Cometh the season, cometh the 'van - Benimar's all-new van conversion, in this case. Nick Harding grabs an early look at the stylish two-berth Benivan 120

Overview

Two all-new van conversions from Benimar are hitting the market for the 2019 season. They're called Benivan, to distinguish them from the company's coachbuilt offerings that have stormed the UK. 

And they're part of the Trigano family - so if you think this amounts to an all-out assault on the van conversion market, you'd be quite right. Pricing will be critical - and that just happens to be a Trigano Group trump card. 

The two-berth 120 is one of two Benivan models that you can already buy from Marquis Leisure. Officially, the first you'll see of them is at next week's NEC Show.

Design

This standard rear-lounge floorplan has rear inward-facing sofas, a favourite in the UK. Those seats are comfortable, with two-tone upholstery and a couple of scatter cushions.

Furniture is from Italian specialist Tecnoform, and the overhead lockers have a neat curve to them, with a two-tone finish, positive catches, sturdy hinges and full interior lining.

Lounging & dining

The circular table top and leg stow in the half-length wardrobe in the centre of the 'van. There's also a larger rectangular table top (it clips neatly away above the driver's seat), ideal for use in the rear lounge at mealtimes. The smaller, circular top is more suited to occasional use (between the swivelled cab seats or in the lounge). There's just one leg, so you can't use both at once.

In terms of lighting, there's a good mix of LEDs; four individually switched reading lamps, as well as ambient strip lighting over the lockers in the rear lounge, plus a quartet of downlighters over the cab/front lounge.

We counted four mains sockets: two to the kitchen, one by the TV socket in the lounge, and one handy for the top of the cupboard unit behind the driver's seat. Plus a USB.

Kitchen

The kitchen extends across the sliding door entrance. There's a two-ring gas hob and sink combination unit, with permanent worktop to its right and a flip-up extension further along.

There's no grill, but the microwave is standard. Storage is provided by twin overhead lockers, three floor lockers and two drawers.

The reason for much of this storage space is the location of the Dometic fridge (with removable freezer box).

This is across the corridor just above floor level (there's a heater outlet below), with the double-doored wardrobe directly above.

Sleeping

At night, the two sofa base sections pull together to create a slatted support for the transverse double bed, flipping all of the cushions over for the mattress.

Washroom

It's a little disappointing to find a clingy shower curtain in the washroom. There is, however, a water-saving, trigger-operated shower, swivel-bowl cassette toilet and another space-saver: a flip-down sink. There's reasonable shower tray space, and a mirror-fronted vanity unit.

Storage

Storage is good, this is a van conversion after all. Truma's Combi boiler and the second battery take up most of the rear offside sofa, but the nearside is free, and overhead lockers strike the right balance between capacity and not impinging on the space.

Equipment

It's worth noting what comes as standard - black alloy wheels on 16in rims, colour-coded front bumper and an underslung gas tank. Topping all this is the 2.3-litre 150bhp engine.

In the cab, there are some serious upgrades, too. Air conditioning is standard, along with an infotainment system that includes sat nav and rear-view monitoring.

You get a padded steering wheel with controls, smart leather trim to the gear lever, and chrome finish to the main instruments - details, but these are exactly the sort of things that say 'luxury'.

Technical specs

Sleeps2
Travel seats2
MTPLM3500kg
Payload600kg
Length5.99m19′8″
Width2.05m6′9″
Height2.68m8′10″
Fresh/waste water70L / 70L
Leisure battery100 Ah
Number of gas tank compartments1
Kitchen Equipment
2-burner gas hob, Microwave

Verdict

Things are hotting up in the van conversion sector - and Benivan is one of the brands helping to stoke the fire. By dint of keeping things simple, but with a solid, all-in, no-hidden-extras pricing strategy - and the sheer retail clout of Marquis Leisure - these Benivans very much hit the mark.

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