Peter Baber
Reviews Editor

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The latest two-berth van conversion from WildAx, on the new Mercedes Sprinter, has a sumptuous island bed in the rear. Peter Baker takes a look.

Overview

WildAx is on something of a roll. Now it has been taken over by Rapido, it has branched out, initially with the Triton, its first conversion of a Ford Transit Custom, and now with the Elara.

Not only is this a conversion of the Mercedes Sprinter, it also has an island bed in the rear. Practically unheard of!

Design

The Elara is based on an L3 version, which is 6.97m long. It also has the H2 roof height of 2.75m: you are unlikely to get this under many car park barriers.

On the road

It runs on a 163bhp 316 engine - our test model also had automatic transmission, which is a £1900 option.

An electronic parking brake is fitted as standard, so you have a clear gangway between the comfortable seats (with £995 leather upholstery on our model).

The dashboard's main element is the Sprinter's MBUX infotainment system, which included a reversing camera in our model.

Lounging & dining

Both cab seats swivel, but care is needed with the driver's seat - behind it is the resting place for a small table top, which stands on a pedestal leg that swings out from under the passenger seat.

The larger table, stored in its own kitchen cupboard is big enough for two - this is not a 'van for entertaining in.

The sofa also probably only seats two but, with a solid curved backrest, it does so very comfortably.

The Truma Combi 4E heater sits under this sofa, with two vents to keep the area warm. you get two 12V and one mains socket here, while the Truma controls are behind the sofa, with the first of two TV sockets (the second is with the fitted TV in the bedroom).

The main controls are by the door, with switches for the ambient lighting. A large roof light lets in daylight.

Kitchen

The kitchen worktop can be enlarged by a flap above the bottle rack, and the hob cover. This is next to two mains sockets, just right for a kettle and toaster. The hob has two gas burners and an induction zone. The sink has a lift-up cover and an elegant swan-neck tap.

Underneath, you get three large drawers, with a pan locker below the Thetford Duplex oven and grill.

This generous amount of space is probably thanks to the Elara's underslung 40-litre LPG tank.

What's most impressive is the 142-litre fridge to the left of the main unit. Huge for a two-berth, it's a slimline model. With that amount of space, you shouldn't have to worry that the two lockers are only medium-sized and don't include shelves.

The microwave above the fridge could be a little high for some, though.

Sleeping

So what about the bed? It is supremely comfortable, being pocket sprung, and at 1.92m, long enough for just about anyone. It is only 1.30m wide - but this is a van conversion!

WildAx has managed to include ambient lighting down the sides of the bed, and above and below the headboard, so it feels rather palatial. But if you prefer, an alternative layout with fixed single beds is available.

Washroom

The offside washroom has a tambour door, so you do have a step to cross to get in. There is no shower cubicle, but you get a shower head, and two drains in the tray.

Storage

There are two wardrobes in the bedroom, both with small rails running outwards, either side of the head of the bed, and a third, slightly larger, at the foot.

So with the eight overhead lockers in the bedroom, and four handy cubbyholes either side of the bed there is a generous range of storage for clothes and kit.

Best of all, even with the fixed beds there is still space for larger items. Lift the bed, and beyond the water tank and battery boxes, there is space by the barn doors, just where you need it.

Technical specs

LayoutRear island bed
Sleeps2
Travel seats2
MTPLM3500kg
Payload330kg
Length6.97m22′10″
Width2.34m7′8″
Height2.75m9′
Engine (capacity)3000
Fresh/waste water120L / 80L
Leisure battery100 Ah
Secondary leisure battery100 Ah
Number of gas tank compartments1
Kitchen Equipment
Thetford Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill, Microwave
Heating
Truma Combi heater

Verdict

Taking up almost half the length with the bedroom might seem extravagant, but if it is just the two of you, you don't need a big lounge, so why not? You get a well-equipped kitchen, too.

The price could put people off, but if you consider the Sprinter's reputation for reliability, you might be tempted by the Elara.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Supremely comfortable bed
  • Easily accessible storage beneath the rear island bed

Cons

  • Microwave positioned too high for some

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