If you’re looking for a luxury two-berth rear lounge model, you may need to look no further. This time around, the Broadway has nailed the brief with a reasonably modest length and yet a super-spacious lounge. Having the door in the centre of the motorhome also makes a big difference, while the all-inclusive spec simply rounds off the package. Only the limited external storage counts against the latest EL.
Base vehicle: Peugeot Boxer Price from: £64,700 Berths: 2 Travel seats: 2 Length: 6.63m Width: 2.32m Height: 2.90m Gross weight: 3,500kg
Words and photos: Peter Vaughan
It’s fair to say that the original end lounge Broadway got a lukewarm response from this writer when it debuted in 2009. At 6.28m long, it simply wasn’t spacious enough to provide the room for sumptuous lounging.
But Auto-Sleepers didn’t just sit back and ignore the criticism, releasing a new EL model in 2013 that not only garnered much more enthusiasm, but was also longer and considerably roomier, at 7.16m.
However, fashions change and Auto-Sleepers adopts a policy of one in, one out for its portfolio, dropping slower sellers to allow new blood into the range. So, the last time our buyers’ guide listed a Broadway EL was 2015. Until now.
It’s welcome back to a classic layout, then, but the new Broadway EL doesn’t mean that the old plans and drawings have been dusted off for 2021.
This latest model sits midway between its predecessors in length, at 6.63m, while also boasting a wider body than other Broadway models (the same width as the Corinium).
Not only does the new EL adopt a mid-size length, but its habitation door also moves to a mid-position. Although others have done similar in the past, it’s a first for the Broadway, and it makes a massive difference.
Now, you enter and turn left for the washroom or kitchen, turn right for the lounge. In most rear lounge layouts, you come into the narrowest part of the motorhome and have to shuffle past the cook to get to the sofas.
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Of course, there’s still a good deal of furniture up front, with the ablutions on the offside facing the galley, but it’s here that the width (an additional 90mm) is obvious. Even at its narrowest point there’s 740mm between the Santana cabinetwork on either side (Valencia furniture is optional).
Of course, being an Auto-Sleeper, you’ll expect to see a Peugeot lion on the front but that’s not the case here; the big cat has been replaced by an Auto-Sleepers 60th Anniversary logo.
More importantly, a long-wheelbase Boxer has been used, where you might have expected the accountants to insist on a MWB for what isn’t a very long ’van. A quick test drive up the demanding (and winding) Fish Hill, close to the factory, was enough to prove that this was the right decision, with reassuring stability displayed.
Otherwise, the exterior has no surprises, but all the features you’d expect of this premium brand – alloy wheels, framed windows, an awning neatly above the nearside wall (rather than jutting out on as an afterthought), a door with central locking and an electric step that automatically deploys, an external barbecue, 230V and TV points, as well as an underslung gas tank.
Some of the kit is accounted for by the Premium Pack – a £2,500 option that is, to all intents, a standard feature. It adds a DAB radio, sat-nav, the alloys, cab air-con, cruise control, Thule awning, colour reversing camera with LCD screen, and an 80W solar panel.
The test vehicle also had the Winter Pack – fresh and waste water tank heater blankets, concertina cab blinds in lieu of curtains, a Truma Combi heater upgrade and wheelarch insulation blankets – and habitation air-conditioning (which Auto-Sleepers says is now being fitted to half of all the motorhomes it sells).
Of course, with a traditionally British floorplan like this, there’s no garage but there is a small hatch (330mm by 280mm) on the nearside that provides access to the under-seat space.
This stretches under the rear settee across a length of 1.60m until you get to the Truma boiler in the opposite corner. Only outdoor chairs that fold into a compact tube will fit.
Concluding our tour of the outside, the fiddly waste water drain (which was covered in road dirt) could be improved, and there’s a Whale water filler, which might not always provide a convenient way to fill up with water.
The smart one-piece rear GRP panel could possibly be vulnerable to damage – it would be good to see a separate bumper section for cheaper repairs. All in all, though, the Broadway carries its near-£70k price tag with conviction.
Auto-Sleepers has certainly performed a U-turn in offering a rear lounge coachbuilt for 2021 and it is, of course, the U-shaped seating that’s not just a USP, but central to the appeal here. As you enter the motorhome it’s impossible not to see the attraction of this space.
Watch the MMM video review of the Auto-Sleeper Broadway EL here:
The upholstery here is Casa Mila Mocha; there are four other colours and an alternative Sagrada fabric that’s also offered in five shades. Further increasing the choice is the option of a small chest of drawers under the rear window instead of the wrap-around settees. Whichever way buyers spec their EL, the lounge is spot on.
Not only are the (reflex foam) side sofas each more than 6ft long, but the windows all around are huge (bringing to mind reminiscences of the monocoque-bodied Auto-Sleepers of the 90s).
