Lizzie Pope
Digital Editor

See other News articles filed in ‘Motorhome’ written by Lizzie Pope
   
ICONIC BRITISH MANUFACTURER Auto-Sleepers had another good year in 2014, posting 15% growth in a flat market, following a 13% rise in 2013. It therefore goes into the next season in great shape, making small tweaks to its current portfolio and adding a new mini-camper range.

And Auto-Sleepers’ Peugeot-based van conversions and coachbuilts are expected to perform well in the coming months, thanks to facelifted cabs and spec bumps that will have a lot of appeal to buyers. 

The Cotswolds-based brand is stepping up its export operation to Europe, too. It has recently appointed an importer for Scandinavia, and will be attending two major Continental shows (Düsseldorf and Elmia) to promote the Auto-Sleepers brand and portfolio. It’s a tricky market for British producers to export to, but the design and quality build of Auto-Sleepers speaks for itself and is much admired both in the UK and abroad. 

Van conversions on the up 

The van conversions range now accounts for 40% of Auto-Sleepers’ output, up from one third a year ago. The midships-lounge Symbol is the best seller, and 2014 season launches Kingham and Warwick XL have performed strongly, too. 

All 2015 models will ride on the facelifted Peugeot Boxer. Auto-Sleepers has specified 150bhp engines for all models, over the standard 130bhp unit, plus a selection of other tasty options including DAB radio with touchscreen, Bluetooth, a passenger air bag, cruise control, cab air-con, front fog lights and alloy wheels. In other good news, an automatic transmission option is now available, by ordering a Fiat Ducato 130bhp base vehicle with a ComfortMatic gearbox (an automatic transmission is not available on the Peugeot Boxer). 

There are six van conversion models, following the deletion of the 6m-long, side sofa and end-washroom Kemerton. Its namesake, the 6.4m-long Kemerton XL (and former Practical Motorhome long-term test van) has been tweaked, with the nearside kitchen extended up to the back of the forward-facing travel seat. 

Peugeot and Mercedes-based coachbuilts 

To widen the appeal of its coachbuilt offering, Auto-Sleepers gives customers the choice of Peugeot Boxer and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter base vehicles. There are no changes to the Boxer-based line-up for 2015, with all models retained; Auto-Sleepers notes that this range is the biggest line-up of 3500kg coachbuilts available at this price point. 

The facelifted Boxer will be used for the new season, in 150bhp flavour (the Nuevo ES will continue to take the 130bhp engine). An automatic transmission is now available, again by specifying the Fiat Ducato base vehicle. Interior updates in this range see a new furniture colour, Valencia, and the Amarti wood finish from Mercedes coachbuilts is available as a no-cost option. All Peugeot coachbuilts will now feature plastic-lined shower compartments, and the exterior graphics will be refreshed. 

The Mercedes-based coachbuilt range sees a minor change, with the deletion of the rear-lounge Beckford, to be replaced by the Malvern, which carries the Broadway FB’s rear fixed bed, corner washroom layout, but here on a wider body. The Mercedes-Benz range also offers the benefits of a fully automatic gearbox. 

In addition, seatbelts are available in lieu of parallel seating in the relevant coachbuilt models. 

Vito Wave mini-camper 

Auto-Sleepers’ Mercedes-Benz collection expands for 2015 with the introduction of the new Wave mini-camper. Built on the long-wheelbase Vito, the Wave is a flexible vehicle that offers the refinement of a Mercedes–Benz drive with the considerable comforts of an Auto-Sleepers conversion. Auto-Sleepers sees it as a leisure utility vehicle – a daily drive with added functionality that will make an ideal base for outdoor activities. 

There are two models, in standard guise both offering four travel seats and two berths. The Wave features a colour-coded Reimo pop-top, with a roof bed option to add another two berths, while the Wave HL (high line) has a GRP roof pod with opening skylight at the front end and an internal headroom of 6ft 4in. 

The two belted rear travelling seats are very comfortable, with substantial lumbar support; they easily convert into comfortable flat beds. Both models have a cooker with separate grill, cool box, sink, Webasto heater and Porta-Potti cassette toilet; water and gas tanks run the on-board services, plus feed external BBQ and shower points. There are several storage cupboards, and the Wave HL’s roof pod offers even more options in this area, thanks to four lockers running down both sides and one across the rear. 

We saw examples of both models at Auto-Sleepers HQ. The conversion looks first-rate, with high quality cabinetwork and upholstery, and the Mercedes-Benz underpinnings make for a very refined drive. 

The Vito base vehicle has been chosen for its upmarket credentials and offers considerable benefits, including a wide range of driver aids as standard. Supplied with the 136bhp engine with a manual transmission, a five-speed fully automatic is also available, and there’s also an optional 163bhp engine upgrade. 

Cruise control, cab air-con and Bluetooth are standard kit, as is a chrome body kit and alloy wheels. Five colours are available. Prices for the Auto-Sleeper Wave models have yet to be released, but will start from around £50,000. 

And here at Practical Motorhome we have more new 2015 motorhomes for you. You can read our full 2015 preview of Continental motorhomes, our preview of the new 2015 'vans from Dethleffs and budget sister brand Sunlight, those from Auto-TrailRoller Team, KnausAdria and Swift, details of the brand new models from Carado and Hymer.

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