Highly regarded German manufacturer Hobby surprised many when it entered the van conversion market for 2015, with the three-strong Vantana range. This gives Hobby an offering outside the coachbuilt segment, where its Siesta range is well established, and to which Optima was recently added. 

Producing van conversions is not for the faint-hearted, though, as there’s a seemingly bewildering array of models to consider, from both volume manufacturers and small converters across Europe. Competition is fierce, as you’d expect with so many big names vying for a slice of the cake and designing new motorhomes for 2016. And this segment certainly continues to grow, as seen at the 2015 Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf, where an extra van conversions hall was laid on to sate visitor demand for vehicles that are smaller, lighter and more economical to run than larger coachbuilt motorhomes. You can read more in our blog, Düsseldorf show: the rise of the campervan.

Hobby’s relative newness to this market requires it to offer something distinctive to stand out from the crowd. German brands can always fall back on build quality and appealing design quirks, but ease of use and interior ambience also figure on buyers’ wish lists. To see how well the Vantana formula works in the metal, we thought it’d make sense to scrutinise the model that presents the most challenges to its designers, the Hobby Vantana K55, which at 5.41m (17ft 9in) long is the baby of the range.