An all-new campervan from Auto-Sleepers – arguably the UK’s longest-established purveyor of such vehicles, certainly among mainstream manufacturers – is not to be missed. Especially when it comes as well equipped as this.
Back to Ford
The Auto-Sleeper Air is based on Ford’s Transit Custom and heralds a welcome return to campervans for the Cotswolds-based manufacturer.
It’s certainly an impressive base vehicle from Ford. In Trend trim it has a generous dose of standard kit, with Auto-Sleepers using the range-topping 168bhp engine (automatic transmission, fitted here, is one of the few optional extras).
Auto-Sleepers says, unlike other vehicles across its portfolio of van conversions and coachbuilts, for the Air it prefers a “one spec’, one price” policy. You’ll need to turn to your supplying dealer if you want to add items such as satellite TV systems.
There are some choices to be made, however. That standout metallic paintwork is called Orange Glow. Also available, at no extra cost, are Kapoor Red, Diffused Silver or Chrome Blue. There’s also an alternative upholstery, again at no surcharge.
You can also tell from the alloy wheels, colour-matched bumpers, awning in black and more that this is a vehicle of some presence. It has just the one sliding door, where you also get a retractable step at what is otherwise a high step-in height.
Inside the Auto-Sleeper Air, it’s a standard campervan floorplan – side furniture unit with rear bench seat-cum-double bed.
There’s plenty to tell you this is a top-drawer conversion. That rear seat is a Reimo Variotech unit with table attachment. It’s on rails so you can adjust to suit when you want extra luggage space inside the tailgate (where the flick-out rail for hanging wet clothing is a very handy detail). It also provides an easy-to-make, flat bed at night.
We take a look around and inside the 2022 Auto-Sleeper Air campervan:
Overhead, the elevating roof is from SCA, arguably the top name in such features. It might take a bit of muscle to get it up and back down again, but the build quality here is indisputable.
Here, too, you get a proper double bed that’s a suitable adult-sized, with one-piece mattress and Froli-type plastic springs.
There are no surprises as far as the kitchen is concerned in the Auto-Sleeper Air. It’s that all-time favourite two gas rings bog and sink combination, allied to a 47-litre compressor fridge with freezer. However, you do also get a grill as standard. Essential kit or a space-stealer? You decide.
A Dometic toilet is provided, but its storage location means you’ll have to consider taking it out before making the downstairs bed.
The white finish to the furniture helps offset an interior that tends towards being a bit dark.
Storage is another critical factor in a campervan. The 15-litre underslung gas tank in the Auto-Sleeper Air is great for freeing up space inside that would otherwise be taken by a cylinder in a locker, but the benefits stop there.
Even the most avid users are likely to find gas usage is pretty minimal in a campervan, especially also as the heating system, a Webasto unit, uses the base vehicle’s diesel supply.
On the electrics front, there’s the twin bonus of a lithium leisure battery and a 60Watt solar panel. Other kit includes a reversing camera as well as front and rear parking sensors for a Caravan Guard campervan insurance discount, heated cab seats, external shower point, lots of interior lighting.
Downsides? At well over two metres it won’t squeeze under all height barriers. The table’s storage location at the back of the rear seat isn’t easy to access.
Its price certainly puts it at the top of the sector as far as Ford-based campervans are concerned, but arguably so does its specification.
Will there be more Auto-Sleeper Airs to come? A long-wheelbase version could be a very interesting proposition indeed. Watch this space?
Plus: Auto-Sleeper campervan pedigree, generously equipped, proven camper layout and fittings
Minus: Not the cheapest, portable toilet access
In-a-nutshell: Air apparent
There’s more information on the Air on its dedicated website www.air-camper.co.uk. To find out more about our comprehensive cover visit our campervan insurance page.
Alternatives: Autohaus Spartan GT, Swift Monza, Wellhouse Misano 4
Auto-Sleeper Air factfile
|Base vehicle||Ford Transit Custom Trend, 2.0-litre, 168bhp Euro 6|
|Dimensions||4.97m L x 2.08m W x 2.12m H|
|RRP||From £66,995 on the road|
|Safety & security||Front and rear parking sensors, immobiliser, adaptive cruise control, automatic headlights, stop-start system, electronic stability control, emergency brake assist, Isofix rear seat, Enhanced Active Park Assist, Side Wind Stabilisation, traction control, trailer sway control, hill start assist|
|Key options||Automatic transmission (£2,000), leather upholstery (£1,295)|