Benjamin Davies

See other motorhome reviews written by Benjamin Davies

Read Practical Motorhome's review of the high spec Auto-Sleeper Stratford

Design

The exterior design went down well with our testers. The tinted glass is continued across the wide windows, which disguises the position of the occupants and creates a very stylish, unified appearance. However, those planning to tour all year might be put off by the single-glazed windows.

Both fresh and waste water tanks are underslung, rated for 69 and 40 litres respectively, and can be winterised.

The interior styling went down well, too; our testers found it had “a pleasing, modern effect”.

On the road

The 2.2-litre Hdi 120bhp engine (a £920 option) comes with a six-speed gearbox, and Auto Sleepers included the optional cruise control and electric mirror on their test unit, making the Stratford very easy to drive.

Through-vision is excellent thanks to the layout although there’s no wiper for the rear windows. However, our testers did find the driving position to be a bit compromised due to a lack of adjustability of the driver’s seat, caused by the positioning of the washroom directly behind it.

Lounging & dining

Our testers generally liked the Stratford’s twin rear sofas, although they did feel that the seats were almost too comfortable for them.

The easily erected dining table is stored securely on a shelf above the cab and can be used outdoors. However, its fit between the sofas is so snug that it limits access.

An additional one-person mini-lounge can be created by swivelling the passenger seat and adding the provided footrest (to avoid the problem of dangling feet, since the cab floor is about 12cm higher than the rest of the ’van). A small table and its support are stored in the wardrobe, and when set up properly it fits into a socket on the corner of the washroom.

Although the tinted windows create privacy from the outside, our testers found that they allow sufficient light into the interior.

Kitchen

The kitchen is full-featured for a van conversion, with a combination oven, grill and three-burner hob, a stainless steel sink with a draining board and a chinchilla glass lid – this can be used as a chopping board and has a draining rack affixed to it. However, our testers found that it failed to perform well.

The cutlery drawer is below the sink and the 80-litre compressor fridge with freezing compartment sits below this.

A microwave oven is housed in a unit above the sink, and even though there is a storage space located just above it, our testers would have preferred to sacrifice it for a larger storage cupboard for provisions.

Being a tiny van conversion, the Stratford is predictably short on kitchen workspace, but Auto-Sleepers has remedied this somewhat by providing a small, hinged flap next to the hob for extra preparation space.

Sleeping

The double bed is a decent size (187 x 122cm; 6’1” x 4’) and has a slatted base. Our testers deemed it easy to make up – you slide the base extensions out from under the facing sofas to meet in the middle. The two backrests drop into the gaps at head and toe forming what David called a “fairly level” base.

Our testers liked the storage shelves for watches and books after lights-out, although they didn’t like the fact that one occupant would have to step over the other for night-time visits to the bathroom.

Washroom

Surprisingly, for a ’van of this size, the washroom has a separate shower compartment, with a bi-fold door.


The washbasin is incorporated into the walls of the shower stall, and the chrome mixer tap’s removable spout extends for showering. Storage recesses are provided above and below the washbasin, and for temperature regulation there’s a roof ventilator and a floor-level duct for blown air.

The inclusion of a shower cubicle does compromise toilet space to a certain degree – Auto-Sleepers’ designers may be clever bods, but they’re not wizards – although our testers found that the swivel toilet bowl enables a reasonable sitting position.

The Thetford cassette toilet is plumbed to the ’van’s water system and doesn’t require a flush tank; servicing is carried out via an external door on the vehicle’s offside – the only locker door cut into the Stratford’s exterior.

Storage

Although the facing sofa layout means it’s a good load carrier the Stratford lacks any external storage and secure internal storage is limited, particularly as only one sofa has useable storage under it – the space under the other houses the leisure battery and boiler.

The half-length wardrobe, adjacent to the washroom, has a hanging rail, two shallow storage drawers and a cupboard below, which is suitable for shoes, but otherwise the Stratford is short on storage, particularly for two.

Technical specs

Sleeps2
Travel seats2
MTPLM3300kg
Payload463kg
Length5.41m17′9″
Width2.26m7′5″
Height2.59m8′6″
Waste water69L

Verdict

Overall, our testers were surprised to find just how much Auto-Sleepers has managed to incorporate in the Stratford and were impressed with its high spec. If a rear lounge is your preference, and compactness and facilities are important, then the Stratford could be ideal.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Offers everything you would need for a trip away, all within a compact vehicle.

Cons

  • Miserly storage provisions are the Stratford's biggest drawback.
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