This is a capable high-end van conversion that is well-equipped and built. But you do pay a lot for it and there is a lot of competition.
Price from: £53,950 Price as tested: £56,000 Type Approval: European Whole Vehicle Berths: 2 Travel seats: 2
Like all Vantage motorhomes, Cad is strictly a two-traveller, two-berth in their rear lounge tradition. It’s the Mercedes equivalent of their Fiat-based Sol, but at £56,000 (as tested) there’s a hefty premium for the three-pointed star.
The layout comprises swivelling cab seats, a tall, shelved pantry behind the driver, then the washroom, on the back of which is hung the wardrobe. Inside the nearside sliding door is the kitchen unit, then comes the rear U-shaped lounge. Vantage have designed Cad from a downsizer’s point-of-view – knowing coachbuilt owners expect a separate area for outdoor, mucky kit, like the barbeque, levelling blocks and boots.
This particular design prevents rear entry to the motorhome, but if preferred, Vantage will produce your Cad with a through gangway instead as a no-cost option.
Dining and lounge
Vantage provides two different-sized table poles, the shorter one (with removable tripod base) being for al fresco use. The lounge is up a small step, so headroom decreases from 1.91m to a still adequate 1.80m. Cushion foam is firm, but really comfortable for long periods – and, thankfully, there are no knee-rolls. Overhead lighting, though non-adjustable, is from plentiful LED clusters, and there’s a large sunroof-style vent, plus another over the kitchen area.
The kitchen unit worktop is grey speckled Formica, like the table-tops. It contains a deep, rectangular, stainless-steel sink with Whale mixer tap above, plus a hob, under a glass lid, with two burners. Surprisingly, for a British ’van, this has manual ignition, although no oven or grill, which some may find surprising.
Two mains sockets are positioned, one at each end of the unit, and there’s a rising flap attached to the forward end of the galley.
The well-illuminated (two LED ceiling clusters) washroom is of acceptable size for a van conversion and the walls are smooth, easily-wiped, white board. The shower tray drain hole is well positioned, and although there’s no window, steam can escape through the skylight. When using the Thetford bench toilet, there’s sufficient knee-room to avoid the fixed corner washbasin. Also provided are two mirrors, a toilet-roll-holder, two robe hooks and a towel ring.
Vantage always endeavours to provide single beds of at least 1.90m (6ft 3in) long to cater for taller campers. With Cad they’re a tad shorter, at 1.88m (6ft 2in). However, a big double measuring 1.73m (5ft 9in) wide is easily formed by fitting the two table tops between the settees and squeezing two of the lounge backrests together on top (the remaining backrests and cushions then joined all our clutter in the cab). It’s a really comfortable, flat bed and we both slept very well.
With a high-end van conversion you’d expect a comprehensive level of equipment. For starters, it has a spare wheel tucked behind the rear bumper, also a gas locker with room for two refillable 7kg Autogas cylinders, with a filler point in the exterior wall. The under-slung fresh and waste water tanks are made of thick plastic to aid insulation and with a frost-stat as a sensible option.
Heating is supplied by a 2kw Whale space heater (gas or mains powered) with blown-air outlets in the lounge and washroom. Water is heated by a Truma 10-litre boiler. Two 80Ah Banner leisure batteries are backed up by an (optional) 50W solar panel.
Like every Vantage we’ve inspected, the craftsmanship is exemplary, and the Cad is comfortable for sleeping, lounging and general living. The Mercedes base vehicle drives well, although we were less impressed by the engine than by the comfort of the cab. Improvements could be made to storage and to the kitchen, but changes are under consideration. At £56,000, Cad is not cheap but it has the kudos of both the Vantage and Mercedes names and is handily sized for use as a sole vehicle. If you wanted more room, Neo S, based on the long-wheelbase (6.94m) Sprinter, costs an extra £3000 and comes as standard with the more powerful engine.
An extended version of this motorhome review first appeared in the September 2012 issue of Which Motorhome. You can subscribe or download the full digital issue by clicking HERE