Kate Taylor
Digital Content Manager

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Practical Motorhome reviews the Auto-Sleeper Cotswold, a Peugeot Boxer based 'van with a fixed bed

Design

The Cotswold has enjoyed a positive reception from press and public alike, but this isn't just a case of nostalgia getting the better of everyone –stand face-to-grille with the Cotswold and you can immediately tell that it's a very special 'van.
At first glance, you'd be forgiven for mistaking this low-profile for an overcab coachbuilt, since the Cotswold has quite a high prominence over its cab; that's all part of the bold exterior design, though that sharply kinked bulge really does make the Cotswold stand out, seeming sleek yet imposing all at once.
Step inside the Cotswold and you find a daring meld of the traditional and the modern; the tan upholstery, chunky chrome locker handles and rich brown plywood are all classic Auto-Sleepers cues, but the contrasting-colour locker doors, LED spotlights and the sharply-cut furnishings are all decidedly up-to-the-minute. Overall, the design works very well – it's pleasant on the eye, and the finish on the upholstery is very high-quality, too.

On the road

Auto-Sleepers has a longstanding association with Peugeot and so they utilise the Peugeot Boxer base, rather than the ubiquitous and near-identical Fiat Ducato. The Boxer, which is invariably better-equipped when serving as a motorhome base vehicle, has steering wheel-mounted stereo controls, but there's no option of an automatic gearbox to mirror Fiat's ComfortMatic.
Besides this, though, it's hard to find fault with the base vehicle – it's beautiful to drive, with an excellent six-speed gearbox and a lively engine, and it behaves particularly well on the motorway.
It acquits itself quite well on small roads, campsites and in car parks, too, thanks in no small part to the standard-fit wide-angle rear-view camera.

Lounging & dining

Surprisingly for an Auto-Sleeper, the Cotswold's lounge came in for some criticism. The half-dinette seats, while comfortable, offer little in the way of lounging space, and the side-facing seat suffers from a similar space shortage. You end up spending a lot of time lounging on the bed, just to get a bit more space to stretch your legs. It's worth noting that twin seat benches are offered as an alternative layout.
Patrick was very impressed by the lighting in the lounge, though‚ both day and night. The huge 'Skyview' rooflight over the cab provides amazing amounts of natural light, although it can't be opened. At night, there's effective and stylish LED lighting. Headroom provided by the 'overcab' roofline is generous, too.
For dining purposes, the-half dinette table cannot be extended, and so cannot be used by anyone sitting in the side-facing seat. As an alternative, the Cotswold also has a pedestal table that slots in between the two swivelled cab seat. It lives in the wardrobe when not in use. Interestingly, Auto-Sleepers has also included a freestanding table, housed in its own dedicated cupboard next to the wardrobe, which is intended for use outdoors, under the standard-issue awning.

Kitchen

The Cotswold's layout only allows for a side-facing kitchen, located amidships. This tends to be an indicator that there have been storage and workspace compromises in the kitchen, but Auto-Sleepers has tried to avoid such drawbacks.
In fact, one of the reasons the lounge lacks space is because so much room has been allocated to the kitchen, which gets a full oven with a separate grill, a three-burner hob with an electric hotplate and a cavernous 150-litre fridge. Even with all the equipment, there's still lots of workspace between the sink and the hob. Even more can be added thanks to the pull-out worktop extension, which measures 46 x 30cm‚ and it's a very strong and stable extension, too.

Sleeping

The compromises that have been made in the Cotswold all exist in order to accommodate the French bed, which is an understandable move when so many customers these days will not even look at a 'van unless it has a bed that they can just flop into at the end of a hard day's touring.
The Cotswold's rear bed is comfortable and spacious, and we like its slatted base, which rises on a pneumatic strut to expose the storage area beneath.
We were less impressed with the lounge bed, even though it's spacious and comfortable. The problem is that the cushion arrangement is confusing – cushions never seem to fit properly.

Washroom

Rear corner washrooms are another tricky thing to get right, but we're impressed with this one. There's a full-size shower cubicle with two drain plugs, which means it will drain more easily even when the motorhome isn't perfectly level.
The washroom also boasts a spacious toilet/sink area, with bold design touches such as the translucent bowl sink and the blue LED mood lighting fitted behind the mirror. In fact, were it not for the end-bathroom layout in this Cotswold's sister model, we think this washroom would be the best across Auto-Sleepers' range.

Storage

The large bulge over the cab doesn't just make the Cotswold look good from the outside, it also allows for lots of very useful lockers over the cab area, too. There's a lot of locker space in this 'van.
That's just as well, because there's only one section of under-seat storage in the Cotswold, which is located under the side-facing bench in the lounge, and is useful for storing the bedding for the lounge bed.
Only the under-bed storage area is accessible from outside the 'van, but thanks to the profusion of lockers you'll probably be able to free this space up for a hook-up lead, water hose, chocks, wellies and all the other potentially wet and dirty items.

Technical specs

Sleeps4
Travel seats4
MTPLM4005kg
Payload625kg
Length7.17m23′6″
Width2.33m7′8″
Height2.98m9′9″
Waste water102L
External Options
GRP sidewalls
Kitchen Equipment
Dometic Fridge, 4-burner gas hob, Oven, Separate grill, Microwave
Heating
Webasto water/space heater
Security
Immobiliser

Verdict

The Cotswold is all but a triumph for Auto-Sleepers: it's comfortable and a pleasure to drive, and the facilities are superb: the rear bed is comfortable, and the washroom is a joy. Despite that, unless a fixed bed is a must, the Cotswold EB is better. However, the Cotswold is still a winner.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Effective, attractive, efficient LED lighting; freestanding table with dedicated storage

Cons

  • Unnecessary 'mood' lighting in washroom; no shelving in bed area
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