One cool van conversion
Tempted by that initial price for this upmarket van conversion?
Be prepared to dig a little deeper. Bearing in mind we’re at the upper end of the van conversions market, you’ll probably want a little bit more out of your Auto-Trail V-Line SE 634 motorhome. Like one of the Media Packs (from £1,149), plus an upgrade to the 2.3-litre engine, from the standard two-litre 115bhp, offering (from £900) – although a test drive might convince you to hold back.
Dare we say, though, that kicking off at £53,000 is more realistic? You certainly still get plenty for your money – most especially extra space (the 634 is based on the extra-long Fiat Ducato) and a particularly well-equipped kitchen (more about that later).
For 2019, it’s a five-model V-Line SE range, with this – the 634 – the newcomer, slotting neatly into the middle of the line-up. It’s a straight two-berth, with a generous two-settee rear lounge.
The overall length of such a vehicle really does make it feasible to squeeze the facilities you’d expect in a typical coachbuilt motorhome – plenty of daytime seating; washroom with shower, toilet and basin; and, most notably here, a well-endowed kitchen – into a less bulky but arguably more rigidly constructed van conversion.
For V-Line SEs, there’s the instant attraction of metallic silver bodywork with colour-coded front bumper and discreet graphics. Also as standard are Fiat 16in alloy wheels and an awning, meaning these vehicles really look the part of a modern-day leisure vehicle. It’s UK-built, so the sliding door is on the right side for use in our country. Keeping the floorplan strictly two-berth (there’s no rear seat travel) means making the most of the interior space for on-site use. The underfloor gas tank helps in this regard, too – freeing up space that would otherwise be taken by a locker for cylinders. Also standard is a 100W solar panel.
Two items of note in the cab are the new Xzent “infotainment” system. It’s one of a clutch of high-tech’ items (TV plus aerial, steering wheel controls etc) that come with the Media Pack and provides a stereo system with 6.5in touchscreen, DAB, European satnav and reversing camera. Also, the latest cab seat upholstery is a two-tone finish to the captain’s seats with twin armrests.
Those cab seats swivel, of course, if you want extra seating once on-site. The main lounge is at the back, though, with two long settees facing each other and opening, double-glazed acrylic windows to three sides, all with concertina blinds and flyscreens.
Those settees do extra duty as twin single beds – although note they’re not the same length: the nearside is 1.86m, the offside 1.76m – and almost as easily can be converted to an all-but square 1.86m double (allowing you to sleep crossways or longitudinally).
There’s also a choice of two tables, using a single pedestal leg – a circular tabletop stows in the wardrobe (and can also be slotted between the swivelled cab seats), while a larger, rectangular top slots behind driver’s seat for travel.
Along the nearside mid-‘van, the kitchen unit has a Thetford Triplex cooker (three gas rings, combined oven and grill) to the chef’s left and a brushed steel sink to the right, leaving some permanent worktop both sides of the sink. It also means you can choose which side to add the drainer. There’s also a flip-up worktop extension to the far right. Kitchen storage is particularly good, too, thanks to an array of drawers (four) and lockers (three). Over the sink, the Daewoo microwave oven is neatly housed.
The star kitchen fitting, however, has to be across the corridor, where you’ll find a 142-litre narrow-body Thetford fridge with freezer, set at a height that makes access particularly easy!
It’s not just the bigger fridge, either. Storage does seem to be a strongpoint of the 634. Overhead lockers have positive catches and heavy-duty hinges, both sides of the lounge. Forward of the offside settee is a double-doored wardrobe, set over a trio of drawers. And the nearside settee base is free of any clutter (while there’s a bit of space around the Truma Combi boiler and leisure battery box in the offside).
As for the washroom, it has a deep shower tray that’s angled down to a single central plughole. There’s a slightly high-set swivel-bowl toilet, with space to use it, behind which there’s a mirrored vanity unit and flush-fitting panel for the fold-down sink. You pull a curtain around for showering, via a trigger-operated showerhead.
Verdict: Extra space, extra kit, extra attraction
Plus: Highly equipped kitchen, roomy rear lounge
Minus: Only 115bhp engine as standard
In-a-nutshell: Superior van conversion where the kitchen is king
There’s more information on the V-Line range on the Auto-Trail website . Find out more about insuring this or your current motorhome on our motorhome insurance discounts page.
Alternatives: Auto-Sleeper Warwick XL, Swift Select 184 (four-berth)
Auto-Trail V-Line 634 SE factfile
|Auto-Trail V-Line 634 SE
|6.36m L x 2.27m W x 2.68m H
|From £50,867 on the road
|Safety & security
|Electronic immobiliser, remote central locking, hill holder and ESC, twin airbags, European Whole Vehicle Type Approval
|2.3-litre engine upgrade (£900), Comfort-Matic automatic transmission (£2,040), Media Pack (£1,149), Media Pack Plus (£1,999), additional leisure battery (£120), towbar and electrics (£550)