The longitudinal rear bed is an innovation that brings a much-loved coachbuilt layout to a van conversion without enormous compromise. This is a real feat of ergonomic engineering from Autocruise.
Clever hinged rear bed; surprisingly spacious kitchen; versatile storage optiions
No backboard for the bed is an unfortunate compromise of the layout; narrow washroom
Autocruise has made a concerted push to become Britain’s leading van converter with its 2010 line-up, growing its steel high top Boxer range to six models and continuing with the elevating roof Pulse on the Fiat Scudo.
The all new Alto, with its longitudinal double bed, wowed us the most: it’s a classic coachbuilt layout – that is, fixed rear corner bed with washroom alongside, kitchen amidships and half dinette up front.
The increased internal space in the latest generation Boxer makes such a layout possible within the confines of the manufacturer’s steel van walls. At 1.9 x 1.2m (6’3” x 3’11”), the double bed is a decent offering, and the corner cutaway is a thoughtful balance between access to the washroom and sleeping comfort. Two longitudinal mattresses make for a comfortable bed, although in the pre-production test model, the cutaway mattress doesn’t yet fit its base.
An aluminium- framed, slatted bed base, which attaches to the nearside sofa box, hinges through 90 degrees and a robust single catch fixes it upright in transit. This allows for walk-through access to the rear doors when the bed’s not in use, and maximises storage: a couple of bikes can secure to the bed base in transit, and the sofa itself becomes a storage tray. As a double bed, the only discomfort is that the windows in the rear van doors means there’s no backboard.
The washroom alongside the bed is rather narrow – the wheelarch prevents the toilet swivelling, and occupants may find themselves battling with a clinging shower curtain – but again, it’s eminently useable.
Amidships there’s a 72-litre Waeco fridge at torso height above a half-height wardrobe on the driver side, and the kitchenette on the nearside. Up front, the layout replicates the existing Pace floorplan of half-dinette, which converts into a single bed. With cab seats swivelled, the forward facing passenger seats convert into a decent single bed.
|Shipping Length||6 m|