Bright and spacious, this campervan feels more like a low-profile coachbuilt; it's a job well done from French firm Dreamer. With a fixed rear bed and a separate shower, overall this is something of a design triumph
Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Price from: £46,500 Berths: 2 Travel seats: 4 Length: 5.99m Width: 2.05m Height: 2.59m Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 425kg
It’s amazing the difference more daylight makes. Of course, big overcab sunroofs have been around in coachbuilts since Knaus introduced the concept in 2004, but until this season we’d not seen their like in van conversions. Now, Dreamer is one of three makers that have given a campervan the feeling of a low-profile coachbuilt – and, arguably, it’s the French firm that has done it best.
It’s not just about the extra light inside, but doing away with the usual overcab shelf also means full-height access to the driver’s quarters without stooping. With beautifully integrated GRP mouldings flowing from the sunroof into the surround for the Heki rooflight behind, it’s clear that a lot of design time has gone into this project. And the result is a vehicle that feels so much brighter and more spacious.
With part of the cab structure removed, Dreamer has also followed Fiat advice and fitted the more expensive cab seats with integral seatbelts. And that’s not the only Fiat upgrade; the D55+ also comes with pneumatic rear suspension (with a switch on the dash to raise or lower the back end by up to 14cm) as standard.
It’s the six-metre Ducato panel van that’s used here, with the typically continental transverse rear fixed bed layout. Up front, of course, it’s a half-dinette but rear passengers’ lot is improved not only by the overcab window but also the new more shapely rear seat, which has a squab cushion that can be extended out, if adults rather than kids are riding here.
The galley is in the usual place, partially across the (offside) door and, as is often the case, worktop is limited until you deploy the flap on the forward end. However, the pluses here are a three-burner hob, three extra-large drawers (including one with a bin) all with central locking and, most noticeably, a 134-litre tall/slim fridge.
You don’t often find a separate shower in a van conversion, either, but there is one here, thanks to the same clever swing-out wardrobe as seen in Rapido’s sister model, the V55.
Normally, the wardrobe lives in the top half of the shower cubicle but, when you want to use the latter, it swings around over the bed. Then the toilet door (opposite) can close off the area to create a fully en suite bedroom. The achievement of fitting a separate shower bathroom into a six-metre panel van with a fixed bed is clever stuff; as ever, though, do check it out for size for yourselves.
The bedroom has a generous shelved locker over the foot, so you have to sleep with heads to the nearside. The mattress here measures 1.84m by 1.28m, but usable bed length is up to 1.94m as the trim on the sides follows the contours of the base van.
The boot has a chequerplate floor and a removable false floor above allows a variable storage height – 500mm or 690mm, or much more with the bed folded away. There’s a heavy-duty finish to the furniture here and a tambour door locker at the side makes for much more practical stowage than in many rivals. It’s just one of the details that makes this a class-leading ’van.
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