Globecar’s latest model may not introduce any completely new ideas to the campervan market but it combines some of the best features seen elsewhere – overcab sunroof, swing-wall washroom and a long ‘n’ low-level kitchen counter – in one vehicle. That it does so with this German brand’s usual built-to-last quality is the icing on the cake.
Base vehicle: Peugeot Boxer Heavy extra-long panel van Price from: £48,285 (as tested £57,500) Berths: 2/3 Travel seats: 4 Length: 6.36m Width: 2.05m Height: 2.61m Payload: 490kg (standard model), 370kg (estimated as tested)
Words: Peter Vaughan Photos: Geneve Brand
There's no shortage of fixed bed, Fiat/Peugeot-based campervans on the market. In fact, think of a European motorhome brand and it will almost certainly have one – or, more likely, half a dozen – in its portfolio.
And with so much choice, it becomes increasingly hard for any make or model to stand out. But what if you were to pack all the best features into one vehicle?
Globecar’s website rather immodestly calls the new Summit Prime the “undisputed best in class”. That’s no small claim, so we borrowed the 640 version (there are also shorter 540 and 600 Summit Primes, the numbers indicating overall length) from SMC Motorhomes in Newark to see if this German camper can match the hype.
The first thing you’ll probably notice about the Summit Prime is its overcab SkyRoof. Globecar can’t claim to be first with this idea, having been beaten to this innovation by Adria, Dreamer/Rapido and Malibu, but the window above the windscreen here is not only big but it opens, too, via an easy-to-operate winding handle.
There’s a second skylight (again crank-operated) over the half-dinette lounge, so the front of the campervan feels remarkably spacious and bright, with full headroom throughout, too.
The rest of the exterior is pretty much as you’d expect, although it’s pleasing to see upmarket framed windows, rather than the cheaper caravan-style fittings. The glazing of the rear doors is an option, without which it would look rather utilitarian.
In fact, there was no shortage of optional kit fitted to this demonstrator.
Alloy wheels and Artense Grey metallic paint take care of the cosmetics, while the UK Edition Pack (priced at £1,595) does its bit to bring the spec up to what British customers expect.
This includes a painted front bumper, cruise control, Traction Plus, radio preparation, a leather steering wheel, LED daytime running lights and an electric element for the Truma Combi heating.
You won’t see a Globecar on our shores without the All-In Package, either. That’s another £1,985 but it adds all the base vehicle kit that you’d want – cab air-conditioning, ESP, ASR, Hill Holder, passenger airbag, chrome ringed dials, electric mirrors, cab blinds, retrimmed front seats with height adjustment for the passenger, as well as the driver, a spare wheel and even a larger (90-litre) fuel tank.
Completing the array of packages, at time of writing, SMC was also adding its Freedom Pack of awning, solar panel and Blaupunkt DAB radio for a special price of £845.
The base vehicle here was a Peugeot Boxer but it is expected that Fiat-based versions will also be available for those seeking an automatic transmission. If it’s an automatic that you’re after you can expect the price to top £60k for a fully loaded example like this, but that’s still very competitive for an extra-long (6.36m) campervan with all the bells and whistles.
We’ve long been impressed by Globecar’s build quality and that’s very much the case here, too, with a bombproof feeling to the fittings. What you might not have expected, though, is the Prime Lighting Concept which introduces a whole host of LEDs to the interior – around the Heki rooflight, above the top lockers, ambience lighting circumnavigating the lounge window and reading lights in the cab.
When the sun goes down and you stop benefiting from the SkyRoof you’ll certainly not be wanting extra light.
The rest of the lounge is as you’d anticipate – twin swivel cab chairs with two armrests each and a half-dinette bench, plus a raised floor section to keep feet all on the same level (under here is convenient access to the plumbing for an easy winter drain-down).
The wall-mounted table curves away towards the front passenger seat to improve access to this position and there’s a swing-out extension for when you need to cater for four. In reality, that’ll probably be a rare event as the 640 is a two-berth with the option to add a third bed in the lounge (for an additional £240).
Those seeking a British-style galley with oven, grill and maybe even a microwave, will point to the Summit and mutter darkly about foreign campervans, better weather abroad and barbecues, etc.
Those who own a continental camper, tour mostly in sunny climes or are trading up from a VW T6-sized camper, however, will feast their eyes on the Summit’s vast amount of worktop and smile like a Cheshire cat.
Partly because this is a rather long kitchen unit, partly as a result of using a compact combination of hob and sink plonked right in the centre, there is a really generous amount of preparation space for the chef here, even if he or she has only two gas rings on which to create fine dining.
Not only that, but the Summit has no tall furniture along the offside, so there’s a clear view from the swivelled driver’s seat, past the kitchen and through the bedroom to the back doors.
Some might prefer their bedroom to feel more secluded but most will surely revel in the feeling of extra space.
The cook will have even more cause to celebrate as there’s yet more worktop provided by a folding extension panel that, unusually, hinges up across the aisle rather than at the end of the galley.
As a result of this design it doesn’t restrict the doorway, like in most rivals, but it does ensure that the chef can’t desert his/her post, either!
That might be an issue if the chef’s partner is sunning themselves outside, grabbing another cold drink from the fridge easily as the cooler has a door that opens either way and is positioned right by the open sliding door. A removable freezer section means more room for beer, if required.
A flyscreen on the side entrance can keep the wasps and mozzies outside where they belong. That way, they won’t discover the Summit kitchen’s pull-out pantry unit with plenty of room for jam – or pots, pans and tins – or the three soft-closing drawers. Storage, it seems, is another Summit plus.
Often, even in extra-long-wheelbase models, the washroom is where campervans come a poor second to coachbuilt motorhomes. Here, though, Globecar has come up trumps with a design it calls a ‘Floating Wall’.
Again, it’s not a unique feature, but it does make very good use of space. Quite simply, the curved wall on which the basin and mirror are mounted swings around over the loo (the superior Dometic type) to create a proper enclosed shower cubicle without a clingy curtain.
There are twin drains to let the water flow away, but you’ll have to handhold the showerhead in use and the recess that looks ideal for shampoos and gels is actually only deep enough for a flannel. Pity. Standing room is only 1.83m (6ft) in here, too, so it helps if you’re not especially tall.
One lanky owner can, however, be accommodated in the bedroom and it’s here that the 640 shows the benefit of its extra length compared with the other Summit Prime models.
You sleep lengthways in conjoined twin beds measuring 1.94m long on the offside and 1.84m on the nearside.
The bedroom is well-lit with four windows and a quartet of spotlights, and access to the beds is especially easy, thanks to two steps (which hide more storage, ideal for shoes).
Larger items can go in the wide rear boot area which comes with anchor points on an adjustable track. Or, if you really go to town on your next Ikea visit, the beds (and their six cushions) can be completely removed for DPD van-sized space.
With plenty of top lockers throughout the living area and the bedroom, and ample storage below the bed for boxes, the only possible criticism of the Summit’s storage is a lack of wardrobe space. You’ll just have to fold clothes rather than hang them.