This is a clever example of a campervan that's relatively compact - at under 5.5 metres long - yet manages to feel spacious inside, offering a transverse double bed and a washroom. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the size of the lounge, too.
Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Price from: £53,950 Berths: 2 Travel seats: 2 Length: 5.41m Width: 2.05m Height: 2.60m Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 600kg
Here’s a new model that you should consider if you’re looking for a top-quality van conversion that’s compact and yet spacious inside.
The MWB Fiat isn’t much longer than a LWB VW T6 but its wider body and flatter sides make for a much more spacious camper. Not as spacious, of course, as the bigger selling long or extra-long Fiat panel vans, but a lot easier to slot into a supermarket parking space. It’s a good compromise between everyday usability and having all ‘mod cons’ on board.
Vantage has been up to speed on the appeal of the MWB Fiat van for years, offering its Cub and Med rear lounge layouts in this size of vehicle. Then came the Gem, but it’s the newest of the trio that has been redesigned, bringing it more into line with the rest of the Vantage range – so it’s now easier to build. It also swaps the previous twin single beds for a transverse double, while now incorporating a proper enclosed washroom.
Before we step inside, though, it’s worth taking a look at the exterior. Vantage offers a small range of paint colours and uses Polyvision windows, which sit flush with the bodywork. There are no windows in the back doors, but these open to reveal a wall (the rear of the washroom) with space to hang large outdoor chairs, plus useful stowage for wellies, levelling wedges, etc.
You can go into the living area this way, through the bathroom, too – useful if you’re wet and muddy after a hike. Staying on the outside, the alloys, metallic paint and color-coded bumper seen here are all options.
At the opposite end of the Gem, the lounge feels a good size. The cab chairs are higher than the rear settees, and there are no rear travel seats, but your feet won’t dangle helplessly if you sit in the front seats.
At night, Vantage’s own design of slatted bed supports feel very sturdy and bed-making is a doddle. The bed is nice and flat, too, although a bit on the petite side, at 1.80m by 1.30m. The only other issue is where to store the bed’s infill cushion. Bedding can go under the nearside settee, but the offside sofa has limited space as the boiler resides here.
The small galley incorporates a Thetford Triplex cooker with oven/grill, while the paucity of worktop space is addressed by a fold-up surface over the end of the settee. The only drawer is a very small home for cutlery, housed inside the under-sink cupboard.
There’s plenty more storage in the full-height unit opposite, where you’ll find an Isotherm compressor fridge at a convenient height with optional microwave above. Lots of cupboards under, over and forward of the fridge includes tall lockers for cereal packets, etc.
The bathroom fills the width of the campervan at the back and includes a large wardrobe (where you may have to keep that bed cushion). There’s a good-sized space for showering but the old-style tip-up basin seems a bit out of keeping with the rest of this stylish model.
As ever, there are plenty of options on a more bespoke conversion like this – from base vehicle kit to the comprehensive Diamond Edition Pack at £4,950.
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