Raising the roof
We have campervans. And we have high-top van conversions. Meet a hybrid. Auto-Trail has announced two all-new Adventure models for the 2020 season and they’re exactly that – van conversions with elevating roofs.
Auto-Trail has already carved a considerable niche for itself in the van conversion sector, with its V-Line and selected Tribute models. It also builds UK versions of models for sister companies in the Trigano family, Benimar and Chausson. Plus, it also markets Roller Team Tolenos in the UK.
Like so many van conversions, Fiat’s high-roof Ducato is the base vehicle for the Adventure 65. In its latest guise, it has a Euro 6D 120bhp engine. Demanding an engine upgrade (from £900 for the 140bhp) seems a no-brainer – as it could mean savings of £535 on your on-the-road charges. It also means you can consider opting for automatic transmission.
Auto-Trail Adventure campervans are available in a choice of body colours, with features such as alloy wheels as standard. The 65 here is the bigger of the two, being based on the 6.36m extra-long Ducato. Sister model the 55 is on the 6m variant. Both can accommodate four folk for travel as well as sleeping.
On top is the main Adventure talking point. There’s an elevating roof from German specialist SCA, accessed inside via a ladder. Arguably, this is the best engineered elevating roof you can get (possibly also with the best bed), although some find the number of straps, clips and handles a bit off-putting. There’s no doubting the quality of all the materials, though.
At “ground floor level”, there are lounges towards the front and rear. At the back, there’s a twin inward-facing settee arrangement that’s very popular in van conversions here in the UK.
Although you can add a pedestal leg table here, it’s just as likely you’ll want to do your dining in the front seating area opposite the kitchen, where there’s a wall-fixing table between the double travel bench and the swivelled cab seats.
Unlike a typical elevating roof campervan, of course, there’s loads of upper-level, lined locker storage. Note, also, alternative soft furnishings are available.
The night time arrangements are interesting, in that it’s a toss-up as to which bed is likely to be the favourite.
The elevating roof double is fixed (rather than hinged, as you’d get in a typical rising roof), with a thin mattress on Froli-type plastic supports measuring some 2.00m x 1.30m.
The rear lounge takes a bit of time to convert to a 1.86m x 1.63m transverse double bed, with both settee bases sliding together.
Just note it’s a slightly narrow corridor between the lounges. That’s because there’s the washroom on the offside and kitchen along the nearside.
The latter includes a two-ring hob and sink combination in stainless steel, supplemented by a CAN grill/warming oven and an 85-litre Dometic 8-series fridge with removable freezer box.
Other noteworthy kitchen features include a flip-up worktop extension and a cutlery drawer amongst the storage offerings, which also include an overhead locker.
There’s a solid door to the washroom, which offers basic showering facilities, a small flip-down basin and a swivel-bowl toilet.
The trigger operation for the shower will help you save water, but the curtain seems a backward step.
There are good details in here, however, such as the mirrored double-doored vanity, some open shelving, hooks, towel and toilet roll holders, with three bright LED ceiling lights.
Elsewhere, standard kit ranges through from details such as USB outlets and ambient strip lighting, through to 100Watt solar panel, sliding door flyscreen, permanent gas tank and Auto-Trail Connect, with tracking system by subscription.
Also, while you pay extra for any Media Pack in other Auto-Trails, the Adventures have them as standard – hence the presence of a Zenec Xzent 6.2in touchscreen on the dashboard, offering DAB radio, CD player, Bluetooth connectivity, sat-nav and colour reversing camera.
Meanwhile, that combination of end lounge floorplans and elevating roofs mean these Adventure campervans have no real rivals… yet!
In this video, we take a look inside the Auto-Trail Adventure 65 campervan:
Verdict: Interesting concept, but can it catch the imagination?
Plus: Full four-berth, elevating roof with proper bed
Minus: Limited payload for four, pinched corridor between the lounges
In-a-nutshell: Room at the top
There’s more information on the Adventure range on the Auto-Trail website. Find out more about insuring this or your current motorhome on our motorhome insurance discounts page.
Alternatives: HymerCar Grand Canyon
Auto-Trail Adventure 65 factfile
|Model||Auto-Trail Adventure 65|
|Base vehicle||Fiat Ducato, 2.3-litre, 120bhp, Euro 6d|
|Dimensions||6.36m L x 2.27m W x 2.75m H|
|RRP||From £58,895 on the road|
|Safety & security||Electronic immobiliser, Auto-Trail Connect Thatcham S7 approved tracking device (subscription required), remote central locking, reversing camera, twin airbags, European Whole Vehicle Type Approval, fire extinguisher.|
|Key options||140bhp engine upgrade (£900), 160bhp engine upgrade (£1,800), automatic transmission (£2,994)|