You can choose twin beds or a double in the versatile Auto-Sleeper Kemerton XL high-top van conversion, as Practical Motorhome's expert reviewers discover

Overview

Auto-Sleepers launched the Kemerton XL at the Spring 2014 NEC show. It uses the XL LWB version of the Peugeot Boxer chassis, which makes 
it 13 inches longer than the 5.99m Kemerton.

This extra length has been put to very good use, accommodating a pair of 6’4” lounge sofas that at night convert into lengthy single beds (in contrast to the Kemerton’s double bed across the width of the ’van) and can also be joined to create a massive double bed 1.98m x 1.8m (6'5" x 5'1"). 
With the addition of the two swivelling cab chairs, you could comfortably seat six people, making the Kemerton XL ideal for socialising, and it will happily sleep couples as well as those touring solo or as two friends. 

That extra length also adds another roof locker on both sides, more space under the sofa and an additional sofa box. For this boost in space and more versatile sleeping arrangements, the XL will set you back an extra £3000. 

The MTPLM is the same 
as the Kemerton’s and the payload allowance, although generous, is 174kg lower. 

Our test vehicle came with the £2500 Premium Pack, which included alloy wheels, cab air conditioning, cruise control, a wind-out awning, a reversing camera, daytime running lights and Al-Ko’s AirTop suspension.

Design

‘Cool’ describes the XL’s ice-blue metallic finish. Understated grey/silver graphics, dark side windows, colour-coded front bumper and contrasting graphite rear bumper and wheel arches add to its sleek image. Even the canopy awning, part of the Premium Pack, is unobtrusive and obscures 
the rooftop air-con unit.

There are no gas bottles taking up valuable storage space. Instead, a 20-litre 
LPG tank is mounted under the motorhome’s floor.

Inside, the cabinet work 
is in pale ‘Verada oak’ with 
a dark trim, chrome handles and finishing strips. The upholstery bears a geometric pattern in cream, blue and beige with blue edging that 
is picked up in the curtain tie-backs. Walls, trims and carpets are beige and curtains and worktops are cream. The interior is contemporary and easy to live with.

A high-top steel roof allows space for lockers and a deep shelf over the cab. The cab floor is higher than the habitation floor, so take care to avoid hitting your head 
as you pass between them.

On the road

The Kemerton XL sits on a 6.36m XL LWB Peugeot Boxer chassis powered by a turbo diesel 150bhp Euro V Engine. Twin-leaf rear suspension is fitted as standard and Al-Ko dual Air-Top suspension is 
in the Premium Pack.

We put it through its paces in Ireland on steep inclines, narrow winding roads and the occasional motorway (cruise control was fitted 
to our test model).

The Kemerton XL managed it all, although some of the hill starts were tricky. The handbrake is set low down 
on the right and reaching to release it can be awkward 
as you try to perform the necessary footwork. In the process, you may fail to let the handbrake off fully; it’s easy to do, but an alarm lets you know if you have.
You have to be mindful of the rear when tackling sharp corners, but the ’van has a good turning circle and in the main didn’t cause a problem.

The cab seats are adjustable, tilting forwards and backwards to suit the driver. They also swivel to face the habitation area. The height of the driver’s seat proved a problem for our 5’2” tester, who found it difficult to comfortably reach the pedals. The ’van is blind at the back so the reversing camera included in our test model was a welcome addition for parking.

The Auto-Sleeper Kemerton XL's cab was comfortable, with deep door pockets and three dashboard lockers; one will chill a bottle of water.

A plastic panel along the top of the window obscures the vision a little so, although the driver can see the road, he or she may not get the 
full benefit of the scenery.

Lounging & dining

A comfortable sofa faces the sliding side door and is the perfect spot to sit with the door open for a great view of the countryside. There is a stack of cushions tucked behind the third belted seat on the nearside, whose function is not immediately apparent until you notice press-studs on the van’s sliding door. A lever on the side of the seat releases it to slide the seat forward and unfold the squabs to make a sofa, and the cushion stack is press-studded piecemeal to the ’van wall and door to create a sofa back. The cushion stack also provided additional support to the back of the third seat, which was also held in place by a press stud.This arrangement has been changed for 2015: the nearside worktop has been extended to the back 
of the third travel seat with added storage, while being elevated above the seat base to provide space for feet to go underneath when it’s in the bed mode so as to retain the single bed length.

