If you’re a touring couple and are looking for a new ‘van, two options you may be considering are the Benimar Benivan 122 and the Ford Nugget.
One is a strict two berth, the other provides some useful flexibility as you can sleep up to four. One has a separate washroom, the other has an external shower at the rear. So, which one is the campervan for you? In this guide, we’ll help you find out…
The basic spec:
Benimar Benivan 122
- Price: £54,495
- Berths: 2
- MTPLM: 3500kg
- Payload: 515kg
- Shipping length: 6.36m
- Price: £62,736
- Berths: 4
- MTPLM: 3200kg
- Payload: 961kg
- Shipping length: 4.97m
Benimar Benivan 122 vs Ford Nugget: design
Coming with a front dinette and rear lounge, the Benimar Benivan is based on the extra-long wheelbase Fiat Ducato. It has a fetching sunroof, which has been tinted black and comes with a peaked top.
As well as this, there are 16-inch alloy wheels fitted as standard, and it also comes with a 160bhp Fiat Ducato engine. A standard Ducato cab awaits inside, with cruise control, sat-nav and a rear-view camera fitted as standard.
In comparison, the Nugget is based on a short-wheelbase Transit Custom and has a cab which we felt was ‘car-like’. One of our favourite thing is how it drives, with Ford’s six-speed automatic gearbox providing a very smooth experience.
Something to think about with these two ‘vans is the size – the Benivan has a shipping length over a metre longer, coming in at 6.36m, while the Nugget stands at 4.97m.
The Benivan also comes with a fixed roof, while the Nugget has a raising roof – it’s here that you’ll find the extra two berths.
Benimar Benivan 122 vs Ford Nugget: lounge and dining
You get a great socialising space in the Benimar, with the cab seats swivelling around to face the bench seats. The previously mentioned sunroof makes it a well-lit area, while a pedestal table can be set up here. It’s one of two spots where the table can go.
If the ‘van is at full capacity, you may find the table’s a bit on the small side – we also noticed that whoever sits on the right-hand seat could have to stretch forward when reaching for it.
We really like the rear lounge – you could have up to six people in here. This is the second spot the table can be set up in, and even when it’s in position, we like the leg room you get.
What could have been a basic interior is also livened up, thanks to an ivory gloss edging on the overhead locker doors, while zigzag patterns inject the scatter cushions with some personality.
When it comes to the Nugget, you can also swivel the cab seats around, although we thought doing this to the passenger seat without opening the passenger door is easier said than done.
It’s a stylish interior – we like the addition of the strip lighting which runs above the nearside window, and a column of LEDs in the corner proceeds to offer more lighting. During the day, you can open the two sliding doors too, which creates a bright, airy space.
The nearside sliding door doesn’t put you at a disadvantage when you’re using the table either. When we saw the model at Dusseldorf, there was a clip-on table that can then be folded into the nearside side door. However, this is a setup that cannot be done with both doors sliding open, so instead, you get a removable pedestal table; we think the clip-on table would have been stable, and it does take up a large amount of storage, but it does provide enough space for four.
Benimar Benivan 122 vs Ford Nugget: sleeping
The sleeping arrangements will quite possible be one of the biggest deciding factors when you’re looking at these two ‘vans.
A vehicle with the campervan layout that the Benivan has typically requires you to slide two platforms together from beneath the settee base cushions, before folding down the legs to support the double. However, the issue that can arise with this is that the fold-down legs can get trapped when you’re taking the bed down in the morning – particularly if there’s luggage there.
That’s why we like the innovation on offer in the 122 – instead, you fit two metal rods across the rear aisle and slot them into special notches on either side of the bed. Doing this gives you a decent double – it’s a near-square and is 1.80m wide. If you’re both less than 5ft 11in, you could also use the settees as singles.
While the Benivan is a strict two berth, the Nugget gives you the option of having guests stay over.
The roof-bed in the Ford is made by loosening the clips which hold it up during the day. You then use a small ladder (that is otherwise kept in the wardrobe) to access it. We think it’s comfortable and a good size – semicircular mesh windows on either side keep it nicely lit, while there are versatile spotlights too.
If you’re travelling as a four, the downstairs bed can be made up by sliding the rear seat forward and then unravelling the bed. It’s a nice size, making the most of room beneath the sink, although the pedestal tabletop and chairs would need removing if they’re stored in there.
Benimar Benivan 122 vs Ford Nugget: kitchen
The Benivan’s side kitchen is nicely equipped, with a two-burner hob, large fold-up extension flap, and combined cooker/grill. We also like the presence of a 85-litre fridge – it’s an ideal size for meeting the needs of two on tour.
The Nugget’s L-shaped kitchen spreads across the back of the ‘van, behind the rear bench. In here, there’s a two-burner hob, a decent sink and you also get a 40-litre top-loading fridge. Something we like about this set-up is that it makes it easy to carry on a conversion with anyone in the lounge while you’re cooking.
However, it’s worth noting that while the Benivan offers a combined cooker / grill, they’re absent in the Nugget.
Benimar Benivan 122 vs Ford Nugget: washroom
The washroom on offer in the two ‘vans could also be another key deciding factor.
The Benivan’s washroom may be windowless, but the presence of a small vent allows steam to escape. A large rectangular sink out can be folded out from the bottom of a big mirror, while you can also separate the shower with a curtain.
It only has a single drainage hole but you do get a toilet roll holder near the circular toilet, and a heating vent keeps the room warm.
In comparison, the Nugget has no separate washroom. You can store a Porta Potti in a cupboard under the wardrobe in the rear offside corner, and there’s also an attachment that you can use to create an external shower – this runs on cold.
Benimar Benivan 122 vs Ford Nugget: storage
The Benivan offers decent storage. The nearside underseat area is completely clear, and it’s easy to access too – you can essentially lift up and leave the slats, without taking off too many cushions.
As well as this, you get six overhead lockers, while a half-height wardrobe is located above the fridge. Kitchen storage is also good, with options including a pan locker beneath the oven, a deep cutlery drawer and another overhead locker.
The Nugget offers a decent wardrobe in the rear offside corner, along with room beneath the rear seat; apart from these though, you’ll only really find major space beneath the sink, although this will normally be taken up with the pedestal tabletop and two chairs.
You also don’t get any overhead lockers, due to it being a roof-raising ‘van – if you do travel as a four, you may find you’re limited.
The options in the kitchen are better, where, amongst other things, you can find a decent cupboard and two drawers providing room for medium pans.
Having an idea of what you want from your ‘van will always be a crucial part of getting the best campervan for your travels, as these two options highlight.
Are you going to be travelling strictly as a two and would you like to have a separate washroom? If so, the 122 could be the option for you. Alternatively, if you think you’ll be staying somewhere with good facilities to hand and could be hosting extra guests, the Nugget could be the answer.
One thing is for certain though – whichever of the two you go for, we’re sure you’ll have an enjoyable experience.
You can find out more about both vehicles in our reviews of the Benimar Benivan 122 and the Ford Nugget.
Another option, of course, could be the Ford Nugget Plus – it’s more expensive, but it comes on a longer wheelbase, which gives it room to have a fixed toilet at the rear.
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