Berths: 2 Travel seats: 2 Base vehicle: VW Crafter Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: n/a
Although IH has dabbled with other base vehicles (and even coachbuilts) in the past, its recent range has been entirely made up of high-spec, upmarket Fiat Ducato-based van conversions. It converts the medium, long and extra-long panel vans, and even offers a slide-out model for those seeking more space than a standard 6.36m panel van can offer (see What Motorhome February 2018).
Now there’s another option for buyers wanting an IH with extra room on board. And it’s got the added appeal of a VW roundel up front. Unlike Hillside Leisure (see page 37) – and Westfalia, too – IH has opted for the long-wheelbase version of the new Crafter, measuring a substantial 6.84m long.
But it’s no surprise to see the West Yorkshire company installing a traditional rear lounge layout in this new largest ’van in its line-up. And you can appreciate the additional length as soon as you step on board. You’ll also appreciate the advances made in the light commercial vehicles – after all, the Ducato has been around since 2007 with little more than a light facelift along the way.
There’s a whole host of safety kit available on VW’s latest big panel van – from Trailer Assist (which does the awkward bits of reversing a trailer for you) to Side Protection (which warns you if you’re getting too close to pillars, pedestrians, etc, alongside). Those are options, but the Crafter (converted here in Trendline spec) comes as standard with City Emergency Braking (automatically applying the brakes if the distance to the vehicle in front becomes critical), Automatic Post-Collision Braking (to avoid a second impact) and Crosswind Assist (part of the ESP system).
The Crafter also comes with a surprisingly car-like driving position, while anyone trading up from a T5 or T6 camper will feel instantly at home with the high-quality environment and easy-to-drive nature of this base vehicle.
Inside, the 680 RD has a spacious rear lounge that wraps around the end of the ’van in a U-shape, blocking off the doors. Open those barn doors and you’ll find a useful boot area for all your outdoor clobber – it measures 1.78m by 0.36m by 0.76m (max). The seats are 1.89m long, so big enough to allow lengthways sleeping in twin beds (or a giant double).
It’s in the kitchen and washroom areas that the 680 RD shows off its extra interior space, though. The amount of unobstructed worktop alongside the sink would shame most coachbuilts – and that’s before you deploy the fold-up extension panel at the forward end of the galley! The use of a compressor fridge is a surprise in a motorhome of this size, but it has advantages in terms of tilt tolerance and speed of reaching operating temperature. The combined gas and induction (230V) hob is a further indication that IH is willing to try something new, while the galley is completed with useful drawers and a gas oven/grill.
Across the aisle, unusual double doors open onto a washroom that’s far bigger than the van conversion norm. There’s still an integral shower with a curtain but there’s much more space to use the loo and washbasin (a stainless-steel number set into a wide expanse of countertop) than you might expect.