Base vehicle: Ford Tourneo Custom Price from: £53,995 Berths: 4 Travel seats: 5 Length: 5.34m Width: 1.99m Height: 2.07m Gross weight: 3,140kg Payload: 550kg
Last year, one of the UK’s foremost motorhome retailers, Lowdhams (of Nottingham and Huddersfield), entered the pop-top camper market with its own exclusive dealer special, built by Wellhouse Leisure.
Now there’s a long-wheelbase version, too, while the latest models are based on the high-spec Tourneo Titanium people-carrier, rather than the more basic Transit Custom panel van from which it’s derived. The conversion is approved as part of Ford’s own Qualified Vehicle Modifier scheme, as well as being passed by the NCC (National Caravan Council).
Summit prices start at £52,495, with the long-wheelbase model costing a reasonable £1,500 more. Both lengths feature an elevating roof with roof bed and a side kitchen layout, plus a rear travel seat that can slide fore and aft on rails, but the longer derivative (5.34m plays 4.97m) gains an extra cupboard in the offside unit. There’s also significantly more floorspace, which is important when the bed’s made up and when the seat is moved forward for maximum load-carrying in the boot.
The Summit can be used for camping much of the year as it comes not only with cab air-conditioning but also diesel-powered Eberspächer blown-air heating as standard, together with Ford’s brilliant Quickclear windscreen defrosting system and even heated cab seats. A Winter Pack (heated and lined water tanks) is available for £250.
Four exterior colours are available (Chrome Blue, Orange Glow, Magnetic Grey and Diffused Silver), while the Titanium trim level includes a chrome grille, colour-coded wheelarch extensions, 17in alloy wheels, Ford’s Sync 3 touchscreen with DAB radio and reversing camera, automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, rain-sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors, and a driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment.
The engine can be upgraded from 130PS to 185PS for an extra £1,986, while a six-speed automatic gearbox is offered with either motor, priced at £1,695.
As a family vehicle, safe seating is vitally important and, in this respect, the Summit excels, offering five travel seats, each with an adjustable headrest and a three-point inertia reel seatbelt. The rear bench is an M1 pull-tested system complete with Isofix mounting points for child seats. It can be slid and locked in any position on the four mounting rails, so you can have passengers close behind the cab seats for a convivial atmosphere on a long trip.
The cab seats are both mounted on swivel bases and are easy to rotate, thanks to the fitment of a fly-off handbrake. Even when the brake is on, the lever sits horizontally, so the driver’s seat swivel isn’t impeded. Two dining tables are also supplied as standard – one mounted on a bracket on the B-pillar, next to the passenger seat, the other a larger free-standing unit that clips to the underside of the rear bed section, so you’ll need to go outside and raise the tailgate to access it.
In traditional campervan style, the Summit uses a side kitchen layout. Its cabinets are available in Driftwood, Metallic Grey or Gloss Cream finishes. Ambient LED lighting strips are set into the lower and upper edges of the cupboards, while standard kitchen equipment includes a combination two-burner hob and sink and a 42-litre compressor fridge that runs off the 100Ah leisure battery, with a standard-fit 100W solar panel helping to top up the battery when you’re not on a hook-up.
A Smev grill is available as an option, while an exterior shower and outside barbecue point are also available. Upholstery can be upgraded to half-leather (£1,200) or full Napa leather (£1,950).
It’s a well-finished camper that bears close comparison with the best LWB VW campers.