Easy to use, versatile, spacious and eminently practical… the benefits of the pop-top roof are too numerous to list here. But if you’re tall, you’ll be able to stand in your vehicle, and if you wish to travel in numbers, pop-tops provide increased living and sleeping space – just right for a family of four, or perhaps a group of friends.. So raise the roof and have yourselves some fun!

Mercedes Marco Polo (2018)

  • BERTHS/TRAVEL SEATS 4/4
  • L/W 5.14m/2.25m
  • MTPLM 3200kg
  • PAYLOAD 760kg
  • PLUS POINTS Stylish, with comfortable bed
  • MINUS POINTS Cab blinds take quite a while to fit
Mercedes Marco Polo (2018)

OUR REVIEW SAID…

A two-seat sofa makes up the lounge with the two cab seats, both of which can swivel.

There’s plenty of headroom available when you’re standing in the kitchen, because the Marco Polo’s roof rises at the front. You’ll find a Dometic gas hob with a pair of burners and electric ignition, a circular sink with a single tap that can be raised up and down, and a Westfalia fridge box.

There’s no washroom, but there is space for a portable toilet in the kitchen cupboards. Raising the roof is effortless: it’s electrically operated via the control panel in the cab. Making up the downstairs bed is reasonably straightforward: simply slide the (rather heavy) seat unit forward using the handle by the sliding door, then drop the seatbacks via the switches on the front of the unit.

Full review here.

WE SPOTTED…

  • Price £47,995
  • Mileage 43,000
  • Features Alloy wheels, 360-degree camera, Garmin Map Pilot Navigation, THERMATIC 3-Zone automatic climate control, CD player, DAB radio
  • Seen at www.raccars.co.uk

Devon Vitesse (2017)

  • BERTHS/TRAVEL SEATS 4/4
  • L/W 5.14m/2.24m
  • MTPLM 3050kg
  • PAYLOAD 680kg
  • PLUS POINTS Nice drive and comfortable cab
  • MINUS POINTS Small dining table
Devon Vitesse (2017)

OUR REVIEW SAID…

Devon has gone for a typical VW-camper-style layout, with the kitchen down the offside and a forward-facing rear seat with full seatbelts. The table that sits between here and the swivelled cab seats is a little small, so could end up being a stretch for occupants of either pair of seats.

The kitchen comes with a two-burner hob connected as one unit with the sink. That makes cleaning easier, but doesn’t leave a huge amount of workspace. For washing, you are limited to the sink. There is space for a Porta Potti under the seat.

The SCA pop-top roof is unusually high, and a platform underneath springs up to fit into the roof when you don’t need it, leaving you with ample headroom.

When it comes down, it provides you with a spacious, spring bed. Downstairs there’s a rock’n’roll bed, with a spotlight for reading.

Full review here.

WE SPOTTED…

  • Price £37,500 (2019 model)
  • Mileage 7100
  • Features Air-con, cruise control, LED lighting, fresh- and waste-water tanks, compressor fridge
  • Seen at www.devonconversions.co.uk

Volkswagen California Ocean (2016)

  • BERTHS/TRAVEL SEATS 4/4
  • L/W 4.90m/1.90m
  • MTPLM 3000kg
  • PAYLOAD 402kg
  • PLUS POINTS Excellent build quality throughout
  • MINUS POINTS Sliding door is not on the UK nearside
Volkswagen California Ocean (2016)

OUR REVIEW SAID…

In T6 guise, there are two flavours: Beach and Ocean. Here we have the latter, and the higher-trim Ocean is a standard-bearer for the entire class of T6-based ‘vans.

The conversion hasn’t been switched to right-hand drive, hence, the sliding door is on our offside (we appreciate its power latch, but that doesn’t compensate).

Nevertheless, most would agree this is head-and-shoulders above contemporaries. It needn’t cost more, either. Spec-for-spec comparisons actually favour the California – especially because the standard equipment includes clever features; for example, the electrically operated aluminium elevating roof, an outdoor table stowed in the sliding door, folding lounge chairs in the tailgate and a programmable diesel heating system.

It’s a full four-berth, with an option to add a fifth, removable, travel seat.

Full review here.

WE SPOTTED…

  • Price £55,990 (2017 model)
  • Mileage 18,334
  • Features Alarm, radio/CD/MP3, parking heater, cool/warm-box, three-zone climate control
  • Seen at used.volkswagen-vans.co.uk

Hillside Leisure Birchover (2016)

  • BERTHS/TRAVEL SEATS 4/4
  • L/W 4.89m/1.90m
  • MTPLM 2800kg
  • PAYLOAD 550kg
  • PLUS POINTS Generally well engineered and you get a long-wheelbase option
  • MINUS POINTS Lacking in design flair
Hillside Leisure Birchover (2016)

OUR REVIEW SAID…

This long-wheelbase T6-based VW camper gives extra living space and high levels of kit, without the bells and whistles.

