Nick Harding

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Want a garage, but don't want a coachbuilt? This van conversion might just be the answer. Nick Harding investigates space in the transformed Fairford Plus.

Overview

In the latest Plus guise, the Auto-Sleeper Fairford offers loads of space at the back for luggage, and a frame to make a medium-level double bed that could be left up permanently.

This folding frame can be adapted to form inward-facing sofas, so you have an end lounge. True, there are no side windows, but you can open the back doors and there's a skylight.

Design

From the outside, the Fairford Plus certainly looks like a typical Auto-Sleeper model. As with all of the firm's van conversions, the windowed version of the Boxer provides the base, with alloys and a black awning adding to the appearance.

On the road

Peugeot's latest Boxer comes with new Euro 6.2, 2.2-litre engines. In the Fairford Plus, you get the range-topping 165bhp.

The cab, too, comes with the luxuries you'd expect, including the touchscreen infotainment system with sat nav, as well as ESP and Traction Control, plus a tyre pressure monitoring system. Unlike the prototype here, production models will get a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearlever.

Lounging & dining

Up front, it's standard Fairford seating. There are four travel berths, thanks to the slightly curious double dinette that relies on the driver's seat for back support.

The fixed pedestal-leg table has lots of height and fore-and-aft adjustment, although the top didn't feel overly sturdy.

Kitchen

Along the nearside, there's a great kitchen, where the Spinflo Triplex cooker has permanent worktop ether side, and a sink in matching black.

There's also a Thetford three-way fridge under the counter, plus a Dometic microwave under the sink.

Storage includes a double overhead locker, although the large locker to the right of the cooker would really benefit from at least one shelf, and the floor locker below the oven would be all the better as a drawer.

Sleeping

For making the rear bed, a couple of metal support bars slot in, allowing the seat frames to fold out flat. It's all at a height where there's still a significant amount of storage space below.

Washroom

A tambour door for the washroom is always a great space-saver. You can use the whole room for showering, too, as the handbasin slides across to give you optimum space. An extractor fan goes some way towards making up for the lack of a window.

Equipment

Details of note range from the LED paddle reading lights on a rail, to a good selection of mains and USB outlets throughout.

Whale heating and hot-water systems are mounted under the floor - again, saving vital interior space. As does the gas tank.

Some interesting options point to Auto-Sleepers' view of the future, with a kayak carrier on the roof and a bike rack on the rear door. You might also have spotted the nifty wind-out awning over the rear doors, part of the £595 Thule Pack, which also includes load-bearing roof rails and a foldaway ladder.

In its most basic format, the Fairford Plus starts off with an ex-works price of £58,000 (leaving aside the thorny issue of VED). You'll want to add the Premium and Winter Packs (@5000 and £295 respectively). Consider, too, the £995 Media Pack and the £1000 Climate Pack (with Truma roof-mounted air-con).

Technical specs

LayoutVan conversion, rear lounge
Sleeps4
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload424kg
Length6.36m20′10″
Width2.26m7′5″
Height2.64m8′8″
Engine (capacity)2200
Fresh/waste water69L / 40L
Leisure battery105 Ah
Gas tank size12.75kg
Number of gas tank compartments1
Kitchen Equipment
Thetford Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill, Microwave
Washroom
Thetford C-200 toilet, Shower curtain
Heating
Whale water heater

Verdict

This prototype could be improved - the furnishings don't look as 'all-action' as they might otherwise.

But that rear area is a really practical bonus - as well as a fold-out floor-level partition, clips are in place to harness your pets in transit, or on-site.

Practical Motorhome says...

The Plus Factor? More than that, Auto-Sleepers has completely transformed its standard Fairford with the three-way rear offering - seating, permanent bed, storage zone - and come up with a truly adaptable vehicle. A few tweaks would improve a very promising concept indeed.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Great kitchen
  • Large storage space at rear
  • Below floor gas tank and heating systems

Cons

  • Double dinette uses driver's seat for back support
  • No window in washroom