It’s great to step into a new ’van and smell freshly-finished, real wood – the Cavarno XL is very good, but it may just be sabotaged by the more affordable Cavarno 2.

Horizons Unlimited ’vans are unusual – the Staffordshire-based company almost exclusively builds its van conversions on the Ford Transit base, offers a plethora of mobility options and combines sober, clean and quite Continental design with very British characteristics, such as large and comprehensively-equipped kitchens and furnishings edged in bona fide oak.

In 2009 the company launched the Cavarno XL, a long wheelbase version of its popular short wheelbase Cavarno 2. It’s a high-top Transit-based camper with a twin rear seat, offside kitchen and nearside washroom layout.

Most of the extra space has gone towards expanding the kitchen and washroom, since even the SWB Cavarno has enough space in its lounge to make up a decent set of single beds. In the Cavarno XL the beds are created by sliding the seats, tilting the backrests and inserting a couple of fill-in cushions (which live in cubbies in the walls). The swivelled cab seat bases complete the 1.96 x 0.62m (6’4” x 2’) singles, which are ample for anyone but a pro basketball player. A fill-in cushion is offered as a cost option, to turn the two singles into a 1.96 x 1.86m (6’4” x 6’1”) double bed. The sliding and tilting action of the travel seats is exceedingly pleasing as well, being one of the smoothest and most fuss-free we’ve ever come across. The Cavarno XL also features seat backrests with greater rake than previous Horizons models, to allow for greater adjustability and comfort.

The kitchen in this ’van is awesome – it is larger than the kitchens of many coachbuilts, with plenty of workspace. Storage is similarly generous, and the 70-litre fridge should be sufficient, although at this price point it would have been nice to have seen an automatic energy selection fridge offered as standard. The four-burner hob comes with a grill, and an oven can be specified as well, although this necessitates the relocation of the gas locker from within the kitchen unit to beneath the wardrobe. The Cavarno XL manages to stand out from the likes of IH and Vantage thanks to its stately, restrained air of functionality and luxury, and it just about justifies its high price tag. The real threat comes from within – the XL is better than the Cavarno 2, but we’re not sure if it’s good enough to justify a £5000 premium over its smaller cousin.