With the Windrush, it seems Auto-Sleepers are returning to their forte of building top-notch van conversions, but now with a level of fresh thinking only previously seen in their heyday with models such as the Rambler, SV100 and Clubman.
Stylish but conservative on the outside (attracting plenty of positive comment on site and resplendent in Golden White metallic), the Windrush feels incredibly spacious inside.
Add the £2500 Premium Pack and the spec includes alloy wheels, air-conditioning and cruise control, but the steering wheel-mounted switches and rear speakers (in the seat bases) are linked to only the most basic of radio/CD units.
That was the only chink in an impressive armoury of equipment that also included an external barbecue point, auto-retracting electric step with blue LED lights, a fitted underfloor gas tank (for significantly cheaper gas supplies and space-saving inside), an awning, and two more extra cost items – a bike rack and the latest Dometic roof air-con unit with built-in skylight.
A standard Windrush is well-appointed, a Premium Pack one has pretty much everything.
For travel you have a quartet of comfortable seats, all facing front with good views and three-point belts – and it’s reassuring to see substantial steel frames under the rear chairs.
In the evening you’ll welcome the plentiful lighting (much of it by power-saving LED) and the posh pleated blinds at the side windows, though the lined (but too short) cab curtains may come as a disappointment in this era of ever-better blinds.
The real night-time story of the Windrush concerns those bunk beds and here Auto-Sleepers have really done their homework. The lower bunk is the better one (slightly bigger, slightly thicker mattress) but both are potentially adult berths (generous enough for a pair of teenagers certainly).
The upper one is built on a sturdy steel frame and they have individual curtains so kids can be put to bed at different times, while each also has a useful cupboard at one end.
In the kitchen, you’ll be back to wondering where on earth they found so much space. The Thetford cooker offers three burners and an oven/grill, while the sink comes with a removable draining board and a very neat clip-on draining rack that attaches to the glass lid.
The Windrush has a pair of slim wardrobes – one atop the other – sandwiched between the washroom and the bunks. They won’t hold a whole designer collection but they should be enough for a family camping trip. More importantly, there’s a locker (with access from above or via the back doors) underneath the bottom bunk with space for your hose, mains lead, walking boots, levelling wedges and more.
For longer trips you could simply carry a couple of storage boxes on the lower bunk and re-site these on the cab seats at night. For a van conversion of standard dimensions the Windrush has more storage capacity than you’d expect.
Real practical thought has gone into this model, resulting in one of the most refreshing and exciting new motorhomes from Auto-Sleepers in many years. Of course, there are compromises in fitting family accommodation into a six-metre panel van, but if Britain’s oldest motorhome manufacturer can come up with solutions as neat as this then their future looks bright once again.
Cost to insure: £285.50*
Price from: £46,495
Dimensions: 5.99m L, 2.26m W, 2.60 H (excluding optional roof air-con)
Interior height: 1.88m
Beds: Front transverse double 1.76m x 1.48m (usable length 1.85m) rear bunk beds 1.82m x 0.65m (lower) and 1.78m x 0.63m (upper) each with 0.60m headroom)
* Motorhome insurance based on 2012 Auto-Sleepers Windrush valued at £44,390. Fitted with CAT 1 Alarm and Immobiliser system. Kept on driveway at home at TD9 8ED. Motorhome owners – professionals over 50 years old with no claims, convictions or health conditions in last 3 years. 4 years no claims bonus mirrored from car policy and 2 years motorhome driving experience. Members of motorhome club doing less than 5000 miles annually. £250 excess applies. European cover £21.00 Extra. European Breakdown £43 extra. Premium includes Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) at 6% and is correct as of 15.12.11.