove like any other Fiat van conversion: very stable with adequate performance from the 130bhp engine. The first impression when you step aboard is of restrained modernity. The soft-touch trim around the side windows and on the headlining is just one aspect but everything you touch feels made to last.
There are no surprises about the layout, with the twin beds at the back, washroom sandwiched between the half-dinette and the nearside bed, and a galley halfway across the sliding door. But there are some impressive details. First of these is the table. Permanently affixed to the nearside wall, it’s immediately obvious that this folds in half to act as a useful, unobtrusive coffee table. But the cleverest bit is how it folds away completely, against the wall.
On site with the roof down, the interior is rather dark – blame the lack of any rooflights (because of the pop-top) and the heavily tinted windows. At least there’s plenty of artificial lighting...
The beds are the whole reason to buy this model. Squeezing them into this size of panel van does have consequences for the room left over for the kitchen and bathroom, so they’d better be worth it… Well, they are exceptionally comfortable and the offside one is 1.96m long. But, while the bed measurements impress, the sleeping space is also rather high off the floor and sitting up in bed is not really practical, either.
Then, there’s the roof bed, reached via a two-piece ladder which stores on the overcab shelf. You climb aloft to a very generous double. The mattress is quite thin but it still feels comfortable and zipped covers reveal two large flyscreened vents and a window, though the only lighting is a flexible wand type mounted near the hatch in the roof. Headroom is sufficient to sleep either way around.
The galley measures just under a metre in length, so there’s no room for cooking equipment more comprehensive than a two-burner hob. With the hob/sink lids raised you might also be wondering if there’s any worktop, but a small slot-in panel comes to the rescue. Soft-close kitchen drawers (including one fitted out for cutlery) are welcome, as are the retainer straps to keep things from tumbling out of the top locker here. Best of all, the 65-litre compressor fridge is as easy to access from outside as from within the ’van.
Like the galley, the washroom is petite, but here the biggest restriction is headroom – just 1.77m. Despite appearances, there’s actually a decent amount of room to use the loo, though. And showering looks reasonably practical, too, thanks to a shower curtain that only covers the window, loo and mirrored cupboard.
Finally, there’s no wardrobe, just a small hanging rail over the foot of the nearside single bed. But storage is not in short supply elsewhere. You can even load bikes (or bulky sports gear) on board, with the rear bedroom adapting to suit. There are seven drawers and two cupboards below the bed and there are top lockers on three sides of the bedroom, as well as cupboards over the dinette and beneath the raised floor in front of the rear travel seat. Bedding, of course, can be left on the beds, both upstairs and downstairs.