Berths: 2 Travel seats: 2 Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Gross weight: 3,300kg Payload: 520kg
Here’s an utterly conventional two-berth end lounge van conversion based on the ubiquitous six-metre Fiat Ducato high-roof panel van. It wears the branding of French marque, Chausson, but is a totally different animal to the Twist models sold on the Continent.
On the maker’s home market, the V594 model has a rear fixed bed, while production actually takes place at Trigano Group’s specialist van conversion plant in Italy. For the UK, a special British-market-only V594 is assembled in Grimsby, at the Auto-Trail factory, adopting a traditional UK floorplan.
Confused? Well, Auto-Trail is, of course, another Trigano brand. As are Benimar and Roller Team, both of whom also offer new six-metre rear lounge van conversions built on the same production lines in North Lincolnshire. None is quite the same, though. Closest to this Twist V594 is the Benimar Benivan 120, but that comes with white bodywork and a higher spec, including the 150bhp engine.
The Chausson is available only in metallic silver and comes with the 2-litre 115bhp diesel engine – a unit we’ve come to like for its economy and smoothness. Standard spec also includes driver and passenger airbags, air-conditioning, cruise control and pre-wiring for a radio. We can’t see any Twists escaping the production line without the £1,390 Travel Pack, though – it adds black alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, ESP, Traction Plus, Hill Descent Control, a reversing camera and DAB radio with Bluetooth and steering wheel-mounted controls. The radio is a double-DIN unit from Xzent.
The living area holds no surprises, bar possibly the use of a very pale wood tone (also seen in the Benimar Benivan and Roller Team Toleno) with contrasting white panels on the top lockers. A grey wood finish for the flooring complements the tweedy fabric, which is enlivened by zigzag patterned scatter cushions.
Both cab chairs swivel, making this a useful secondary seating area when the rear lounge has been converted into a bedroom. A large surface over a low-level cupboard behind the driver’s seat almost makes a table here superfluous but Chausson provides one anyway – a round, island leg type with 540mm diameter top.
You can, of course, also use the circular table in the rear, or there’s a rectangular unit (using the same leg) that measures 550mm by 700mm for full dining.
The galley has a good provision of preparation space once a flip-up extension panel is deployed by the door. The two-burner hob and sink are combined in a single stainless-steel unit and there’s a low-level Daewoo 800W microwave, too – so much better than one mounted up high. There’s no gas oven or grill, though, and, while a couple of drawers are installed here, the floor-level storage is all in cupboards that may see you down on your hands and knees. At least the aisle between the kitchen and bathroom is a decent width, measuring up to 700mm. The fridge is opposite, under the wardrobe, and has three-way operation and a 95-litre capacity.
The bathroom design is familiar from V-Line and Tribute models and features a drop-down basin, swivel loo and tiny roof vent but no window. Also omitted from the Twist’s spec are cab blinds (HTD silver screens are provided), and a flyscreen or step at the sliding door. Four reading lights are fitted in the rear lounge, though, along with posh pleated blinds.
The seats convert only to a transverse double bed (1.85m by 1.38m) but fixed top sections of backrest cushion limit the usable length, so check this out carefully if you’re tall.