If there was a common theme to the (limited) launches this season, it was the increasing importance of van conversions, such as the Elddis Autoquest CV80. It seems almost everyone has a pop-up model in their stable.

Erwin Hymer UK is no exception; it moved into van conversions two seasons ago, winning our Motorhome of the Year award last year with its quirky CV60 with a rear daybed.

Not content with that, this season, it launched the CV80, its first raising-roof. With a rear lounge that turns into a double bed, it is also available as the Compass Avantgarde CV80, although we saw the Elddis Autoquest version.

Like all Elddis/Compass campervans, it is based on a Fiat Ducato, so you can opt for Fiat’s nine-speed automatic transmission; although for the standard 140bhp, that costs £2040 more.

For 2021, all of these campers can come with a metallic grey finish, for an extra £500. They have updated the graphics, too, so you get a snazzy ‘Z’ shape down the side.

CV80’s smart exterior includes snazzy graphics on the sides

Open it up, and the first thing you notice is the Heki roof light. This really makes a difference, not just to the roof bed, but to the front dinette, too.

Downstairs, the layout is essentially the same as the existing CV40, but the front dinette becomes bright and comfy once the ladder is removed (although the area is usable with it in place).

The clip-on table extends, with plenty of room for four. You get two spotlights under the lockers here.

Further back, the lounge provides an even roomier place to spend a wet afternoon. It has four spotlights, in addition to the ambient lighting.

Rear lounge is a spacious place to while away a wet afternoon, with a good view out of the back windows

The little shelf under the TV bracket would be handy for cups of tea, but if you need something bigger, the folding table is stored under here.

If you are after a bit of privacy, the washroom door opens out to seal off this area. But then the washroom is open to the lounge, and the fridge is the ‘wrong’ side of the door, so the cook might not appreciate it.

In fact, the cook will need to be very diplomatic, because just forward of the fridge, at the narrowest point in the galley, is the three-burner gas hob with the Thetford Triplex combined oven and grill beneath it. There will need to be a rule about nobody barging through while meals are prepared.

The work surface is lit from a large window and two LEDs, while a pull-up extension offers adequate space.

There is a shallow cupboard under the sink, a drawer and a locker below the oven and one overhead locker.

The washroom is more or less as you’d expect in a van conversion – a small salad-bowl-style basin, with a tap you pull out and hook to the wall for a shower. The shower tray only has one drainage hole. But the room is pleasantly lit by an opaque window, and there’s a small mirror with a cupboard behind it.

Compact washroom is pleasantly lit, but one one drain hole in shower tray

The rear settees aren’t long enough to make into two single beds, but you can turn them into an adequate double by pulling out the platforms. The roof bed, however, is the plus point: it is well over 2m long and rests on slatted beams. For light, aside from that Heki and zip-down windows in the canvas there is also a bendy spotlight, while the switch to the lighting in the main part of the camper is right where you need it, should you have to clamber down during the night – on the side of the access hatch.

Comfortable roof bed is a real plus point; at well over 2m long, it rests on slatted beams. The area is lit by a Heki rooflight, zip-down windows in the canvas and a bendy spotlight

Storage is enhanced by having an underslung gas tank, so although the area under the rear seats includes the battery box and heater, there is room for bulky items here. You need to lift the seat bases to access it.

There is also a handy flap to reach the space under the travel seats in front, and no shortage of overhead lockers – six all told in here, not including the kitchen, plus a large pelmet shelf over the cab.


Galley provides a three-burner gas hob and combined oven and grill

In effect, adding the roof bed makes what was a three-berth (the CV40) into a four-berth with sizeable beds. There’s a £5850 difference between the two, so you might need to check you actually need four berths. If so, go for it. The kitchen and washroom are adequate, but the roof bed is a real plus. We think this ‘van would be best for touring outside the coldest months, when it is mostly just the two of you and you can head upstairs at night.

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