Many Auto-Sleepers models are named after UK settlements, so it is fitting that their coachbuilt contribution to our series of ‘Dozen Doozies’ is named after the village where their manufacturing facility has been located for well over half a century – Broadway, in the Cotswolds.
In addition, the Broadway line-up celebrates all things ‘mid’, in that they are mid-sized and mid-range ‘vans; and therein lies their appeal.
Well-equipped and luxurious but not prohibitively expensive, big enough for extended trips and yet small enough to explore down the byways. Not just ‘mid’ but ‘magnificently mid’! The Broadway launched in 2008 and has been in production ever since.
Stretching the tape to 6.28m (20’7″). EK models’ entrance door is towards the rear and leads into the kitchen area. A swing-wall washroom with all mod-cons occupies the offside rear corner, and the lounge is forward.
There were two seating layouts. The EK has a double Pullman dinette with a long sofa opposite, while the EK TB replies the Pullman dinette with another long inward-facing sofa.
Both low-profile and overcab Luton derivatives were produced – offering either more storage or an additional transverse high-level double bed.
Extra lounge pews were provided by the swivelling cab seats.
The EL featured a forward entrance door, with the washroom and kitchen ahead of a rear U-shaped lounge. Basic specification included a Seitz glazed entrance door, recessed wind-out awning and rear corner steadies.
The lounge in very early EL models could only be made into a transverse double bed. In response to consumer demand, the layout was tweaked for 2010, so two easy-access single beds were also an option.
Initially, Broadway was offered alongside the manufacturer’s Sigma range, until the latter was dropped in 2010. The following year, a larger capacity 130bhp engine with six-speed manual gearbox became standard on all Broadway models. Darker cabinetwork, with contrasting finger panels, and a wider choice of fabrics, kept the style of the whole range feeling fresh.
The 2012 season saw a significant revamp to the exterior. A new, sharper look to the low-profile overcab and back panel, together with the removal of the upstands to the roof, gave it a sleeker appearance, further enhanced by the introduction of silver-grey sides with white capping and skirts.
The (previously extra-cost) option of an underslung LPG tank became standards in 2013, together with LED front running lights.
Peugeot’s Premium Pack (£2500) was upgraded for 2012 to include alloy wheels, cab air-con, cruise control, wind-out awning, reversing camera and monitor, and a solar panel with charge controller.
The EL was dropped in 2013 to make way for two additional members to join the gang. Refreshed interior finishes and fabrics, as well as different exterior graphics, accompanied the facelift to the base vehicle for 2015.
The well-judged newbies EB and EK reflected a further development in consumer demand. Initially, the EB was the same length as the EK (which itself had grown 100mm or so), and offered a positively palatial full-width rear-changing /washroom with walk-in shower cubicle, vanity basin, toilet, wardrobe and oodles of storage.
The FB is the biggie, at 7.21m (23’8″) and has a fixed, European-style, low-level rear-corner double bed, with a roomy washroom alongside.
While too new to see pre-owned examples, but worth noting, is this year’s reintroduction of the EL.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
As always, a full mechanical service history, a long MOT, and evidence that the engine drive belts have been replaced recently.
Entry-level 100PS engine (five-speed gearbox) is OK, but no ball of fire. Consider a mild remap to 115PS.
Early 120bhp models (six-speed gearbox) did – on occasion – suffer from clutch judder when reversing up steep inclines. They were subject to several recalls, but the best fix is to fit replacement (upgraded) engine mountings. Check the age of the tyres.
‘Sound-as-a-pound’ and much better screwed together than many, although that doesn’t mean potential buyers can skip insisting on a a full body-integrity (damp) test and a recent habitation service. Check operation of all blinds and fly screens, and smooth operation of any seat-to-bed conversions.
Consider whether the limited payload on longer and four-berth models will be sufficient, especially if you intend carrying for adults plus clobber. Factor in two important figures: the Peugeot Premium Pack reduces the available payload by 35kg, while the Fiat Auto option cuts it by 50kg.
Finally (easily overlooked), don’t forget to wind out the awning to check for damage or staining of the canvas.
For families: Broadway EK with optional Luton overcab, four travel seats and four adult sleeping berths. The author would budget for replacing the chassis to 3650kg (Group C1 licence required). For a couple or solo: EK TB low-profile.
WHAT TO PAY
The best value front-lounge model advertised at the time of writing was at Meridian Motorhomes. A 2010 EK, only 12,000 miles (that’s just over 1000 miles a year!), 120 bhp six-speed, four travel seats, four sleeping berths and fully loaded. Asking price £33,995. Current new equivalent models are priced at £69,000.
Also spotted, a lovely end-lounge 2010 EL, 130bhp, Euro 5, 16,000 miles, with an asking price of £37,990 at 4 Front Motorhomes.
If these are beyond your reach and a similar Auto-Sleepers is desired, look for an earlier Inca or Sigma.
OR YOU COULD TRY…
Autocruise Starspirit/Starstream, Bessacarr 400 series, Elddis Accordo.
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The 2012 season saw a significant revamp to the exterior. A new, sharper look to the low-profile overcab and back panel gave it a sleeker appearance