Camper vans of old were the realm of surfers and hippies, but the times have changed. Now young suburban couples head out on to the open road on the weekend, or for a European vacation, armed with nothing more than a stylishly appointed transit van. So which one is the best?
Well Volkswagen still rules the roost in terms of pure numbers with the T5 van, converted in a variety of ways, even though the German manufacturer has officially stopped producing its own campers on its production line in Brazil. Perhaps for this reason, Motor caravan Motor home Monthly Magazine voted the Auto Campers Leisure Van the ultimate road-trip vehicle in its class.
Based on the Ford Custom, which sits between the Transit Courier and the Connect, this stylish van contains a double bed, storage, removable pods and seats that allow you to change configurations and turn it from a van into a full-blown hotel room on wheels.
As it isn’t a massive truck-sized machine it’s not intimidating to take on the open road, too, which means anybody can jump into the Auto Campers Leisure Van and take it down the road. This is not a monster that will get stuck under a low-lying bridge, it’s easy to manoeuvre and almost as simple as a car to drive through the country lanes of Britain.
The Berkshire company offers the ultimate van with a pop-top that can accommodate up to four people with an optional drop down bed from the roof. It comes with its own heating system, cooking facilities with two gas rings and, apart from your partner, will be the best road-trip companion you’ve ever had. Prices start from just £30,000, too, which makes the Leisure Van a bargain compared to the big-ticket RVs.
These smaller, transit-based camper vans have led to an explosion in their popularity both here and in the United States. In America the leisure-vehicle market is massive and the RV is a national institution. Their popularity was on the decline, but the smaller camper vans have brought the lifestyle roaring back into vogue.
Camper vans, then, are no longer the realm of hippies and surfers. We’re all potential campers now and with the likes of the Auto Campers Leisure Van on the market, we don’t need to suffer discomfort on the open road.