Berths: 2 Travel seats: 2 Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 550kg (approx)
Back in the February issue we brought you the first test of IH’s 540 FL – the company’s first front lounge layout on the 5.41m medium-wheelbase Ducato. The Yorkshire company has previously offered a rear lounge in this size but now it has redeveloped the model to bring you the 540 RL.
While long-wheelbase (6.00m) and extra-long (6.36m) derivatives of the ubiquitous Fiat panel van obviously offer more space, the MWB is perhaps the ideal size for town driving or daily use. With a choice of layouts now available (both pure two-berths), IH is well-placed to tap into this growing market where choice is not as expansive as with the larger vans.
What you get here, then, is a classic layout built to IH’s high standards and with the choice of spec and décor that comes with a more bespoke conversion. Included in the price is the rear doors-replacing back panel (usual price £3,500), which is such a trademark feature of IH ’vans. Not only does it eliminate the potential draughts around the doors, but it features a single opening window with a top-hinged boot below giving access to storage (quite limited in this case, but useful). On this show model the rear panel was presented in carbon-fibre-effect in contrast to the champagne-coloured paintwork.
Another typically IH feature is the external table which unfolds from the back of the kitchen unit when the sliding door is open. Comfort cab seats with integrated seatbelts and Fiat’s own factory-fitted swivels (surely better than an after-market addition?) are another plus over most rivals.
On site, it’s useful to be able to leave the rear bed in situ and take your breakfast in the cab. Although there’s no table here, the large flip-up worktop extension on the forward end of the galley will be perfect for your coffee cups. The flap also means that the cook is not short of preparation space, while the stainless-steel sink comes with an oddments drainer.
You get a top-notch cooker, too, with mains hotplate, three gas rings, and, unusually in a van conversion, separate oven and grill. Two large drawers complete the galley, while the Dometic 8-Series fridge is opposite.
The bathroom comes with a bench-type cassette toilet (easier to clean than swivel types) and useful storage behind a porthole-style mirror.
The rear lounge is in the form of two facing settees, without any central wrap-around section, but it provides a cosy relaxation space for two. At night it converts into a transverse double bed.
This demo model is shown with half-leather upholstery along with Soft Oak furniture, but IH offers plenty of alternatives. Extras fitted here included cruise control, LED running lights, alloy wheels, air-con, metallic paint, gloss cupboard doors, a 19in TV (concealed in its own locker) and an awning.