The fixed transverse double bed is a strong selling point for this 'van – find out more by reading Practical Motorhome's Auto-Trail V-Line 620 review

Overview

Auto-Trail’s V-Line 600 burst on to the scene at the end of 2013, with the suggestion of ‘more to come’. Now the eagerly awaited 2014 models are here: the rear-lounge 610 and the fixed-bed 620.

Both share the 600’s groundbreaking high-top design. They differ in other ways, though, principally at the rear, where a moulded panel has replaced Fiat’s standard barn doors. Other brands have done it, but this is a first for Auto-Trail, which includes a top-hinged boot lid in the lower half. The panel is so carefully sculpted that it mirrors the base vehicle’s styling. As a result, the rear looks completely integrated.

The V-Lines already had slightly higher, but infinitely more stylish, roofs than the base vehicle. These enabled the floor to be level from the cab to the back and left space for capacious aircraft-style roof lockers, topped by mood lighting. The company added attractive moulded interior wall panels that can be wiped clean.

In this review, we focus on the V-Line 620 – but we've also reviewed the 610 model.

Design

Is Grimsby the design capital of the world? We reckon it may be after testing Auto-Trail’s latest van conversion.

The exterior still turned our heads months after we’d first seen it. There are so many winning features that it’s hard to single out the most attractive. It could be the double-glazed side panels, the custom roof, the overcab moulding or the fully recessed awning. Perhaps the outstanding ingredients are the stainless-steel skirt, the chrome door handles, the grille badge or the oversize alloys with low-profile tyres.

Board the 620 and you’ll spot further attention to detail immediately. An electrically operated step slides out automatically when the key fob unlock button is pressed. The inboard step is lit and two magazine pouches are fitted to the reverse of the door.

On the road

This three-berth has four travel seats with seatbelts. It's based on a Fiat Ducato with a Euro 5+ engine, 2.3-litre TD, 130bhp.

Parking and manoeuvring won't be too difficult, since it's 5.99m (19’8”) long, 2.51m (8’2”) wide and 2.81m (9’2.5”) high.

The MTPLM is 3500kg and there's a reasonable payload of 410kg.

You can carry 70 litres of fresh water onboard and it'll all fit into the 70-litre waste tank during the trip, though obviously we'd recommend saving fuel by emptying tanks and for travelling light! There's a 110Ah leisure battery.

Lounging & dining

The forward lounge is light and airy, thanks to the opening panoramic rooflight and large windows on three sides.

Four people can dine in the V-Line 620, and the adjustable pivoting table extension will be a boon to the occupant of the cab’s passenger seat.

A flip-down monitor in the lounge offers sharp pictures and clear sound. It is part of the optional, extra-cost Media Pack.

Don’t forget that the layout of the test vehicle (with a half dinette and two forward-facing travel seats) is only one of two lounge options. The alternative features an inviting inward-facing bench seat with both freestanding and island-leg dining tables.

Whoever fitted the aerial and associated wiring so they intrude into the living space needs to think again. It should be hidden away.

Kitchen

Glance rearwards and you’ll be impressed by the elegance of the kitchen and its roof lockers with rounded doors. The worktop shares space with a high-gloss hob of black glass, as does the designer monobloc mixer tap. A grey tambour door at the end of the galley conceals three lip-edged shelves.

A combined oven/grill and a 12V/230V, drawer-style compressor fridge complete the kit here.

Sleeping

The rear is home to the reasonably roomy fixed transverse double bed.

The advantages of this arrangement include a mattress that has no joins and is the right firmness for sleeping, rather than being a compromise between sitting and sleeping, as found in lounges that are converted into beds.

This great bed boasts plenty of open shelving, reading lights and a padded headboard – all part of the long list of standard spec.

There are disadvantages, as well. With only one narrow way in or out of bed, one partner has to climb over the other to visit the washroom at night. The bed also reduces the amount of lounge seating available.

The 620 is designed for use by a couple, but there is one more berth in the front, which is useful for the unexpected visitor, provided he or she isn’t very tall. It's formed from the forward-facing sofa and incorporates the swivelled driver's seat. This guest bed measures just 1.63m x 0.88m (5'4" x 2'11").

Washroom

Opposite the galley is the compact washroom, equipped with a cassette toilet, a flip-up basin and a shower area. The designers have done well to include the latter, which is likely to be high on many wish lists. The washroom has a moulded plastic lining and is perfectly fine. Still, it is not as good as the one in the 600. It needs a roof vent, and we’d have preferred having the basin near the shower rather than above the toilet.

Storage

The boot lid lifts on struts to reveal a useful stowage space. There is dedicated storage for outdoor chairs and gas locker plus a zipped compartment for your hook-up cable, a place for an outdoor table and a large area for groceries, a grill and more. The external gas locker holds one Calor Lite cylinder.

The longer we experienced ‘life in the lounge’, the more we appreciated its moulded wall panels and capacious aviation-style overhead lockers.

Read more: Auto-Trail V-Line 610 review
http://www.practicalmotorhome.com/review/motorhome/2014-auto-trail-v-line-610

Technical specs

Sleeps3
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload410kg
Length5.99m19′8″
Width2.51m8′3″
Height2.81m9′3″
Waste water70L
External Options
Aluminium sidewalls, Integral awning, Awning light, Electric step
Kitchen Equipment
3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill

Verdict

This attractive design-led newcomer to this market sector complements the VFM Tribute 670 imported by Auto-Trail, rather than competing with it. Desirable add-on packs bump up the price considerably.

The three-berth V-Line 620 costs from £47,999 on the road, but the version we tested was £52,479.

Auto-Trail’s interpretation of the genre is spot-on, leaving just a couple of niggles: an unimpressive TV aerial installation and thin rungs on the access ladder, which make getting into the fixed bed very uncomfortable for bare feet. Anybody now muttering, “If that’s all they can find to complain about, it must actually be a darn good van conversion,” is bang on the money.

Auto-Trail has succeeded in building a new class of motorcaravan. It’s brilliant!

Conclusion

Pros

  • It has a fixed bed

Cons

  • Access to the double bed is narrow and you'll be climbing over each other to get out
  • The rungs of the ladder are unkind to bare feet
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