Vantage Motorhomes is one of my favourite van converters. They build luxury Fiat Ducato based campers, and one of the reasons I’m a fan is that they follow a strict, clear formula – all rear-lounge campers, all two-berths, and all with three-letter model names.
Being clear in their product design goals helps them focus on the details – in a Vantage camper, you can tell the small stuff has been sweated – and it lets them keep pricing reasonable through streamlined production.
That’s not to say that they haven’t deviated from this formula in the past; it’s just that Vantage tends to quickly roll back experiments if they’re not working. So far, none of their front-lounge campers – one of which, the Zen, was even based on the rare Vauxhall Vivaro base – has earned a place in the first-team roster.
All of that is likely to change now, though, thanks to the range of front-lounge campers that Vantage has launched at the NEC. If you’re at the show this weekend you should definitely go and view them on stand 11-60.
Vantage's new front-lounge Vue camper
There are three models, and they differ mainly in terms of wheelbase length – the Gem is based on the 5.4m MWB Ducato, the Ora is based on the 6m LWB Ducato, and the Vue is based on the 6.4m XLWB Ducato. The layouts within are very similar, with a side kitchen, twin-sofa front lounge and an identical rear washroom across the board – once again, the product of a focused design process.
All three are excellent campers, with enough storage and worktop space – even in the medium wheelbase Gem – for two people to tour comfortably. The star of the line-up is the Vue, which offers a feeling of space that rivals even coachbuilt interiors. However, I have a feeling that most buyers will go for the six-metre Ora, which is a good compromise between the two and should be easier to park and pilot down small lanes.
Vantage has also introduced a fixed rear GRP pod option – most famously utilised by IH Motorhomes – on its rear-lounge models, which sees the base vehicle’s rear doors removed and replaced with a one-piece GRP cap, creating a much more streamlined exterior and a more comfortable interior, with better insulation.
You can also order a Vantage with a GRP side panel and coachbuilt-style door in place of the metal sliding door, but the company’s founder Scot Naylor seemed less keen on this feature. He told me he believes that the panorama offered by the big sliding door is a big selling point of a van conversion. But, in true Vantage fashion, he’s trying out the smaller doors to see what happens. While the side door option might soon end up on the cutting room floor, I expect the new line-up of front lounge campers, and the new GRP rear pod, to become mainstays in Vantage’s stable.