A keen starting price, excellent rear lounge layout and impressive kitchen suggests this two-berth campervan could prove a real success with buyers
Price from: £38,599 Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Berths: 2 Travel seats: 2 Length: 5.99m Payload: 600kg
After making a welcome return to the campervan market with its range of panel van conversions in 2018, Compass have now added a third model to its campervan line-up for the 2020 season with its new Compass Avantgarde CV60.
This is the twin to the Elddis Autoquest CV60 model with the only difference being the interior text graphics. They’re priced identically so pick the interior you prefer – the Autoquest has more prounouced wood grain panelling and grey worktops, while the Avantgarde has cream worktops and slightly lighter wood-effect panels.
Both models are available in either white or, for an extra £500, metallic grey. They have slightly different graphics, but again there’s not much in it. The real point to note, though, is the price, which starts at an impressive £38,599 on the road. This is good for a 5.99m campervan and it seems a small price to pay for an Erwin Hymer Group product, that’s for sure...
It would be reasonable to expect a pretty basic, pared-down cab for this price and it's true that you do need to specify the Lux Pack for £1,218 to get air-conditioning (as well as a passenger airbag and cruise control). Most buyers are going to choose this and we'd wager that few dealers will stock a non air-con model. You’ll easily lose £1,000 at resale time if you don’t tick this box, so you’d be mad not to opt for it.
Our test campervan also had alloy wheels (£650) and that smart dark grey metallic paint (£500) which bumped the price up to £41,227. Again, very reasonable for a campervan of this size and specification. The only box we'd also tick would be the sat-nav and rear view camera option, which seems a bit of a bargain at £530.
At the keen price, you’d expect it to come with the entry-level 120bhp motor, so it’s a pleasant surprise to find out the base model engine is the 140bhp 2.3-litre one. This is the perfect powerplant for this size of vehicle, but you can also opt for the 160bhp engine and the excellent new nine-speed full automatic gearbox.
Standard kit in the cab includes electric windows and mirrors, and retrimmed cab seats both with swivel bases and twin armrests. Only the non-leather trimmed steering wheel and untrimmed armrests hint at the vehicle’s budget status and most people won’t be bothered by these minor details. You even get a fully trimmed dark carpet overmat as standard in the cab (with lighter coloured loose-fit carpets supplied as standard throughout the rest of the vehicle).
On the road, the 140bhp engine pulls well and there’s little to complain about in terms of the drive. There was a little noise from the conversion behind, with the lid of the cooker being the chief culprit. A well-placed tea towel would soon sort this.
The CV60’s layout is strictly a two-berth (check out the similarly priced CV40 if you need four travel seats) and all the better for it. Not having to cram in a couple of travel seats has definite benefits with this layout.
The cab seats swivel easily rearwards to form a front lounge area, but it’s the interesting rear seating layout where this vehicle really shines. You expect to find a couple of side settees in the rear, so it’s a surprise to find a deeper than usual angled sofa. This extra seat width makes it more comfortable to sit on when facing the side of the vehicle and you can even put your feet up on the cabinets fitted opposite if you’re long in the leg.
Sitting lengthways, it’s even better as the extra width makes it feel more like a daybed than a regular sofa. As you have two large windows in the sides and two in the back doors – all of which open and have flyscreens – there’s plenty of natural light and an overhead rooflight also helps here. Throw open the rear doors and you get the full benefit of a rear lounge layout.
Opposite the settee is a waist-height storage unit that features a useful section of worktop, two cupboards (the rearmost being larger and double doored) and a couple of drawers mounted over the wheelarch (which is insulated – the vehicle has Grade III insulation). This worktop is ideal for drinks and doubles as a useful bedside table at night, too.
A durable plastic fold-out bracket for a TV (or tablet) is fitted as standard and above this is a TV aerial point and 12V and 230V sockets. Four roof lockers, all with positive locking catches and curved edges, flank the roof. As the headroom is 6ft 2.5in, there’s little chance of the lanky bashing their head on these.
Some rear lounge layouts – especially the twin side settee designs – can feel a bit like a waiting room and, while you can seat four people, it tends to involve lots of leg clashing and doesn’t feel that luxurious. Designing this layout just for two makes it feel a much more convivial place to be and works really well.
The typical kitchen kit you get in a budget campervan is generally a combined two-burner hob and sink unit, so it’s great to see that the CV60 includes a proper Thetford Triplex cooker as standard, complete with three-burner hob, grill and oven as well as electronic ignition. There is a microwave option for an extra £195 if you don’t mind sacrificing an overhead locker, but you don’t really need it. There’s also a 230V socket in the kitchen for a kettle, etc.
To the left of the oven there’s a 90-litre Thetford compressor fridge, which is at a handy waist height, making it easy to grab a cold drink without having to bend down. The worktop has been redesigned for the 2020 CV model range to increase the walkway space and, even though it’s slightly narrower, there’s ample room for prepping food. A handy worktop extension can be flipped up to gain more space if the area around the circular sink isn’t enough.
Storage in the kitchen pod is impressive and includes four small drawers, a locker under the oven, a narrow, angled triple- shelved cupboard (complete with a wire rack for mugs) and two overhead lockers. You can also use the cupboard opposite the kitchen for extra worktop space and this is deep enough to house bulkier kitchen kit such as toasters and blenders.
There’s a couple of circular LEDs underneath the lockers above the oven, with LED strip lighting fringing the top of the locker, too.
There’s not enough room for a draining board by the sink (though you could always use one of those plastic extension pieces on the flip-up worktop extension) and no extractor fan. The latter item doesn’t matter as you’d usually cook with the side door or window open.
One very handy point to note here – which is amazing to find on a budget campervan – is that Compass has included a full-width flyscreen that slides across the opening when the side door is open. This is an expensive bit of kit that’s usually an optional extra on many panel van conversions.
For dining, there’s only one place to eat and that’s the cab seats. The table leg isn’t the usual Fiamma pole-in-the-hole type, but an ITC pole that uses a lug that is simply screwed into a floor plate. The tabletop (which lives in the wardrobe under the fridge) then simply drops on top of this pole. It’s less wobbly than the legs that simply push into a floor-mounted hole and works very well.
The table can be angled as you wish and is plenty big enough for two diners. As there isn’t a mounting plate in the rear lounge area, most people will probably keep it set up and have a morning breakfast bar.
A sea of white plastic is the usual fare in a budget campervan and this is generally the room where corners are cut to keep the price down.
But not here. A smart circular plastic sink that feels quite sturdy sits on a curved section of worktop, with a Thetford electric-flush swivel bowl sitting alongside it on the all-in-one shower tray.
A toothbrush mug, loo roll holder, two towel hooks and an overhead locker (with twin mirrored doors) are also included, together with a couple of shelves.
In shower mode, a plastic curtain covers the door and basin area, while the tap pulls out of its housing and slots into a wall bracket. There’s a large roof vent with a flyscreen and LED lighting throughout.
Downsides? Well, there’s only one plughole in the shower tray, but at least it’s a domestic-sized stainless-steel topped one, rather than a narrower all-plastic item.
Also the tap felt a bit flimsy. Hardly deal breakers, though...