Peter Baber
Reviews Editor

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The 2019 season sees the return of a well-known brand, Compass, in a new range of entry-level 'vans, and the arrival in the UK of Etrusco.

County Durham firm Elddis's first full year under German (Erwin Hymer Group) ownership has seen some considerable growth in its range, with the reintroduction of Compass as a motorhome brand and an expansion in to van conversions. 

Motorhomes haven't gone down the Consett assembly line wearing the Compass badge for the past decade, so their reintroduction suggests increased confidence in a company that has also developed its van conversion concept in only eight months. 

Just as with the restructuring of Compass caravans two years ago, the new motorhomes will be identical in terms of layout, spec and body length to models also in the Elddis line-up. 

For this year they will be restricted to the entry-level Avantgarde range, the equivalent of Elddis's Autoquest. There isn't yet a Compass equivalent of Elddis's Accordo or Encore ranges. 

Avantgarde comes with its own exterior graphics and blue and brown Montauk upholstery on the inside, compared with Autoquest's yellow and grey Glacier scheme. 

The new Avantgarde range reflects Autoquest right down to extending into van conversions this year. Unusually, the manufacturer hasn't sought to launch a new brand for the van conversions, which are also based on a Fiat Ducato, rather than the Peugeot Boxer that Elddis has more traditionally been using. 

From launch there are two van conversions in each range. The CV20 (£36,677) is a two-berth with a rear lounge long enough for two single beds that can also be made into a double; while the four-berth CV40 (£37,227) incorporates a front dinette with two travel seats as well. Both have the 115bhp Fiat engine fitted as standard. 

Both also come with a 25-litre underslung LPG tank that can be used to power the 4kW Whale underfloor water heater. They also have a Thetford Triplex oven and grill, three-burner hob and Thetford T1090 compressor fridge, a 90-litre fresh-water tank and a 45-litre waste-water tank, and LED interior lighting. 

The £1218 Lux Pack gets you cab air conditioning, a passenger airbag and cruise control; while alloy wheels, an engine upgrade to 130bhp and a microwave are optional extras costing, respectively, £650, £500 and £150.

There is also a new model in both the Autoquest and Avantgarde low-profile line-up. The 194 is a four-berth with Continental-style high fixed single beds over a large garage at the back and a front dinette with two parallel sofas that make a second double on pull-out platforms. They also house two fold-out travel seats. 

Upgrades in the Autoquest include LED reading lights, new locker handles and a corner section on the 155 and 196. These also appear in the Avantgarde. 

The Elddis Accordo continues with four models. It benefits from a new cutlery tray as well as LED reading lights and locker handles, plus a new corner section on the 120, 125 and 135. 

The upmarket Encore range also has the same four models for 2019, but this year with distinctive brown side panels. Improvements inside include LED reading lights, new locker handles and darker Cassino Ash furniture. All interior fabrics on Elddis and Compass models are now Aquaclean, and they have Twine vinyl flooring. 

Prices are up by 2.8% - 4% like-for-like on 2018, with Autoquests starting at £38,749, Accordos at £41,999 and Encores at £52,399. These include the delivery charge, now £1450. 

Etrusco arrives in the UK

A year after taking over the Elddis and Compass brands, Erwin Hymer is launching another brand in the UK. 

Etrusco, made at the group's Tuscany factory, features 10 models: seven low-profiles and three A-classes. All are built on a Fiat Ducato chassis with the 2.3-litre, 130bhp Euro 6 engine as standard. The low-profiles include two under 6m: the T5900 FB, which manages to fit a French bed into this relatively small space, and the T5900 DB, which has a transverse bed. 

The range's other low-profiles include a larger transverse-bed model, two island-bed and two fixed-bed. The A-class line-up has two island-bed models with a central washroom, and one fixed-single-beds model.

Standard equipment includes a Truma 6E boiler and, unusually for a Continental brand, an oven. 

OTR prices for the low-profiles start at £49,555, while the A-classes start at £63,617. As for options: a basic pack will get you a panoramic rooflight and captain's chairs in the cab, and a lining for the shower cubicle. 

A chassis pack gets you a passenger airbag and cab air conditioning, among other features. A chassis comfort pack includes a leather steering wheel and gearknob, and 16-inch alloy wheels.

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