There are currently only two van conversion motorhome offerings from Spanish manufacturer Benimar.
Upping the van conversion ante
But sure enough – and thanks also to UK importer Marquis Leisure – there’s a central theme of keen pricing allied to a generous kit count that appeals specifically to UK tastes. And with the Benivan 120 here, this might just be one of the motorhome bargains of next season.
The Benivan 120’s base vehicle is Fiat’s almost-ubiquitous (as far as van conversions are concerned) Ducato. It’s the 5.99m long version and comes with the latest 160bhp engine and six-speed manual transmission as standard – that’s the more powerful unit from Fiat (rivals tend to start with the 140bhp version), but there’s also the opportunity to order the latest nine-speed automatic transmission (as shown here). Fiat’s is by no means the cheapest auto’ upgrade, but it’s a huge improvement on its previous Comfort-Matic offering.
Benivan’s conversion work sees the 120 continue with a particularly popular two-berth, end lounge floorplan, of twin settees that convert to a transverse double bed. A classic layout and it’s not short on rivals, but you’re going to want to check the specification per £ very closely to determine what sort of bargain you’re going to get.
Note the sliding door is on the UK nearside (you don’t always get that switch on imported marques). You can’t fail to miss the section of black roof panel over the cab, either. It’s a (fixed) sunroof, ideal for letting lots of daylight into the interior, but it can look slightly weird from certain angles outside.
A concertina blind is ideal for night-time as well as heat-deflecting purposes, plus there’s some neat open shelving at each side.
The cab itself is very well equipped, with everything from a padded steering wheel with key controls to the Xzent stereo/information system with 7 inch touchscreen.
Both cab seats swivel in the Benivan 120 – a handy feature to have in a floorplan like this if you want an occasional “second lounge”. A small, circular table for here stows in the wardrobe for travel; or you can just use the top of the cupboard behind the driver’s seat if you want somewhere more instant to rest your cup of tea.
The kitchen has the usual location for a van conversion – just inside the sliding door. It’s a re-working of the classic two-gas-rings-and-a-sink combination, supplemented by CAN combined oven and grill. The worktop extension, two mesh pockets, two drawers and shelved locker are all spot-on.
Directly across the corridor from the main kitchen unit, the Dometic 8-series fridge comes with a removable freezer compartment. Its 95-litre total capacity is pretty generous for a van conversion.
Unsurprisingly, the Benivan 120’s washroom is pretty compact. It has a full plastic lining and the flip-down washbasin, as well as swivel-bowl toilet, really help make the most of the available space.
The hand-held, trigger-operated showerhead and curtain suggest showering isn’t the priority here. Also here are a mirrored vanity unit, toilet roll holder and, on the back of the door, a towel holder.
At the back, then, the settees aren’t long enough to make single beds (consider sister model the 122 if this is a priority). Those settee bases have struts, which helps when you want to access the storage space here. Upholstery has a two-tone finish – a tweed-style with suede effect trim.
There’s no shortage of details, either. Opening windows all have concertina blinds and flyscreens. There’s a roof-mounted TV aerial and appropriate sockets. A 100Watt solar panel is now standard, too, as is another great space-saver, the underslung 25-litre gas tank. There’s also a good spread of lighting, plus mains and USB sockets.
A bargain, then? Take into account that most generous of specifications and you can consider it case closed in favour of the Benivan 120.
Verdict: Great spec/price/value
Plus: Fully anglicised conversion, spec per £, UK-friendly two-person layout
Minus: Some loose wiring in the backs of lockers, slightly crowded washroom
In-a-nutshell: Ticks all the van conversion boxes… and then some
There’s more information on the Benivan range on the Benivan website. Find out more about insuring this or your current motorhome on our motorhome insurance discounts page.
Alternatives: Auto-Trail Expedition 67, Elddis Autoquest CV20, Roller Team Toleno L, Swift Select 122
Benivan 120 factfile
|Base vehicle||Fiat Ducato, 2.3-litre, 160bhp, Euro 6e|
|Dimensions||5.99m L x 2.05m W x 2.53m H|
|RRP||From £51,995 on the road|
|Safety & security||Electronic immobiliser, ABS with EBD, Hill Descent control, Traction+, remote central locking, twin airbags, European Whole Vehicle Type Approval, fire extinguisher, smoke/CO2 alarm|
|Key options||180bhp engine upgrade (£2,820), automatic transmission (£3,354)|