Nick Harding

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The campervan specialist is taking a rather canny sideways step to enter a new market sector with this cleverly designed van conversion.

Overview

'Made in France' usually suggests a gastronomic delight. Here, it signals something with roots across the Channel, but with the kind of input that makes it more suited to UK customers.

In 2017, Bristol-based campervan maker Danbury was bought by French firm Pilote Group, allowing both parties to evolve in the van conversion sector.

Hence the Avenir. With roots in Pilote's Foxy line, Avenirs are made at its plant in Angers. But it's Danbury that represents 'all things van', selling from its base near Bristol and via five dealers across the UK.

Design

The 63TW is the current flagship (a new model is due for the 2020 season). That's a competitive £49,000 start for what is a premium van conversion, but there's a bit of 'Pack-ing' to be done.

As a demonstrator, this 'van shows off Danbury's Comfort, Exterior Style, Interior Style, Relax, Media and TV Sat option packs and sure enough, each makes a big contribution. You'll need to decide what's best for you - I'd have the lot, but then it's not my money!

The conversion provides two fixed single beds, a lounge with swivelling cab seats, a half-dinette double travel seat and a midships kitchen and washroom. The floorplan means easy access from bed to kitchen, washroom and lounge, and you can have swivelled cab seats and the half-dinette around a side-fixing table.

You'll pick up on the modern interior styling, too, with lots of gloss white finishes.

On the road

There are lots of other upgrades on this example, from the refined 150bhp engine to metallic paint. What you also get is Fiat's 6.36m-long Ducato.

Kitchen

The kitchen has a slide-out, so the chef gets a sizeable worktop by the combined sink and two-burner hob.

Access via the sliding door can be a little tricky, but under that worktop, you can access storage space from inside the 'van or out.

There's more storage in the main kitchen, thanks to a large drawer (with removable waste bin) and three smaller drawers - all soft-closing.

The shelves here will be useful, and to their right is a Dometic three-way absorption fridge with freezer (capacity is 80 litres), set over a Thetford Duplex oven/grill combination.

Sleeping

There's a step up to the rear beds. Initially, these are singles using Bultex mattresses, although there's an option for a double.

What looks like the facility to change the angle of the cushions for sitting up in bed is actually a way of offering extra storage.

The bedroom is served by two adjustable reading lamps, four downlighters and two side windows.

Washroom

Opposite the fridge/oven area, the washroom has sliding-door access and a Thetford bench toilet which retracts to optimise space for showering.

Adjacent, another space-saver: the mirrored section on the sidewall is a folding soakaway. Elsewhere in the washroom you get lined walls, two rails, upper-level locker and open shelving, rooflight and duckboard, with one (albeit upmarket) plughole in the shower tray.

Storage

Interior storage in the bed area includes two mini-wardrobes - one in the offside bed base, one over the nearside bed - a run of drawers in the nearside bed, and high-level lockers on three sides.

Equipment

Among plenty of other details of note are the Remis sunroof over the lounge, raised lounge floor with storage hatch, cab seat upholstery (only covers), overcab storage with door, soft-touch ceiling, curtain for bedroom privacy, and the facility to use the table outdoors. Also, it's unusual to have a gas locker so large.

Technical specs

LayoutRear single beds
Sleeps2
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload640kg
Length6.36m20′10″
Width2.05m6′9″
Height2.69m8′10″
Engine (capacity)2000
Fresh/waste water110L / 80L
Leisure battery105 Ah
Kitchen Equipment
Dometic Fridge, 2-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill
Washroom
Thetford C-402 bench toilet

Verdict

You're going to have to offer something special if you're to make a mark in the highly populated van conversion sector these days. Danbury has done it, though, with this Avenir. It's well worth viewing if you're in the market for an extra-long model with fixed single beds.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Competitive price
  • Retractable bench toilet to optimise shower space
  • Underbed storage

Cons

  • Entry access with kitchen worktop slide-out in place
  • White gloss finish may be difficult to keep looking pristine