Auto-Trail has taken a premium approach to van conversions with its V-Line series. Nick Harding gets a cool reminder of what's key to the newest 634.

Overview

Can a refrigerator make that much difference? Well, if we're talking about van conversions with prices in excess of £50,000, it would seem that it does. 

There's a bit more to this fifth and newest member of the V-Line van conversion range from Auto-Trail, but a 142-litre fridge/freezer is an interesting starting point. 

The V-Lines represent a more premium approach, which is also reflected in the price. This starts with a natty exterior in metallic silver, with matching black trim and 16in alloy wheels. 

Design

The standard layout holds few surprises: it's that firm UK favourite, a rear lounge with two inward-facing sofas, and a central washroom and kitchen.

Fiat's extra-long Ducato provides the base here, so there's that bit more room; notably at the back, where those sofas are just about long enough for single beds, or you can pull both slatted bases together for a double.

Being able to swing open the back doors when you're parked up is what it's all about. Plus, you get a choice of two tables: circular, for occasional use, and a larger rectangular one for dining.

On the road

There's a slight surprise under the bonnet, because it's only the two-litre 115bhp engine as standard. A test drive helps you decide, but I think many will be tempted to upgrade to 2.3 litres and 130bhp - or better still, 150bhp - although price rises start at £900. It does mean you can ask for Comfort-matic robotised automatic transmission, though.

Kitchen

Just inside the sliding door on the UK nearside is the excellent kitchen. If you're considering downsizing from a coachbuilt and worried that the main compromise will be here, think again.

I'd argue three gas rings is as much as you'll need, hob-wise, while an oven/grill combination also makes sense, space-wise. There's a microwave to supplement all this, and a fair amount of worktop - permanent plus an extension section.

All this leaves a lot of space for storage, with a quartet of drawers and three low-level lockers. Across the corridor, there's that fridge/freezer - all 142 litres of it - set off the floor for easier access.

Washroom

If there's compromise, it's in the washroom - there's no shower cubicle (just a curtain to pull around) and a single plughole - although it is a deep tray. There are plenty of plus points, such as the water-saving trigger-operated shower, mirrored vanity unit and flush-fitting fold-down sink.

Storage

Elsewhere, storage is also good. As well as overhead lockers with positive catches and quality hinges, there's a double-door wardrobe of generous capacity (even allowing for the tabletop and leg stowed in here).

The nearside sofa base is clear; the offside houses the Truma Combi boiler and leisure battery box. The refillable gas tank under the vehicle (with fresh- and waste-water tanks) means no impinging on locker space.

Equipment

Options range from the Media Pack (£1149), to an additional leisure battery (£120), to towbar and electrics (£550). Then there's the Sport Pack to consider - this includes a rear fixed panel in lieu of opening doors, transforming the whole nature of the vehicle.

Popular as it is, the Ducato has reached the venerable stage and there's no facelift or 'next generation' in the pipeline. Auto-Trail has done its best here, with upgrades courtesy of the Media Pack - the Xzent infotainment system combines stereo with a 6.5in touchscreen, DAB, European sat nav and reversing camera, along with steering wheel controls.

Plus, blinds are included, as well as great upholstery. It's good to see Traction+ and hill-hold, too.

Technical specs

LayoutVan conversion, rear lounge
Sleeps2
Travel seats2
MTPLM3500kg
Payload490kg
Length6.36m20′10″
Width2.27m7′5″
Height2.68m8′10″
Engine (power)115
Fresh/waste water68L / 68L
Leisure battery75 Ah
Number of gas tank compartments1
External Options
Integral awning, Electric step
Kitchen Equipment
3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill, Microwave
Washroom
Shower curtain

Verdict

The upmarket approach to van conversions seems to be paying dividends for Auto-Trail's V-Line series. The 634 adds to the attraction, especially if a big fridge is a priority for you. Being realistic, you should budget to spend at least another £2000 on the Media Pack and engine upgrades.