If you don’t already know, Hymer is the leading light of motorhome manufacturing (especially A-classes) across all of Europe. But, rather than van conversions, its success has been cemented with coachbuilt leisure vehicles (although ironically, it all kicked off in 1961 with a van conversion).
A new departure, then? Arguably so, especially given a whole new factory has been set up as the HymerCar brand has emerged. And, it’s this all-new Cape Town that has been grabbing pretty much all of the attention. This, after all, is the first time Hymer has attempted anything on the most iconic of campervan base vehicles, Volkswagen’s Transporter.
The S Cape
Interestingly, HymerCar has gone with the S version of Volkswagen’s Transporter, rather than the more expensive (by around £1,200 here in the UK) and altogether more refined SE that VW makes available to its ‘approved’ converters.
Considering the upgrades HymerCar has added throughout the vehicle itself – admittedly some of these are options – it’s easy to see why it went for the S variant, with HymerCar happy to add its own character in terms of plastic panelling and more throughout.
The roof is the latest from specialist manufacturer, SCA – canvas-sided and hinged at the rear, with a rather over-fussy collection of buckles and hooks to hold it down. You don’t pay extra for the roof bed here – it’s standard – although it does mean there’s a compromise in headroom inside, just where you need it – at the kitchen, along the offside rear. It begs the question: would a front-hinged roof have been a better proposition?
Do note also, there will be right-hand drive versions of the Cape Town, but the conversion itself won’t change.
It’s a curved, modern-looking unit here, with a working height that’s a bit lower than others, although HymerCar reverts to a traditional two gas rings and a sink set-up, plus a compressor fridge. The sink is tucked just inside the tailgate, where its mixer tap can be extended outside for use as a shower for sandy kids and muddy dogs.
There’s a one-piece elasticated single-layer fabric cover for the cab windows, which certainly seems effective enough, despite being so light in colour. Added lighting is all-LED, but you’ll rely on the original VW courtesy lamp over the tailgate for bedtime reading and, for some reason, there’s no light in the sliding door step.
That downstairs bed uses three panels comprising a mix of foam, a breathable layer of cushioning (it also adds ventilation), then a ply/cardboard sandwich, with zipped covers. There are location slots for the bed boards, and there’s a single leg for the end section.
Logic suggests you sleep with your head at the tailgate. It proved more comfortable than it might look, with two main contentions – that single leg lacks a fixing point; with anything more than two folk on board, the possibility of someone accidently kicking that leg (or something pushing against it) is a concern. Also, with the upper bed ready for use, there’s not a lot of headroom for the lower occupants.
This is an extract from Which Motorhome December 2013. To purchase a copy, please click here.
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