25/07/2021 Share this review   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Motorhome review: Thistle Rose VW T6.1 campervan

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Key Features

  • Model Year : 2021
  • Class : Rising Roof
  • Base Vehicle : Volkswagen T6.1
  • Maximum Weight (Kg) : 2800
  • Berths : 4
  • Layout : Campervan

AT A GLANCE

Base vehicle: VW Transporter T6.1 Price from: £55,945 as shown Berths: 4 Travel seats: 6 Length: 4.90m Width: 1.90m Height: 1.99m Gross weight: 2,800kg Payload: 614kg

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION

Model Year
2021
Manufacturer
Thistle Rose Campervan Conversions
Class
Rising Roof
Range
No Range
Base Vehicle
Volkswagen T6.1
Engine Size
Payload (kg)
614
Belted Seats
6
Maximum weight (kg)
2800
Price from (£)
24337
Length (m)
4.90
Width (m)
1.90
Height (m)
1.99
Berths
4
Main Layout
Campervan
Price from (€)
Campervan Test Date

DETAILED REVIEW

 

Thistle Rose VW T6.1

It was the duo-tone, mint green and white colour scheme that caught my eye first in the halls of the Harrogate show, but even a quick look inside suggested that this wasn’t just another budget entry in the overcrowded world of VW campers. For a start, the £56k price tag on a T6.1 T28 Startline with 110PS engine, five-speed manual gearbox and Business Pack, puts the Thistle Rose conversion directly up against some highly respected competitors.

 

Safety first for the Thistle Rose campervan

Company owner, Peter Occardi, was quick to point out his previous working life in the world of emergency vehicles – and his passion for creating campervans with an emphasis on safety. The conversion shown here uses an RIB three-seater bench, with a double crossmember underneath the vehicle. In his own words, “If I wouldn’t put my kid in it, we won’t build it.”

That approach continues with the fitment of the Drivelodge elevating roof, where a frame is used to maintain rigidity between the B-posts – the corollary of which is a useful shelf at the front of the pop-top when it’s raised, where the original cab roof is retained (not cut out). The roof bed also has a hinged base to create more headroom – Peter is a tall chap! A further detail is that Thistle Rose even extends the VW exhaust to exit at the rear of the vehicle, rather than behind the cab as it does on the latest bulkhead-equipped T6.1 panel vans.

 

Thistle Rose campervan layouts

So, there’s clearly a desire to go about things the right way here and, not only that, but this North Yorkshire converter offers a huge amount of choice. Side kitchen layouts are to be expected in a T6 but here they come in versions with a two or three-person bench seat (both from RIB). Then there are rear galley layouts, too, in short and long-wheelbase forms and even an unusual rear U-shaped lounge offering.

Whichever floorplan ticks the box for you, Thistle Rose makes all of its furniture in-house and the model shown here features an aesthetically pleasing curve as the galley worktop sweeps up to incorporate the rear corner wardrobe.

 

Thistle Rose campervan kitchen

The company makes its own laminate, too, so that it can offer units with an inflection curve, with the worktop rounded down at the forward end as well as upwards at the rear of the camper. Here, though, it’s a slightly more conventional L-shaped kitchen unit with the 50-litre compressor fridge jutting out quite a way into the living area and a combined two-burner hob and sink unit mounted above, thus freeing up more preparation space to the rear (albeit over top-loading cupboards).

There’s a single drawer over the fridge, while the tambour-door cupboard in the slimmer section of the kitchen hides the twin 13-litre water carriers.

 

Thistle Rose campervan storage and kit

Another tambour door is used for the wardrobe, while rear boot space (both above and below the mattress) is pretty generous. With a double passenger seat (mounted on a swivel base), and the broad, 1.29m, RIB bench, this camper has belted seats for six – and seats for five when camping (the driver’s seat doesn’t swivel). This example also comes with a 100W solar panel and a 2kW Mikuni diesel-powered space heater, but Peter is keen to stress that every camper the company builds is configured for the customer, so no unnecessary kit is added and the total price of the complete vehicle is kept down.

 

 

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Images courtesy of Thistle Rose Leisure