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. If you need four berths that’s another reason to put the HymerCar on your shopping list and even the price is (almost) forgiven once you’ve looked in detail at this ’van.
Berths: 2/4 Travel seats: 4 Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Gross weight: 3,300kg Payload: 387kg
We’re quite used to Hymer test vehicles arriving laden with options and this one proved no exception. In all, it boasted over £11k-worth of extra kit, taking the total price perilously close to £60,000. Yes, there are items fitted here that you could live without – and that elevating roof accounts for over £3k – but you’re sure to end up closer to this spec than the basic £48k starting cost.
The second most expensive option (at £1,290) is the Zenec multimedia system with not only its superbly clear reversing camera screen but also a sat-nav. It’s a surprise, too, that the side windows in the rear bedroom are optional – at £340 each. But the upside of all this is that you can spec your Yosemite exactly as you wish, down to 12 exterior colours and six upholsteries.
The build-quality you expect from the mighty Hymer was evident almost as soon as we picked up the test vehicle. Heading along the M54 there wasn’t even a hint of a rattle. Nor was there any wind whistle around the elevating roof. Other than that, it drove like any other Fiat van conversion: very stable and surefooted with adequate performance from the 2.3-litre, 130bhp engine (the 2-litre, 115bhp motor is standard).
The electric step and flyscreen for the sliding door are part of the standard spec, too, and the former has one-touch operation but doesn’t retract when you turn the ignition key. Those posh windows come with equally upmarket pleated blinds, and cab blinds are fitted as well.
The first impression when you step aboard is of restrained modernity and top-class build quality.
There are no surprises in the layout: 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, which is permanently affixed to the nearside wall. It’s immediately obvious that this folds in half to act as a useful, unobtrusive coffee table. Extended, it’s not large but perfectly adequate for two and it can be reached from all four seats. But the cleverest bit is how it folds away completely, against the wall. This is a better half-dinette.
The rear seat is comfortable enough for passengers and comes with automotive-type head restraints, but not Isofix. More obvious, though, is that 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.
Let’s turn to the beds, because they are the whole reason to buy this model. Squeezing them into this size of van has consequences for the room left for the kitchen and bathroom, so they’d better be worth it… Well, the good news is that they are exceptionally comfortable. The Hymer Komfort cold foam mattresses sit on plastic springs and there’s 1.96m of length to stretch out on the offside. The nearside berth is shorter but for the first 1.31m of bed (measured from the back doors), the mattress also reaches across the full width of the ’van – that’s 1.92m wide. But, while the bed measurements impress, the sleeping space is also rather high off the floor – 890mm, to be precise.
With the galley measuring just under a metre in length, it’s definitely more campervan than motorhome in style. There’s no room for cooking equipment more comprehensive than a two-burner hob, fitted with push-button ignition and integrated with the sink in a stainless-steel combination. With the glass lids raised you might be wondering if there’s any worktop at all, but a small slot-in panel (390mm by 250mm) comes to the rescue.
Like the galley, the washroom is petite, but here the biggest restriction is headroom – just 1.77m with the optional wooden duckboard in situ. Despite appearances, there’s actually a decent amount of room to use the swivel cassette loo and the fold-away washbasin, though the latter is the usual – and controversial – backless design from HymerCar. You’ll need to be careful how you use this if you don’t want to be constantly refilling the 100-litre inboard tank.
Showering looks reasonably practical, too, thanks to a shower curtain that only covers the window, loo and mirrored cupboard, rather than wrapping around the whole bathroom and – inevitably – you. Completing the bathroom spec is a large wall mirror and a useful hanging rail that pivots down from the ceiling.
As well as the fresh water tank (offside) and gas locker (nearside) there are seven drawers and two cupboards built-in back here, but only one of these was large enough to accommodate my small camera bag. You’ll not need to worry about being unable to reach your favourite pullover, though, because there are top lockers on three sides of the bedroom which will be perfect for folded clothes.
More storage can be found in 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.