Andrew McPhee

See other motorhome reviews written by Andrew McPhee

Read the Practical Motorhome review of the Hymer Van 522 for the definitive verdict

Design

Torino blue is one of three colours you can choose to adorn the cab of the Van, and it's certainly a statement. The bodywork and finish are fine, but it's not as excitingly designed or seemingly well-crafted as some of its rivals.

It does have a sensible, sliding wooden bathroom door to avoid clashing with the fridge across the corridor. The Van also boasts a near-level living-area floor, which is rare for a compact motorhome. There is a slight step up into the cab but it is negligible and covered in hard-wearing checkerplate. Headroom is adequate throughout.

All in all, the Van 522 is perfectly functional and so is likely to appeal to its original market – sporty motorcaravanners who want to use their ’van as a base for their chosen activity. It has great storage capacity and is practical, but it lacks comfort and the interior feels a bit ‘cold’.

On the road

The Van is based on the Ford Transit chassis, with a 2.2-litre engine and five-speed gearbox. It's a comfortable cab, and standard features include twin airbags, cruise control, power steering and electronic windows and mirrors.

It does not have a rear window or reversing camera, and the armrests on the outside of the seats do not swivel around as they are actually built into the cab doors.

Lounging & dining

Continental buyers generally prioritise dining areas over lounges, so the emphasis is usually placed on the former – with the design of the half-dinette being all-important. Here we have a swing-out section under the table to increase the surface area quickly and without fuss. The only thing letting down the Van is that it has an offside cupboard and overhead locker where most others have an offside single seat. This means it seats only four at dinner – and the cupboard impinges on legroom around the driver’s swivel seat.

There is a swivelling flatscreen TV bracket, and a three-point 240V socket in the base of the bench seat.

Kitchen

For mealtimes you will find a generous amount workspace in front of the hob, which has three burners. The sink is a deep steel affair with a wooden infill that takes up valuable storage space when not in use. An extractor fan is not included.

There is enough storage space for food and kit to feed two or three people, including a cutlery drawer and overhead lockers. One of the two lower cupboards is largely taken up by the sink, however.

Sleeping

A good fixed bed is crucial in this type of motorhome, and the Van 522 has a transverse double on a slatted base. The garage roof below has been lowered to improve headroom, meaning you can sit up in bed.

Storage around the bed is stylishly achieved by three lockers and extra storage space in the steps, which slide out neatly from under the bed – itself a better solution than a wobbly ladder.

Unusually, the extra single bed runs lengthwise. It uses the swivelled cab seat to make up its base, with a rather ill-fitting infill cushion laid on top.

Washroom

The Van’s washroom feels small, but is well designed. The false wall swings out to make a shower, although the two-piece door arrangement feels flimsy. The Thetford is squeezed precisely into a corner, and there are two large mirrors and three towel hooks. Our main criticism is the six-inch step into the room, over which it’s easy to trip.

Storage

The Van's main storage area is its garage, with a maximum payload of 150kg, accessed via a small nearside door. It's large enough to store an active motorcaravanner’s kit and has extra storage capacity thanks to its elasticated storage baskets.

Cramming extra storage capacity into every available space is a theme in this Hymer. Wherever you look there are storage nets and pockets, making it a practical ’van.

Technical specs

Sleeps3
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload890kg
Length5.98m19′7″
Width2.14m7′
Height2.72m8′11″
Waste water80L
External Options
Aluminium sidewalls, Awning light, Electric step
Kitchen Equipment
Thetford Fridge, 3-burner gas hob
Washroom
Thetford C-250 toilet, Bi-fold shower door
Heating
Truma Gas/Electric heater, Truma Gas water heater

Verdict

The Van retains its appeal but its practical interior feels less homely than some compact motorhomes.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Good headroom in double bed, with clever step system in base.

Cons

  • No offside single seat; lack of cupboard space in kitchen.
Share with friends

Follow us on

Explore the range

Recently added motorhomes for sale

Most recent motorhome reviews

The Practical Motorhome Adria Matrix Plus 670 SC review 1 - Added to the Adria range for 2016, the five-berth Matrix Plus 670 SC's habitation door is on UK offside (© Niall Hampton/Simon Mortimer/Practical Motorhome)
Practical Motorhome's Benimar Mileo 286 review - front - The low-profile four-berth Benimar Mileo 286 costs £51,841 on the road, as tested (© Practical Motorhome/Phil Russell)

Swift Escape 622

£37,700OTR

The Practical Motorhome Swift Escape 622 review - 1 - Standing 6.3m long, the low profile Swift Escape 622 is a two-berth with two travel seats (© Niall Hampton/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Marquis Majestic 135 review – 1 - With an MTPLM of 3300kg, the 2016 Marquis Majestic 135 can be driven by anyone (© Niall Hampton/Practical Motorhome)
Practical Motorhome's Wellhouse Evie review - 1 - If you're looking for a car-like campervan, the new Wellhouse Evie fits the bill (© Practical Motorhome/Gentleman Jack)

Swift Rio 325

£45,244OTR

The Practical Motorhome Swift Rio 325 review 1 - At just 5.99m long and 2.26m wide, the new-for-2016 Swift Rio 325 fits a lot into a relatively small space (© Phil Russell/Practical Motorhome)