Bunking up to a four-berth van conversion
Bunk beds in a van conversion? Step right up. WildAx might not be a name that springs readily to mind but it’s made very successful inroads into the motorhome market – starting out as an independent producer back in 2006 before joining the Rapido Group in 2017.
Despite now being part of a much larger concern (Rapido also produces van conversions not just under its own name, but also offers its Westfalia and Dreamer brands in the UK), Yorkshire-based WildAx ploughs its own furrow with a surprisingly comprehensive line-up.
It works with a wider range of base vehicles than its rivals. Typically, the WildAx Solaris XL motorhome uses Citroen’s Relay, only switching to Fiat’s Ducato if you want the latest automatic transmission option.
As standard, though, you get the Citroen in 2.2-litre, 140bhp engine format with manual six-speed transmission. A bonus of using the Relay is that WildAx can offer 10 paintwork finishes – including four metallics, like the Lake Blue here, as well as pearlescent red. With features such as flush-fitting side windows and alloy wheels as standard, the instant impression is of a more upmarket leisure vehicle.
Testament, also, to the quality of WildAx’s conversion work is the lack of rattles when you’re out on the road. WildAx isn’t afraid to innovate when it comes to options, either. As well as the usual offerings (awning, solar panel etc), you could even go for a second sliding door on this Solaris XL motorhome.
The floorplan puts those bunk beds along the rear offside corner, also allowing for a washroom across the back. Up front, you can have four forward-facing travel seats or – probably preferable when on site – the offside can be adapted to make an L-shaped settee.
Diagonally next to the lounge, the kitchen in the Wildax Solaris XL motorhome boasts a Thetford Caprice full cooker (four gas rings, separate oven and grill) plus sink with add-on drainer and some permanent worktop. There’s also a good array of storage – lots of lockers (three upper-level, two lower) and four drawers.
A wardrobe separates the kitchen from the washroom, whilst the galley is completed on the nearside by a 141-litre fridge and a microwave oven.
At night, the main bed is surely the 1.81m x 1.30m transverse double made from the lounge seating.
Once set up, you still have access past the bunks to the washroom at the back, where a full-height tambour door slides back to reveal a Dometic swivel-bowl toilet, fixed basin and a shower with riser bar, plus practical details such as the hanging rail, toothbrush mug and holder, mirror etc.
The bunks, meanwhile are a more than decent length (some 203cm maximum) – each also having its own storage locker, pocket and LED reading lamp plus downlights.
One other aspect where the Wildax Solaris XL motorhome scores particularly well is on-board storage. That’s thanks in large part to having the fresh and waste water tanks underslung (they’re also fully insulated) as well as a 25-litre gas tank rather than in-board locker housing cylinders. Note, also, the use of tambour doors for the upper-level lockers as well as the fabric pouches throughout.
The only issue next is payload. If you don’t want a chassis upgrade, you’re limited to well under 400kg in the Wildax Solaris XL – which isn’t always ideal for up to four people and their kit.
Verdict: Well-executed multi-berth van conversion that doesn’t lack for practicality
Plus: Four sleeping berths, interesting options, impressive kitchen, excellent storage
Minus: Keep an eye on your payload, rear seats lack head restraints
In-a-nutshell: Fab for four
There’s more information on the Solaris XL on the WildAx website. Find out more about insuring this or your current motorhome on our motorhome insurance discounts page.
Alternatives: Globecar Summit 640, Dreamer Camper Five
WildAx Solaris XL factfile
|Model||WildAx Solaris XL|
|Base vehicle||Citroen Relay, 2.2-litre, 140bhp, Euro 6.2|
|Dimensions||6.36m L x 2.05m W x 2.75m H|
|Safety & security||Electronic immobiliser, remote central locking to all doors, ESC (Electronic Stability Control), EBA (Emergency Braking Assistance), twin airbags, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, fire extinguisher, 25-litre underfloor gas tank|
|Key options||Alternative soft furnishings (£900), Cat1 alarm (£450), second sliding door (£350), automatic transmission (£2,600), automatic air conditioning (£700), 120Watt solar panel (£500), awning (£900), 19in TV with bracket (£495), bike rack for two (£495), towbar (£495), external gas outlet (£200), water filter etc (£400), second 100Ah leisure battery (£200)|