The Cotswolds-based manufacturer has a small, hugely experienced workforce that still builds each motorhome to order, despite the popularity and scale of the brand. Revisions of Auto-Sleeper models are taken very seriously indeed, so when we heard earlier this year that the company would debut an all-new low-profile coachbuilt body design that will gradually spread across its stable, we were very keen to see just what they’d come up with.
The new low-profile design is set to debut first on the Broadway and its smaller cousin, the Nuevo, two ranges of compact ’vans that are among Auto-Sleepers’ most successful in recent years. All low-profiles in these ranges will receive the new body design and an all-new exterior treatment. Auto-Sleepers are also adding an all-new panel van – the Peugeot Boxer-based Windrush, with transverse bunk beds at the back – to the company’s line-up.
What you need to know
Auto-Sleepers’ press releases refer to the alterations to the Broadway and Nuevo ranges as ‘facelifts’, but that’s a modest description, to say the least. The changes start at the fundamentals, since all Peugeot Boxer-based ’vans in the Auto-Sleepers stable will come on the updated, Euro 5-compliant base for 2012. These remain effectively identical to the Fiat Ducato, and so in addition to cleaner, more powerful engines, they also benefit from a revised dashboard design that is much more modern.
Apart from the new base vehicle, Auto-Sleepers has completely revamped the coachbuilt bodies of the Broadway and Nuevo, too, with much more attractive and modern low-profile mouldings. Auto-Sleepers claim that these sleeker roof mouldings are more aerodynamic than the older ones. The new bodies are paired with aluminium skirts and new graphics, as well as silver sidewalls (as an option) and black trim panels that contrast nicely with the rest of the ’van body. The grilles now also have black surrounds to match these panels, giving the new ’vans
a really striking look.
Inside, the new Broadway and Nuevo will benefit from brand new upholstery patterns – quite bold ones, too, if the pictures we were given are any indication – and revised worktops, slide-out tables, aluminium bed boxes with gas struts and more powerful blown air heating. We’re also pleased to note that these new ’vans will have all-LED lighting (resulting in a 70 per cent power saving, according to Auto-Sleepers) as well as extra power sockets – a lack of sockets has been a longstanding weakness of smaller Auto-Sleeper ’vans.
Our favourite improvement in the new Broadway and Nuevo, though, is a 50kg weight saving thanks to that new GRP body. That’s 50kg of extra payload painstakingly eked out by Auto-Sleepers’ designers – very impressive indeed, especially in these times of tightening licence and weight restrictions.
The other big development in Auto-Sleepers’ 2012 range is an all-new high-top van conversion – the four-berth Windrush, built on the LWB Peugeot Boxer. It’s a type of ’van that Auto-Sleepers has never offered before, with a classic side-facing sofa lounge that converts into a double bed and also into two forward-facing belted passenger seats, plus there are two bunk beds positioned transversely across the rear. The bunk bed frames are made out of aluminium, ensuring that they’re both strong and light. The lounge has one forward-facing belted travel seat, and the side-facing sofa can be converted into an additional belted seat, meaning that this ’van will transport as many people as it sleeps. Since the bunk beds are 6’2” long, as well, this ’van could also function for four adults travelling together.
Equipment levels are high, with LED lighting throughout, an 85-litre fridge, a three-burner hob with oven, a kitchen extractor fan, reversing camera, awning, electric slide-out step, 25-litre fixed LPG tank, AL-KO Airtop pneumatic suspension, an external barbecue point and three tables – and all of this comes as standard, too. There’s also an all-new colour-screen control panel, which according to Auto-Sleepers will tell you “everything you need to know about the vehicle’s electrics”.
The options list is comprehensive, too, with a rear bike rack, storage box, DVD players with wireless headphones for passengers, a solar panel, a day room and an upgraded media system that includes a satellite navigation system and a TV/DVD player.
Must-see ’van: Windrush
Auto-Sleepers have long done a great line in plush van conversions for couples, but this is the first time they’ve tried their hand at designing a four-berth high-top. It looks like they’ve covered all the bases, and added that characteristic Auto-Sleepers luxury feel.