There’s an L-shaped kitchen; at the short leg, the 65-litre fridge and Smev oven/grill are concealed behind a door that has three built-in shelves.

The kitchen has a two-ring gas hob and a deep sink, leaving plenty of useful work surface to its left.

Some of the space here is taken up by a lid, which opens to reveal a cutlery tray. Such is its nature, though, that you can’t help wondering whether this will just end up catching crumbs and spills.

Hillside ups the ante with diesel-fuelled heating, a shower socket inside the tailgate, rear speakers and more. The Birchover also has a RIB rear seat and an SCA elevating roof.

Full review here.

WE SPOTTED…

  • Price £33,995 (2014 model)
  • Mileage 60,596
  • Features Awning, two-burner hob, rock’n’roll bed, air-con, CD player, metallic paint, central locking, passenger airbag, driver’s airbag, grill
  • Seen at www.autotrader.co.uk

Bilbo’s Celex (2016)

  • BERTHS/TRAVEL SEATS 2/4
  • L/W 5.29m/2.10m
  • MTPLM 3000kg
  • PAYLOAD 700kg
  • PLUS POINTS Packed with practical features
  • MINUS POINTS Diesel heating is only an option
Bilbo’s Celex (2016)

OUR REVIEW SAID…

Four travel seats and two berths are the starting point in the Celex, in the familiar side furniture/rear seat-cum-bed format.

Then the differences begin – Bilbo’s own rear-seat design, for example. It’s easier than most to convert into a bed – the backrest hinges over to form a flat mattress.

Bilbo’s also makes its own elevating roof. Typical of its ‘belt-and-braces’ approach, this has a side hinge and is easy to lift, with heavy-duty vinyl and removable window blinds.

This set-up works exceedingly well – and all the more so when the Celex is retained as a two-person sleeper.

All Celexes get a Smev grill as standard, and there’s a 65-litre compressor fridge, two-ring hob and sink. Also fitted to the Celex are fresh- and waste-water tanks.

Full review here.

WE SPOTTED…

  • Price £32,995 (2011 model)
  • Mileage 42,000
  • Features Rock’n’roll bed, two forward-facing belted seats, two-burner gas hob, grill, fridge, tow bar, awning and bike rack
  • Seen at www.autotrader.co.uk

Danbury Surf (2019)

  • BERTHS/TRAVEL SEATS 4/4
  • L/W 4.89m/2.29m
  • MTPLM 3000kg
  • PAYLOAD 673.kg
  • PLUS POINTS Excellent lighting, extra-secure fridge
  • MINUS POINTS Limited workspace in kitchen
Danbury Surf (2019)

OUR REVIEW SAID…

The Surf is very much a campervan designed for the brave new world of wireless tech, with its handy USB sockets and wireless charging pad.

It looks great on the outside, and is comfortable to live in, and it’s good that Danbury has done more than just add a bed upstairs. There is useful additional lighting here, too.

The storage capacity isn’t bad, either. The boot is large enough to hold bulky items, and the wardrobe is – to use the estate agent’s phrase – deceptively large.

We might have liked to see a bit more kitchen workspace, and perhaps a rather higher spec there, to match the excellent provision you’ll find elsewhere – but there is only so much you can do in the confined space of a camper. Otherwise, this is a very attractive model.

Full review here.

WE SPOTTED…

  • Price £34,999 (2015 model)
  • Mileage 37,921
  • Features Air-con, alarm, awning, blinds, grill, handbasin, oven, USB, digital radio, Bluetooth
  • Seen at www.ebay.co.uk

WildAx Triton (2019)

  • BERTHS/TRAVEL SEATS 4/4
  • L/W 5.34m/2.08m
  • MTPLM 3100kg
  • PAYLOAD 500kg
  • PLUS POINTS Innovative and very stylish
  • MINUS POINTS Relative lack of storage space
WildAx Triton (2019)

OUR REVIEW SAID…

The lounge looks classy, with the seats in a Chesterfield style and cross-stitching in pale grey. The controls, including the Trim boiler, are next to the travel seats, as is one of the two speakers. There’s a mains socket and two USBs under the seats, too, along with a vent to keep things warm.

The side kitchen includes a two-burner gas hob and rectangular sink, with mains and 12V sockets close by. You also have two lockers below the sink, and a 50-litre fridge.

The biggest innovation is the permanent shower tray. Even with the roof raising at this end, however, you won’t be standing to shower – instead, you sit on the toilet.

The roof bed lowers easily. The lower bed is made by folding down the sofas and using infill cushions. That, perhaps, is the Triton’s one snag: its relative lack of storage space.

Full review here.

WE SPOTTED…

  • Price £44,495 (2017 two-berth WildAx Constellation 3)
  • Mileage 9500
  • Features One owner,  automatic gearbox, washroom, fresh- and waste-water tanks
  • Seen at www.autotrader.co.uk

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