Two tables are provided. The occasional table, whose single leg and top are stored in the wardrobe, slots into a hole at the edge of the raised cab floor and is specifically for use when the two cab seats face the lounge.

There are TV points above the fixed sofa, which suggests that a set should sit on the kitchen worktop unless 
a bracket is installed. A freestanding table is stored against the back wall of the washroom and is most easily accessed through the ’van’s back doors. Two can dine comfortably at the table; four will be a squeeze.

There’s a spotlight over the two ends of the fixed sofa and one over the third travel seat, plus LED lighting over the cab seats and a mains light. Two lots of wall pockets are useful for stashing phones.

Kitchen

The kitchen is split across both sides of the habitation area and is fully kitted-out. On the offside is the oblong stainless-steel sink covered by a glass top with a chrome drain rack attached. Lower the top and remove the detachable drainer to get more worktop. The vertical three-gang socket here can be pushed down into the worktop when it’s not needed. The three-burner 
gas hob also has a glass lid, and below it is a combined oven and grill. Above is an extractor fan and microwave.

A window illuminates the area by day. Opposite and above a low cupboard is the three-way fridge; because it is above the floor, you don’t have to bend down in a tight space to access its contents.

The fridge has a freezer compartment and is topped by work surface, which has a flip-up extension to the side and a mains socket nearby.

Storage comprises a racked cabinet above the sink for crockery and a cupboard below, which has a kitchen roll holder attached to the door. Our testers stored pans and crockery in the lower cupboard, although the sink reduces its capacity. Another cupboard is below the cutlery drawer and two shallow lockers sit above the fridge.

A locker for crystal glasses is standard Auto-Sleeper equipment. Bottles can be stashed in a dedicated locker below the third belted seat.

Sleeping

The versatile layout is suitable for two friends or a couple. The two sofas can serve as 1.83m (6’) -long twin beds, which are quite narrow (0.68m; 2’3”), or be joined to create a 1.98m x 1.8m (6’5” x 5’1”) double bed by pulling the aluminium frame from the fixed sofa to link with 
the sofa against the door.

As well as the blinds on 
the two side windows, blinds are pulled up in the cab. Those on the passenger’s and driver’s windows are fan-like and work well but look delicate. The front one must be pulled up from the dash and manoeuvred over the reversing camera’s screen. This is awkward and care should be taken to avoid disconnecting the camera.

Washroom

It’s an achievement to get an end washroom in a panel van conversion and the XL does 
it well. On the offside is the shower unit, which houses a flip-up basin with toothbrush holders incorporated into the moulding. The mirror above the basin is surrounded by tiny blue LEDs – it’s a fun touch. Under the basin is moulding where you can stand shampoo bottles when the basin is folded away and you are using the shower.

A plastic tambour door separates the shower from the electric-flush cassette toilet. A towel ring and toilet roll holder are here and, on the domestic-style washroom door are towel hooks above a large mirror. The space is big enough for someone to get changed in.

Behind the bench toilet is a deep, narrow, lidded storage space that could be used as a laundry bin or to keep toilet chemicals and the hook-up cable. Above the toilet is a roof locker for toiletries.

Storage

Storage space in a van conversion is naturally limited. The main space for stashing bedding, outdoor chairs and other bulky items is under the sofa, but there are neat solutions elsewhere.

Behind the third seat is 
a square storage box that makes up the base for the sofa, which could take cushions or bedding. Above the cab is a deep shelf where you can stash cameras, bags, umbrellas, notebooks and anything you want to get to quickly. The roomy wardrobe will take dresses, although not the ankle-length kind, and has three drawers below. A locker under the fridge is ideal for shoes, while three others are above the sofa.

We love the dedicated bottle storage below the third seat. Kitchen storage includes a cocktail cabinet, crockery cupboard, roof locker, shallow cupboards under the oven and sink, and a deeper one under the cutlery drawer.

Small folding chairs can be stowed with the freestanding table against the tailgate doors while on the move. Deep pockets in the cab doors offer quick access to maps, cameras and other items.

Two people could stow their belongings with ease using the various options.

Equipment

Standard specification for the base vehicle includes power-assisted steering, ABS brakes with EBD, driver and passenger airbags, spare wheel on a carrier, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, and an iPod multimedia connection socket.

The retractable step tucks itself away automatically when the engine is switched on, and there are external 
TV, gas and 230V points.

