A brace of Driving coachbuilts (Wentworth and Gleneagle) transferred from the previous X44 Peugeot Boxer to the (then) all-new, cutting-edge X250 for the 2007 model year.
Autocruise converted them in Mexborough, Yorkshire. The company was owned by industry legend Gordon Bentley and family. When he retired, it was sold, first to a consortium and eventually to the Swift Group.
Vehicle production continued at the Mexborough premises for a while, then transferred to the larger Swift factory in Cottingham. So in the seven-year production run, the company had two homes and three owners.
Although they are undeniably great to drive down the blacktop (the author regrets selling the one that he owned), each model in the Driving range is actually named after a famous golf course, on which a rather different sort of driving takes place.
The 7.05m (23’ 1.5”) Wentworth is based on a Peugeot Boxer chassis-cab, while the other models benefit from independently sprung Al-Ko Kober chassis extensions.
The standard drivetrain was the muscular chain-driven Iveco 3.0-litre direct-injection turbodiesel (with an equine count of 157), driving the front wheels via a manual six-speed gearbox.
Fitting ergonomically correct and fully adjustable ISRI captain’s chairs at the pointy end was just one example of the brand’s ‘up to a quality, not down to a price’ build philosophy.
The Wentworth features two long inward-facing settees forward, ahead of a large kitchen with a huge amount of worktop, and a rear offside corner swing-wall shower room.
The Augusta’s USP was two low-level permanent single beds lying ahead of the full-width comfort station and changing area at the far rear.
The Gleneagle, which appeared in 2008, was basically a Wentworth with the Augusta’s larger washroom.
Subsequently, the Wentworth was dropped and a new flagship model – the Oakmont – was added. This was the longest to date, at 7.7m (25’ 3”).
The Oakmont boasted a central nearside linear kitchen, with the washroom opposite. These were ahead of a permanent low-level island double bed. Settees in the lounge could be converted into an additional double for guests, although said guests would have to make their own way to the site, because – as in all of the Driving range – there are only two travel seats.
The option to specify the Fiat Ducato Al-Ko base was the most significant development on the mechanical side, and this commenced in mid-2010.
The Ducato is fitted with the same autobahn-storming Iveco engine as the Boxer, but – crucially – automatic transmission was available as a cost option. Fiat’s ComfortMatic is actually an automated manual gearbox, so as a result, there is no fuel consumption penalty involved, as there is with most torque-converter gearboxes.
The interiors of these vehicles don’t just look luxurious, they are luxurious. The settees in the lounge are filled with high-spec laminated foam (soft on top, firmer underneath), and feature a smart quilted design, buttoning and quality, closely woven soft furnishing fabrics.
The cabinetwork was built using traditional joinery methods. Locker doors are aircraft-style (radiused), with contrasting wipe-clean finger panels and domestic-style latches.
We agree with the frequently voiced opinion that you can tell how much thought went into the design stage of any motorcaravan simply by looking at the amount and variety of storage.
These models feature swing-out cupboards, some with bifold doors, many drawers, much dedicated storage space, plus differently sized lockers, including a very generous helping of exterior-access ones.
Every model also arrives with a large payload, so potential buyers will be unsurprised to learn that a Group C1 licence is required to drive them.
What to look out for in an Autocruise Driving Range
In general, very reliable, but as with anything mechanical, they will inevitably suffer wear and failing components over time and mileage.
Look for a full service history from a main dealer or a commercial vehicle specialist. Replace the hydraulic fluid if it hasn’t been done already.
Any change in the bite point of the clutch usually indicates a failing slave cylinder, which is inside the gearbox, so would not be a cheap repair. Check the age of the tyres and the coolant.
As with any pre-owned motorcaravan, check carefully for water ingress in the usual places and especially between the side walls and skirts.
In addition, check for evidence of a recent habitation service and appliance safety check. Budget for updating the smoke alarm and fire extinguisher, and add a fire blanket if there isn’t one.
What we like in the Autocruise Driving range
- Luxurious interior
- High spec
- Iveco three-litre engine
- Generous payloads
What we don’t like in the Autocruise Driving range
- No automatic transmission option on Peugeot Boxer
- High entrance step threshold on the Wentworth
This is really a case of which type of accommodation for the somnolent is preferred. Oakmont for a permanent double, Augusta for two permanent singles. Wentworth or Gleneagle
for beds converted from the lounge settees. Those seeking a two-pedal drive will have to look for one with Fiat Ducato ComfortMatic underpinnings.
- Take a look at our guide to buying a motorhome to help you work out what you need from your ‘van
Autocruise Driving range essentials
- Autocruise Driving Range on Peugeot Boxer and Boxer Al-Ko chassis-cabs. Fiat Ducato Al-Ko also available after 2010
- Built 2007–2014, first in Mexborough and later in Cottingham, both in Yorkshire, UK
- Low-profile overcab coachbuilts
- Overall length ranged from 7.05m/23’ 1.5” for the Wentworth, to 7.70m/ 25’ 3” for the Oakmont
Or you could try…
Autocruise Starburst, or single rear-axle variants of the Swift Kon-Tiki and Bessacarr E700 series.
After more used ‘van buyer inspiration? Then what about one of these:
- Murvi Pimento (Ford) 2015-present: this is a highly manoeuvrable ‘van with a layout that works.
- Auto-Sleeper Inca & Sigma (2004-2009): we liked the practical layout and size of these Auto-Sleeper ‘vans.
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