Andrew McPheeSee other motorhome reviews written by Andrew McPhee
Read the Practical Motorhome review of the 2006 Auto-Sleeper Sandhurst
This ’van surprises us for several reasons. It’s the first British coachbuilt to appear on the VW T5 chassis. It’s rather unusual to find coachbuilts on this base, due in part to the complex nature of the T5’s independent rear suspension, which can’t be loaded as heavily as its rivals.
Despite this, the VW has many pleasing features. For instance, the dashboard controls are arranged in a logical, ergonomic, fashion and the base vehicle drives and rides more like a car than a commercial vehicle. Externally, the Sandhurst looks striking with its colour-keyed bumpers and side trim, but it is the floorplan layout that contains its most distinctive features.
The interior comprises a front lounge, a kitchen area in the middle, and a rear washroom that stretches the full width of the ’van. The interior doesn’t feel cramped, due to good use of light, colour and available space.
For thoughtful use of space, the Sandhurst’s rear washroom cannot be beaten. With a pedestal sink in the centre and the toilet placed discreetly out of sight, the washroom door can be left open without sullying the interior aesthetics. There’s room enough in the shower to turn around without banging your elbows and there’s even a handy shelf. On the opposite side of the vehicle, a large wardrobe is sited next to the washroom but this somewhat compromises space around the toilet – larger folk might have difficulty using the swivel-bowl Thetford.
In the kitchen a three-burner hob, stainless steel draining board and sink take up much of the food preparation space, although the sink’s Chinchilla toughened glass cover is designed to double as a chopping board. The appliances are good quality, too. A Stoves oven and grill complements a Dometic fridge, though the latter’s 77-litre capacity is a little smaller than those fitted to the Sandhurst’s rivals.
For lounging and dining, the cab chairs swivel inboard, while the Reflex foam-filled sofas offer a supportive, firm, seat. The dining table can comfortably accommodate four, and bound-edge removable carpets cover the floor. Keeping warm in the Sandhurst should be easy, because it is fitted with a diesel-fuelled blown-air heating system.
At bedtime, occupants have two options: either twin singles or one double bed. Some owners might struggle to fit two sets of bedding into the main overhead locker, though – it is wide but not especially deep. Once tucked up in bed, a pair of elegant anglepoise lamps provide illumination for reading a book at bedtime. Alternatively, you could listen to Radio 4’s ‘Book at Bedtime’ on the ’van’s radio and not have to rise from your bed to switch it off, thanks to a control in the lounge area.
Auto-Sleepers has designed a motorcaravan that is pleasant to drive as well as use. Storage limitations mean it would be most suitable for two people touring short-term. Those wanting more space might do well to investigate models further up the range.
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas with electric hot plate, Oven, Separate grill
Thetford C-250 toilet, Separate shower cubicle
Elegant motorcaravan that’s pleasant for two to live in. It’s practical in the main, too, but storage problems let it down and restrict it to short-term touring.
- The way the T5 drives; cab ergonomics; washroom design; comfortable lounge
- Little kitchen worksurface; shallow overcab locker