Rob Ganley
Group editor

See other motorhome reviews written by Rob Ganley

Read the Practical Motorhome Autocruise Jazz review to find out if this 'van hits all the right notes

Design

The attractive silver metallic paintwork, with colour-coded front bumper and grille, comes as standard. The water tanks are underslung and at 66- and 40-litres for fresh and waste respectively, they’re a good size for a camper; the fresh tank is wrapped for better insulation, too. The windows in the living quarters are double-glazed plastic, and come with cassette blinds and flyscreens. A nearside sliding door has an electric entry step, plus an overhead LED strip light. The swoosh-type sidewall graphics neatly complement the black rear bumper and sidewalls. With gas bottles, leisure battery and toilet area all accessed through the opening rear doors, the nearside is free of any flaps, lockers or other utility-access doors. On the driver side, the electric hook-up inlet flap and the fresh water inlet cap are both colour-coded.

Improvements to the van-conversion range for the 2010 season include re-shaped overhead lockers and LED lighting throughout. A waste bin is now fitted as standard, and there are two mains sockets in the kitchen and an insulated fresh water tank.

On the road

We mentioned that Autocruise van conversions are available on either the Peugeot Boxer or Fiat Ducato base; we’re told Autocruise would have liked to continue building its campers solely on the Boxer, but there have been supply problems in the last couple of years.

The model tested here is on the MWB Ducato, is powered by the 2.2-litre 100 MultiJet engine as standard and is allied to a five-speed manual transmission. This represents more than enough guts for a ’van of these proportions.

On the road, the MWB doesn’t quite have the same stability in corners and crosswinds as a LWB version simply because of its smaller footprint, but it has a gutsy engine and a good gearbox, with sensible ratios. There’s limited through-vision from the driver’s seat, via the small window above the kitchen unit. Cab and living quarters are lockable from a single, remote key fob.

It’s the passengers in the Jazz who get spoiled, though. Up front, a passenger air bag is now fitted as standard. Further back, Autocruise has opted for a two seater, crash-tested RIB seat, which is light years ahead of the usual deep seat squabs and upright backrests. The seat back rotates through 90 degrees to double as the bed base, and in transit is gently reclined for comfort.

Lounging & dining

The interior walls are upholstered with an oatmeal fabric that neatly complements the seating upholstery, and drop-in press-stud carpets give this ’van the kind of homely feel you might expect from a coachbuilt ’van.

As in its sister ’van, the Pace, the lounge floor in the Jazz is raised, ensuring the passenger seats are level with the cab seats, which is a major boon at mealtimes and when entertaining guests. It means that with both cab seats swivelled, the occupants won’t find their legs dangling.

One of the unusual, but rather classy, styling quirks across the Autocruise’s van conversion range – introduced prior to the buyout by Swift Holdings and thankfully continued – is the wood-look window ‘ledge’ to the lounge windows.

Two circular ceiling lights, a rooflight over the lounge, a directional spotlight over the half-dinette and spots over the cab seats make this a well-illuminated ’van, day or night.

Two ceiling speakers pipe music into the living quarters from the cab CD/radio player. A slide-out TV cupboard has its own space above the RIB seats, and has an extending mounting bracket for a 15in flatscreen TV that is good for viewing from both cab seats.

The dining table stows in the overcab locker while you’re in transit, and clips onto a wall-mounted rail when in use. With both cab seats swivelled it’s a perfectly serviceable half-dinette.

The electric control panel, which is positioned over the sliding door, is also very simple and intuitive to use.

Kitchen

At the rear, the kitchen and washroom are surprisingly spacious. On the driver’s side, the food-preparation surface tapers to a radiused point by the sliding entry door, making the most of the galley. A tambour door to the shelved area underneath this work surface means it doesn’t impinge on access to and from the kitchen.

A three-burner hob, separate oven and grill, and Waeco 72-litre fridge/freezer are set up in an L-shape, all beneath a sink with lid and drainer. A rather meagre striplight illuminates the latter, and there’s no dedicated extractor fan. Kitchen storage is ample, and includes a chrome-finish crockery rack.

Sleeping

Pleated windscreen and insulated side-screen blinds do the job of cabin privacy at night. The RIB seat squab rotates through 180 degrees, and the seat back through 90 degrees to create a flat and comfortable, if rather narrow, double bed. The wardrobe is sited above the foot end of the bed, which is fine, although a rather pointless infill cushion slots into place at the head of the bed to extend the sleeping area to 2m (6’5”). The trouble is that it rests on the cab seat pedestals, and without being hardbacked gives way at the slightest pressure.

Washroom

Tambour doors to washrooms in compact ’vans are a good idea: they avoid the problem of an inward- or outward-opening washroom door, and deflect water so there are no worries about keeping them dry at shower time. The fold-down basin is fine as a space saver, if not the most practical for ablutions, and a separate shower head with its own mixer tap and slider bracket is sited in the corner of the room.

With the standard mirrored vanity cupboard, it’s a minimal and basic washroom, but offers enough leg room for comfort while seated at the swivel bowl Thetford. As such, it’s a serviceable and usable solution in a compact space.

Storage

Compact dimensions demand clever use of storage space. The Jazz goes some way to meeting this requirement: the wardrobe is sufficient for the clothing of two, there’s reasonable storage space beneath the RIB seat squab, the overhead lockers are deep and have push-button positive catches, and there’s a lidded storage rack by the lounge seat. There’s also storage space for valuables built into the floor underneath the half-dinette, which hides under the drop-in carpet, although it’s not lockable.

Technical specs

Sleeps2
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload450kg
Length5.41m17′9″
Width2.25m7′5″
Height2.55m8′4″
Waste water66L

Verdict

The Autocruise Jazz is a sound, well-designed and thoughtfully assembled van conversion. It’s easy to drive thanks to its compact, MWB proportions, and it’s easy to drive and to live-in and use, both day and night.

Conclusion

Pros

  • The Jazz is a sound, well-designed van conversion
  • It's easy to drive and to live in.

Cons

  • Interior lighting is a little pallid and the make-up bed could be a little bigger.
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