There’s a large push-up Heki rooflight above, too, and a plethora of reading lights on adjustable rails (so they can be positioned at will).
The rear window has a soft-touch surround that almost begs to be stroked (!) and the corner headrests suggest lazy days, feet up with a good book. There’s a useful cabinet between settee and door, too, that is not just a resting place for your latte, but also it’s a place to position your television and charge your devices (a pop-up power point reveals two USBs).
If you’ve chosen the full U-shape, as here, you may also want to add the small coffee table (stored behind the driver’s seat, with its island leg in the wardrobe) for drinks and snacks.
Alternatively, for full meals, there’s a much larger free-standing table (also kept in the wardrobe). As ever, extracting it may become awkward if you’ve jam-packed the space with clothes, but it does circumvent the need to carry another table for use outside.
Used inside, despite its fairly generous 930mm by 530mm size, you’ll find it most comfortable to pull it to one side and dine side by side – if you face each other, the table is a stretch away in such a wide lounge.
At night, the lounge becomes your bedroom and the easiest thing to do is just remove the backrest and armrest cushions (stack them in the cab) and use the settees as single beds.
They’re identical in length and width, so there will be no arguments on who gets which, while there’s room to stow bedding beneath the nearside sofa and it’s easy to retrieve as the bed base rises on gas struts (most of the space under the offside is taken up with electrical services, including the standard-fit lithium battery).
If you prefer a double bed, then it’s best to go for the U-shape seating option and invest in a very large duvet (mine wasn’t nearly big enough to cover this huge bed).
To create the double, the bases slide out from each side and the centre is filled by the side backrests and the armrest cushions. The backrests along the rear wall could be left in place if you’re sleeping across the width of the motorhome (over 2.2m!) but sleeping lengthways will make getting in and out easier.
Whichever way you sleep, it would have been preferable to see insulation panels adjacent to the vehicle sides, rather than touching the cold GRP.
If you think that the Broadway’s designers have squandered all the space on the lounge, leaving room for little more than a camp stove, think again. The galley wants for nothing.
For a start, the Thetford cooker includes a mains hotplate, three gas rings and a separate grill and oven, as well as an extractor hood. And, if that doesn’t give you enough options when conjouring up dinner for two, then there is a Dometic microwave diagonally above.
It’s not as if worktop space is lacking, either. There’s a decent acreage of prep space next to the sink (when you’re not using the removable drainer) and a flap to give you more surface area next to the hob.
Then, there’s quite a generous amount of stowage, including three drawers (but no cutlery holder) and, up high, a plate rack and four crystal wine glasses clipped into place. A pull-up ‘power tower’ gives you three 230V sockets, too.
And, if you’re waiting for the ‘but the fridge is tiny’ comment that often follows with this sort of layout, then look away now because the chilled department (next to the wardrobe on the offside) has a 142-litre capacity, as well as automatic energy selection.
The cook can even swivel the passenger cab seat around while waiting for the microwave to ping. Or this seat can be used in combination with a laptop table (rather high for typing, ideal for watching our MotorhomeCampervan channel on YouTube) that folds down from the washroom wall.
With reading lights and the cab sunroof above, this space is, once again, well thought out. The only negative is that the overcab shelves need retaining rails/nets to stop your maps and guides hitting you on the head at the first roundabout.
So far, we have a motorhome that somehow feels more spacious and opulent than its 7m-long rivals, but there’s one feature that Auto-Sleepers hasn’t managed to shoehorn in – a fully separate shower.
Instead, the EL has the next best thing, a swing-wall that creates a shower section in the washroom when required. It’s the familiar design long seen in models such as the Nuevo and, while it looks and feels rather plasticky, it functions well. All that’s really lacking is any flat surface for you to place your toiletries upon.
There’s generous room to use the basin and swivel cassette toilet, then pull the washbasin to the right and squeeze through the gap (check this for size yourselves) into the shower area before completing the compartment with a frosted screen.
Once in the shower you’ll find plenty of space to wash, while twin drains should see the suds quickly slide away. Pity the walls aren’t all plastic-lined, though.
Consider the Premium Pack to be standard and you won’t need to trouble your dealer with a list of accessories to fit. The fittings are already there for a bike rack on the back, so that just leaves the TV and, perhaps, a satellite dish (an aerial is provided). Even a Motorhome WiFi system comes as standard, as well as a Category 6 vehicle tracker.
And the Peugeot cab gets all the goodies, from sat-nav to a leather steering wheel, although there’s just one armrest per seat. Under the bonnet is a 165bhp engine, which has plenty of poke for a relatively compact coachbuilt.
It certainly felt a lot more lively than the 140bhp Fiat unit offered as standard in most rivals, while those that need an automatic can still switch to the Ducato with nine-speed automatic at extra cost. And, unlike some models with this layout, the furniture behind the driver’s seat is not so close as to restrict the travel of the seat for tall pilots.
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