Far be it from us to query the German manufacturer’s choice of nomenclature, but the 2016 Hymer Van 314 is in fact a coachbuilt. It shares its name with a similar product that quietly disappeared from European dealers a few years ago: a Ford Transit-based compact, low-profile range that launched in 2006.

We’ve reported on the new Hymer motorhomes launched for 2016 here, and in this review we’re going to focus on the fact that Hymer is taking another trip with the Van, which is now riding on a Fiat Ducato base and badged 314. 

At 5.45m, the 314 is close in length to a short-wheelbase Sevel panel van (5.4m), and 16cm shorter than a long-wheelbase VW T5 (5.29m). Because it can negotiate parking spaces less forgiving of larger units, the 314 will tempt buyers who prefer coachbuilt comfort levels in as small a package as possible. For the past few years, these customers have been nudged towards panel-van conversions featuring fixed beds and fully equipped washrooms, as well as a raft of compact low-profiles breaking the tape at just under six metres. 

At half-a-metre shorter than many of its near rivals, though, the 314 offers something genuinely different. And unlike most of the competition, it’s not a budget ’van – the base price at launch is £42,250. Hymer is marketing the Van 314 as a replacement vehicle for the second family car and, at first sight, this may not be too fanciful a notion. 

Thanks to pairing the Ducato base with a lightweight Al-Ko chassis, the Van 314 has an all-up weight of 3500kg with a huge payload – just shy of 1000kg. The rear garage even has a maximum loading capacity of 350kg.