This new Globecar will be remembered as the one that didn’t rattle, not even a little bit. But quality was never in doubt with this brand; what it can now add to the repertoire is contemporary décor and design. It feels more spacious, too, without the Ducato’s cab shelf, while the Campscout retains a washroom that is remarkably roomy for a campervan.
Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Price from: £55,755 Berths: 2 Travel seats: 4 Length: 6.36m Width: 2.05m Height: 2.58m Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 530kg
Words and photos: Peter Vaughan
Globecar is one of the largest of all campervan brands on the Continent and its models have focused on top-notch quality rather than innovation.
Its popular Roadscout, Globescout and Campscout in the D Line range adopt the usual fixed bed layouts in Fiat’s 5.41m, 5.99m and 6.36m-long panel vans, with a rather conservative feel.
Not any more. For 2021, there are Elegance versions of each of those three conversions and these, which are still built in the Dethleffs factory, all but replace the D Lines for the UK. The names and the layouts are familiar, but the décor is a world apart. Fortunately, the same class-leading quality has been retained.
The Elegance campervans have a lot more about them than a change of wood colour and a new seat fabric – called Oxford and a rather nice grey tweed-style, for the record.
A significant change is the adoption of the Open Cab Roof Concept. This deletes the overcab shelf that for so long has been a head-bashing part of every Ducato campervan and replaces it with fresh air.
It doesn’t include a sunroof above the windscreen but it does offer full headroom right into the cab, which makes moving to and from the living area a lot easier. And it gives the lounge a far greater feeling of space.
There are changes on the outside, too, where the Elegance gets flush, framed windows, which offer better security as well as improving the looks. And, around the windows, are new carbon-effect panels.
Other than that, this looks like a typical Fiat van conversion, with the sliding door on the continental side. That door has a rare feature, though – it soft closes, so you gently pull it shut and an electric motor pulls it closed. No more slamming doors.
As with all UK-bound Globecars, the new Elegance range is also enhanced with extra spec. The UK Pack adds wheeltrims, the gloss black grille and matching headlamp surrounds, but it’s unlikely that you’ll see one without the metallic paint and alloy wheels fitted here, which are additional optional extras.
It’s more than likely that a Globecar will have the automatic gearbox, too, as the company is reporting that at least 60% of UK customers are choosing to pay for this £3,000 option. I don’t blame them – it’s super smooth and makes a real difference to driving this ageing base vehicle.
All Campscouts are also based on the Maxi version of the Ducato, which can be identified by the additional black plastic mouldings around the front wheelarches. As such, they can be uprated to 4,100kg, if required, and come with larger brakes, 16in wheels and a greater towing capacity.
On the road, the Campscout also seemed to ride better than lesser Ducatos, with less crashing over bumps and potholes.
That wasn’t the standout feature of this model on our test drive, though – the lack of rattles was. I can’t remember the last time I drove a Fiat-based campervan that was this quiet.
All the Elegance range get the 140bhp engine as standard, with the option to upgrade to the 160bhp unit for a reasonable £1,295 or the 178bhp motor for a hefty £3,250. Unless you’re planning on towing, the standard unit is likely to be adequate.
In the cab, the UK Pack adds the leather steering wheel and radio preparation, as well as cruise control. A passenger airbag, air-conditioning and chrome-ringed instruments are featured, too.
You’ll need to find extra funds for a sat-nav, reversing camera or even a radio and there are no switches on the wheel for any audio equipment that you add. Carpets are absent, but offered at £225.
If the outside of the Campscout Elegance doesn’t shout different, but nonetheless adds a few detail refinements to the usual recipe, the same is true of your first impressions when you use the wide electric step to gain access through the sliding door.
It’s a pity that the step doesn’t automatically retract when you drive off, though – there’s just a piercing buzzer and a switch that you can’t reach from the cab.
The Open Cab Roof Concept certainly adds to the feeling of space, but so, too, do the angled kitchen unit (narrower at the forward end) and the excellent interior lighting.
I tested this campervan in some near-biblical wind and rain (as you’ll know if you’ve watched our video), and yet it seemed cosy inside and I was kept warm by the Combi 4 E gas/electric blown-air system (another UK Pack addition).
A major part of the update to Elegance spec has centred on interior illumination. So, there’s ambient lighting around the trim panel in the ceiling that surrounds the wind-up Heki rooflight and then sweeps down into the cab.
There’s LED backlighting behind the nearside window’s surround, too, and more ambient illumination above the top lockers and around the curved step in the floor where the lounge meets the entrance/kitchen area.
With spotlamps in the ceiling and an LED light rail that twists to alter its angle over the table, there’s no shortage of lighting, but I’d have still liked a pair of reading lamps for the cab chairs.
The half-dinette bench is firm but more comfortably shaped than most and its automotive head restraints are height adjustable. Isofix can be added here for an extra £265.
The table is mounted on a wall rail and its shape, angled away towards the front passenger seat, eases access into the cab. If you need four place settings, then an extension leaf rotates out to serve the driver’s seat.
Other welcome details include the flyscreen for the sliding door and the coat hooks just inside. There’s neat underfloor storage beneath the table, too, although virtually zero stowage under the bench seat as that’s where the boiler resides.
Remember when electric central locking of kitchen drawers was one of those ‘wow’ features that you only found on liner-class motorhomes?
Well, now the Elegance allows you to flick a switch and ensure that you don’t tip the contents of your drawers on the floor at the first roundabout. And these are big drawers – three huge ones, although no cutlery holder is provided.
What the shape of the galley and the inclusion of massive drawers does mean (apart from lots of lovely, easy-to-get-at storage) is that there’s nowhere to fit an oven or grill. That’s not unusual with this type of layout but, for some UK buyers, it will be an opportunity (and sale) missed.
