Base vehicle: Citroën Jumper Berths: 4 Travel seats: 5 Length: 5.41m Width: 2.05m Height: 2.70m Gross weight: 3,500kg
Words: Peter Vaughan
Photos courtesy of Hobby
The Beachy brand started as a caravan that picked up on vanlife trends. It intended to mix the beach hut feel with natural materials inside a small caravan that would appeal to a younger audience. Hobby is already reporting strong sales in its homeland, where it is priced from just €11,950.
Now, the concept comes full circle as the vanlife ideals return from the Beachy caravan to a new campervan. Shown as a concept vehicle at the Caravan Salon, the Beachy Van 540 will go into production next summer, with UK deliveries available from the get go.
Unlike the caravan, it doesn’t start as a clean sheet design but with a MWB Citroën Jumper. The 5.41m van was chosen as it is more suitable as a daily driver than larger versions, while the Citroën chevrons usually mean a more competitive price than for a Fiat.
It comes with a pop-top roof, so the Beachy can be a family vehicle. Of course, there’s a ladder to reach the big upstairs bed and plenty of ventilation up top for summer at the seaside. But it’s down below that the new Hobby breaks away from the conventional.
Like the caravan, it eschews traditional materials and goes back to basics, with a layout that leaves out a washroom. There’s no carpet on the floor, the furniture is predominantly white and the worktops have a driftwood theme – it’s all very simple, very Scandinavian.
The layout not only omits a washroom but also has no tall furniture, in a deliberate desire to give the Beachy Van an open and spacious feel. That will be enhanced on a fine day when you have the rear doors open. Back here, it almost seems like a UK campervan with its side-facing sofas, though these are not plush settees but simple benches. The lockers above go for an even more back-to-basics approach with doors replaced by elasticated straps – you’ll need to pack carefully to ensure everything is safely stowed.
We won’t call it a rear lounge because that sounds far too conventional but, of course, the seats also turn into a transverse double bed – once you’ve added the aluminium crossbar supports and a set of wooden slats.
Further forward, the Beachy has a compact kitchen with a stainless-steel sink served by 19-litre fresh and waste water carriers, as well as a 70-litre compressor fridge. Instead of a built-in cooker, a drawer-style compartment reveals a single-burner hob fed by gas cartridges (so there’s no need for a gas locker). Opposite is a low, removable cupboard that can house a Porta Potti.
The Beachy Van isn’t as basic as its caravan sister, as it does have blown-air heating (fuelled by diesel), but it aims to offer the same ‘beach house look’ and appeal to those wanting a campervan to support sports activities. Hobby says its debut received a tremendous response from press and public alike. It clearly isn’t going to suit everyone but removable travel seats add to its flexible design and, although Hobby won’t yet be drawn on pricing, we’d expect it to significantly undercut the existing, better-appointed Vantana range. And it’s sure to appeal to a new, younger audience.
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