Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Price from: £42,975 Berths: 2/4 Travel seats: 4 Length: 5.41m/5.99m Width: 2.08m Height: 2.60m Gross weight: 3,300kg Payload: 475kg-560kg
There is no more famous name in motorhomes than Hymer and, whilst its fêted A-class models are out of reach here, you can get a campervan with the famous three-horizontal-bar logo for less than 50 big ones. It’ll be from the Free range, which used to come under the Hymercar banner.
Designed to have a more youthful interior style than the rest of the Hymer Camper Van line -up (Ayers Rock, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, etc), the Free comes in medium-wheelbase and long-wheelbase forms. There’s also a Mercedes version but that will soon be well over £50k with a few essential options.
All models have a flyscreen for the sliding door, a cooker/sink combination unit with two gas rings, and a 70-litre compressor fridge with a door that can be opened from either side. Rear fixed beds (on slatted frames) tip up in the usual way to maximise storage (for bikes, etc).
Washrooms are hidden behind a tambour door and have a fixed corner basin as well as the inevitable swivel toilet.
The Free 540 is the smallest model in the range with the classic transverse rear bed layout, while the Free 600 has a similar layout in the more spacious six-metre panel van.
It’s the Free 602 that is the unusual member of the family as it benefits from the luxury of a much more spacious lengthways bedroom but still in the 5.99m van rather than the extra-long Ducato.
All three models can be made family-friendly with the addition of a pop-top roof that includes an adult-sized double bed. It’s quite a pricey addition, though, at £3,520 (including colour-coding the lid).
You might also wish to consider the various options packs – Ready to Camp (£1,050), Chassis (£1,405), Style (£425) and Driver Assistance (£1,315). However you spec your Free, though, you’ll be buying into a heritage that goes back to the very first Hymer campervan in 1961.