Rob Ganley
Group editor

See other motorhome reviews written by Rob Ganley

Get the full story on the compact, low-profile Auto-Sleeper Broadway EL in the Practical Motorhome review

Design

The gold-coloured horizontal stripes are a bold graphic departure from the outgoing Sigma, and do a good job of modernising the ’van’s external appearance.
There’s a skirt locker on the offside, a neatly recessed awning on the nearside, and a gas locker that unusually stores three 6kg propane cylinders. Even the rear panel is good looking, thanks to high level brake lights and attractive light clusters in its bumper.
Rear corner steadies support the 1.88m overhang on site, and cab and habitation doors are locked remotely with the push of a key fob, which also activates the awning light.
There’s also a clever little valve in the nearside skirt so you can monitor the spare tyre’s pressure.

On the road

Our test ’van came with the 130bhp version of the 2.2-litre HDi engine, which hikes the price up by nearly £800, but it’s a welcome bit of muscle that makes this compact coachbuilt better able to tackle all the trials the open road will throw at it.
Other than a few ’cheeps’ and ’chirrups’, the habitation quarters were broadly well-behaved. All the lounge cushions attach to the walls securely with press studs.
Having the radio controls on the steering wheel, for finger-tip channel changes on long hauls. Cruise control would have been a welcome addition, but this (£164.50) and passenger airbag (£212) are optional extras. Cab aircon would have added a further £823 to the window price.

Lounging & dining

Amarti wood furniture throughout is darker and classier than that in the outgoing Sigma on which it's based, and the chrome detailing on the overhead lockers look smart.
The wrap-around rear lounge is comfortable thanks to arm rests and scatter cushions, and is well illuminated by three generously-sized windows, a Heki rooflight, and an abundance of directional and fixed lighting. There is LED lighting hidden above the overhead lockers, too. A pair of ceiling-mounted speakers do the ‘surround-sound’ job.
Best of all, though, are the drop down storage units (from the underside of the overhead lockers). Reach beneath and behind the lockers to release a catch, which lowers the spring-loaded shelf on runners: a simple but effective mechanism. There’s one each for a flatscreen TV, a drinks cabinet that houses four crystal wine glasses and two wine bottle slots, and a bookshelf.
A freestanding table has its own storage space in the wardrobe, which five diners can eat from in the rear lounge. There’s a second, smaller table, too, which mounts onto a single leg and fits behind the two swivelling cab seats. This is probably better used as an occasional table for one, and makes for a good coffee cup resting place, or somewhere to spread a newspaper.

Kitchen

Another strong selling point is the kitchen, which has everything a chef might need for cooking a feast, including three gas burners and a mains hotplate, plus full oven and grill.
The sink and drainer have a glass lid, and there’s a neat kitchen roll holder, and waste bin in the door. You can expand food preparation space thanks to the slide-out surface over the fridge, or the smaller hinged flap that extends across the entry doorway.
An optional microwave oven (£75) slots in overhead, and there’s the full complement of Auto-Sleeper crockery in its trademark moulded tray.

Sleeping

Concertina blinds and curtains do the job of making the interior feel cosy at bed time. The sofas aren’t long enough to do the job as single beds, so a transverse double is the only option here.
The slatted bases slide together, and the two backrests help to fill out the sleeping surface, making a 1.67 x 2.1m double bed.

Washroom

The swingwall washroom is a clever arrangement: simply swing the wall with the washbasin unit to the left, and complete the enclosed shower by joining the plastic partition to meet it. The cubicle it creates is plenty big enough for a vigorous scrub, and it has twin plug holes for better draining on uneven pitches.
The chrome detailing in the washroom, including toilet roll holder, towel ring and coat hooks is impressive. There’s a neat, pull-out washing line that allows wet clothes to drip dry. Two ceiling lights, a roof vent and a decent mirror completes the set, although the toiletries locker might be a squeeze on an extended tour for a couple.

Storage

One of the Broadway’s shortcomings is the lack of externally accessed storage space. The single locker is big enough only for smaller camping items and won’t swallow chairs or tables.
Bedding can stash underneath the offside seat via a locker front to the seat box, or in the massive overcab locker, and there's a slide-out drawer under the rear seat bench.

Technical specs

Sleeps2
Travel seats2
MTPLM3500kg
Payload500kg
Length6.28m20′7″
Width2.32m7′7″
Height2.83m9′3″
Waste water78L

Verdict

A classy little compact, low-profile, that's well equipped and well made. Ultimately though, it’s an evolution of the Sigma and is unlikely to turn the head of anyone not already swayed by the former model. That said, we were always fans of the Sigma, so why throw out the baby with the bath water?

Conclusion

Pros

  • Dark interior furniture veneers and chrome detailing ensure the Broadway oozes class

Cons

  • It’s short on storage, particularly externally accessed lockers.
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