Nick HardingSee other motorhome reviews written by Nick Harding
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.
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.
On the road
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
The fixed pedestal-leg table has lots of height and fore-and-aft adjustment, although the top didn't feel overly sturdy.
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.
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).
|Layout||Van conversion, rear lounge|
|Fresh/waste water||69L / 40L|
|Leisure battery||105 Ah|
|Gas tank size||12.75kg|
|Number of gas tank compartments||1|
Thetford Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill, Microwave
Thetford C-200 toilet, Shower curtain
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.
- Great kitchen
- Large storage space at rear
- Below floor gas tank and heating systems
- Double dinette uses driver's seat for back support
- No window in washroom