Utilities include a 20-litre gas tank, 69-litre fresh water tank and a 40-litre waste tank. Inside are an easy-to-read LCD control panel, LED spotlights and low-level lighting, a gas-strut assisted bed top, a three-burner gas hob, a combined oven and grill, an extractor fan, a three-way fridge and a microwave oven.

Add on the £2500 Premium Pack for alloy wheels, cab air conditioning, cruise control, a roof-mounted awning, colour reversing camera, LED daytime running lights and Al-Ko AirTop suspension. 
A £295 Winter Pack will give you heater blankets for tanks and insulating blankets for wheel arches.

Here's the full specification list in more detail. The base vehicle is the Peugeot Boxer 2.2-litre turbodiesel 
128bhp @ 3500rpm; torque 236lb.ft @ 2000rpm. It's a six-speed manual gearbox. The Boxer features PAS. ABS with EBD. It's front-wheel drive with ESP and traction control and driver and passenger airbags. It also has steering wheel-mounted stereo controls, Bluetooth connectivity and a spare wheel.

The van conversion has a steel panel van body with athermic privacy glass. There's a 69-litre underslung fresh-water tank and a 40-litre underslung waste-water tank, plus a 20-litre underslung 
LPG tank. The electric step has auto-retract.

In the lounge there are six lounge seats, and four can eat together at the table. There's a side-facing sofa and a fold-out additional sofa. A freestanding table and a cocktail table, both with dedicated storage places are included. Cassette concertina blinds and flyscreens to side and rear windows and rooflights all enhance the habitation. Gas struts help you to lift the seat base. LED lighting uses very little power.

In the kitchen area you'll find a three-burner gas hob with electric ignition, an oven/grill, a sink with glass lid and removable plastic draining board, a cutlery drainer and drawer and a kitchen roll holder. There's a dual-fuel 90-litre fridge with a freezer compartment, plus a microwave oven. There's an extractor fan and downlighters, too.

Sleeping in this two-berth is versatile, with either twin beds or a double. The nearside single is 1.98m x 0.68m (6’5” x 2’3”) and the offside single is 2m x 0.68m (6’7” x 2’3”). The front double is 1.98m x 1.8m (6’5” x 5’1”).

Equipment on board includes an electric flush toilet with separate header tank, a 105Ah leisure battery, Truma dual-fuel Combi blown-air central heating and water heater, a Carbon Monoxide alarm, a smoke alarm and a Status directional TV aerial.

Options that you can have fitted are the Premium Pack, with alloy wheels, cab air-conditioning, cruise control, Thule Omnistor awning, reversing camera, LED daytime running lights and Al-Ko AirTop suspension (£2500).

In the Winter Pack you get fresh and waste water tank heater blanket, concertina cab blinds, Truma Combi Heater upgrade and wheel arch insulation blankets (£295).

Technical specs

LayoutVan conversion, rear washroom
Sleeps2
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload355kg
Length6.36m20′10″
Width2.26m7′5″
Height2.64m8′8″
Engine (capacity)2200
Fresh/waste water69L / 40L
Leisure battery105 Ah
Gas tank size20kg
Number of gas tank compartments1
External Options
Aluminium sidewalls, Integral awning, Directional TV aerial, Electric step
Kitchen Equipment
3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill, Microwave
Washroom
Thetford C-402 bench toilet, Separate shower cubicle
Heating
Truma Gas/Electric heater, Truma Electric/Gas Blown air heater, Truma Electric/Gas water heater

Verdict

That extra foot on the Auto-Sleeper Kemerton XL allows more flexibility with the sleeping configurations and, seating-wise, makes it a very sociable motorhome. You can comfortably seat six people on the two sofas and the swivel cab chairs, although with the extra sofa made up you’ll have to leave the ’van via the tailgate or the cab. 

The kitchen and end washroom 
are very usable spaces and both are equipped with everything you need.

Storage provision is generous for 
two people’s belongings. The Kemerton XL is easy to manoeuvre and a breeze 
to drive, but you need to keep your eye on the back corners when pulling into service stations. Our testers felt the reversing camera should be 
a standard feature. 

Conclusion

Pros

  • Easy to drive on a tough route
  • The 2.2-litre Peugeot Boxer was up to the challenges it encountered, from steep inclines to winding narrow roadways
  • The Premium Pack adds desirable items including wind-out awning and cruise control, and is good value for £2500

Cons

  • Single beds are quite narrow
  • Shorter people may find it difficult to get a comfortable driving position
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