A van conversion with a raising-roof on a Fiat Ducato? You don’t see that very often. Until this season, it has really only been Hymer that has offered such a vehicle.

But now, Auto-Trail has launched two such models as part of its new Adventure range – specifically designed to take on the Hymer market, it says. And it more than pays off, with the longer of the two, the Adventure 65, winning the 2020 Motorhome of the Year award for best rising roof camper.

The exterior decals certainly enhance the impression that this is a ’van for adventurers. There is an underslung gas tank, which frees up room inside, and the roof fastens with metal clips.

Slide back the door and you’ll notice a thin strip of LEDs on the outside of the kitchen unit. This should provide fairly good lighting for any al fresco gathering.

The cab is standard Fiat, with drinks holders in the middle and a reversing camera. The seats swivel to create a front lounge with the travel seats. There’s a fold-down table, but it’s a bit of a stretch for anyone in the cab passenger seat.

There are no directional spotlights here – you probably don’t need them, with striplights either side of the lounge ceiling, and four LEDs on the bulkhead between cab and ’van. There are two USBs under the overhead lockers, but the nearest mains point is in the kitchen.

The rear lounge, in contrast, has four spotlights and a 19.5in Avtex TV/DVD player as standard (not fitted to our test model). There are two more USBs under the overhead lockers at the back.

The table has its own cupboard beside the wardrobe on the nearside, and the top of it makes a little shelf. But the table is on the small side for more than four.

The kitchen is a little cramped. You get a two-burner hob and in-line sink, but the only workspace is the extension, so you might have to juggle this with creating an eating space. There’s a very well-made cutlery drawer under the sink, but it seems a bit too large.

One positive point, however, is that the underslung tank means there are 
no gas bottle lockers getting in the way here. The half-height fridge under the wardrobe is a bit of a stretch, but viable.

The area is well lit with a striplight, and there are two sockets, although these are on the bulkhead next to the hob, so a cable would have to be trailed quite a long way. You do get a combined oven and grill here, too.

The washroom is a reasonable size and looks modern. It includes a basin that folds into a mirrored panel, hiding a set of shelves. You get a separate shower attachment, although there is only one drainage hole in the deep shower tray. There’s a towel ring and a large LED, but no roof vent in here.

The downstairs bed in the rear is easy to put together with sliding platforms, although you might have a debate about whether to turn the cushions over to make the mattress. We think you would want to, because they have quite a knee roll. But this is a Fiat Ducato with those cut-outs in the rear corners, so you will have to swap the base cushions.

The pièce de résistance is that roof bed. Anyone would want to sleep up here. 
It has sprung mattresses, three windows – two plastic and one mesh – and bendy reading lights with USB sockets.

Best of all, the bed can be sealed off, as a piece of fabric can be clipped across the opening from below. So if you want to send the kids to bed early, they can go up there and not be disturbed. But you might want to reopen the hatch and leave the ladder in place before you retire yourselves.

Two overhead lockers, a luton shelf, and a seat base that lifts to reveal a large cubbyhole offer storage up front. You can reach the space under the rear seats with more effort, although the heater takes up a bit of room. Both areas have rear access doors. The wardrobe is a reasonable size, but the aisle outside is very narrow. With four people in the ’van, you might find accessing this a bit of a chore.

See the full list of Awards to find out what other motorhomes and campervans impressed the judges of our 2020 Motorhome of the Year Awards.

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