You do get a modicum of worktop and preparation space via a loose cover for the sink and a 240mm by 370mm flip-up panel at the forward end of the galley – in Globecar style, the latter is easy to deploy and feels engineered to sit a small elephant on.
Another plus is the fridge, which is mounted at waist height, so you can easily see the butter or bratwurst, or whatever you’re seeking, without getting down on your knees. It’s a 90-litre compressor model, too, so you just switch it on and forget it. An even larger, 138-litre fridge is available as an option.
You won’t be able to get to a cold beverage, though, if your partner is in the shower, because the Campscout’s washroom expands all the way across the centre aisle with a pair of sliding tambour doors.
It’s always been a challenge to get a good-sized washroom into a campervan and the compromise here seems a good one.
The first tambour door can be used as a privacy screen to hide the rear bedroom (although there is an unavoidable 45mm gap at the side), while the second one pulls around to double the size of your washroom area).
Now, you’ll find the location of the wardrobe (under the fridge and with a 790mm drop from its rail) is convenient as you can grab a fresh outfit after your shower.
The shower tray (featuring twin drains) is concealed under a panel in the floor and, despite there being a curtain to cover the loo and basin, you won’t get entangled in it and there’s plenty of room to hose yourself down. The tap doubles as the showerhead and can be clipped to the wall.
The washbasin itself is one that you can get your face over and it has a useful worktop adjacent, supplemented by several shelves with fiddle rails. There are bathroom cabinets top and bottom, too, while an opening window caters for ventilation.
The usual swivel cassette toilet is installed and there’s sufficient room for its use in comfort.
Beyond the bathroom is the reason you’ll buy a Campscout over the shorter Globescout, as the additional length of the extra-long Ducato is used to allow you to sleep lengthways.
The single beds are 1.86m and 1.92m long and, with a couple of central infill cushions, they are effectively joined to give maximum space at shoulder level.
Or you can remove one of the cushions to leave a flat surface for a night-time drink. Or you can add an extra slot-in panel and another cushion to create a king-sized double – 1.95m wide (assuming you still sleep lengthways) and with a length of between 1.92m (on the nearside) and 1.73m (in the middle).
Access is easier – very easy, via two wide steps – if you stick with the standard single bed format but, whichever way you sleep, the three-sided arrangement of top lockers means you won’t be able to sit up in bed. Some may also prefer to lose the windows in the rear doors (a no-cost option) so that pillows and blinds don’t clash.
Sitting up aside, this is a spacious and comfortable bedroom with plenty of space, magazine pockets, adjustable reading lights and plenty of ventilation (opening windows all around, plus a small roof vent). Shoes can be stored in the bedroom’s steps, while the foot of the nearside bed can be raised to reveal a second wardrobe – albeit one with just a 550mm drop from its rail.
It seems odd, though, that on a brand-new design there are no USBs to go with the bedroom shelves.
Of course, with this type of layout you always get a huge boot area for your outdoor gear and the Campscout is no exception. Open the barn doors and you’ll find an area that’s 1.16m wide, 1.52m deep and 690mm high. The 100-litre fresh water tank is built-in here on the offside, while a gas locker is on the nearside (with its door opening into the load space). Tie-down hooks are provided and there are heater vents, but no lighting.
If you want to create a full-sized garage, that’s possible, too, with even the bedroom steps unbolting to allow long loads to go in.
However, the bed bases aren’t hinged, so you have to lift them out, along with all the mattress sections and stack them vertically on the nearside. If you’re going to need such a full-height load bay on a regular basis there are better systems in rival models, including ones where the whole bed rises electrically.
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The half-dinette might look like any other, but the rear seat has an improved backrest shape. There’s a rotating LED strip light over the table, as well as a 12V socket and USBs, while the sliding door has a soft-close mechanism and a flyscreen, and coat hooks are fitted just inside.
The kitchen is angled to give more floorspace by the lounge and storage here is in three extra-large drawers with push-to-open catches and central locking. There’s a loose cover for the sink and a folding panel at the forward end to provide preparation space. The compressor fridge boasts a 90-litre capacity and is mounted towards the rear, over a wardrobe with 790mm hanging height.
The fridge is, therefore, easy to access – except when the shower is in use. The washroom is the type that expands into the aisle by way of pull-around tambour doors that clip together magnetically.
There’s a wooden cover for the shower tray, which sits in the middle of the campervan and boasts twin drain outlets, plus a smart corner basin with gloss black surround, an opening window and a trio of shelves (with fiddle rails to keep their contents in place).
Space to use the shower or the toilet is generous, but of course pulling those tambour doors around obstructs the central aisle (as well as the fridge).
Beyond, two steps make for easy access to the single beds (1.85m long offside, 1.90m nearside). There are opening windows on either side of the bedroom, as well as a small roof vent, and the beds fill the full width of the campervan for 1.29m of their length. Reading lights can be positioned at will on their rails and storage pockets are provided, but overhead cupboards prevent sitting up.
Beneath the beds is a boot area 1.15m wide, a minimum of 1.27m deep and 0.69m high. The 100-litre fresh water tank is built-in here on the offside, with the gas locker on the nearside (its door opening awkwardly into the load area). Of course, you can stow the beds to get bikes inside but note that the infills for the optional third berth, if specified, are bulky to store.
Like all Globecars, the Elegance has extra spec for the UK, including cab air-con, a passenger airbag, ESP, height-adjustable passenger seat and retrimmed cab chairs. The 140bhp Ducato Maxi base vehicle is included in the base spec, too. Add the UK Comfort Pack (£1,995) and you also get cruise control, Traction+, a leather steering wheel, gas/electric heating and wheeltrims.