Bilbo’s has long been renowned for producing good quality, good value campers on the VW Transporter base, but it seriously widened its remit last year with the introduction of a new SE (Special Entry) line-up. These models – available on the Komba, Nexa and Celex ’vans – are intended to be a no-frills budget alternative; they’re based on the facelifted T5 window van, rather than the campervan conversion vehicle. This means no colour-coded bumpers, electric windows, air-con or swivelling cab seats. These are, however, available
as options; all these (plus more) were fitted to our test vehicle, at an additional cost of £3900.
On the road
The Komba is based on the short wheelbase T5, giving it a length of just 4.9m (16’1”); this means it’s perfectly sized for doubling as an everyday vehicle. It might be a budget ’van, but the new, facelifted T5 on which it is built is very well specified with hill-hold control, ABS and multiple other safety features. These are standard fit on both the Komba and Komba SE. It drives beautifully, too.
Lounging & dining
The layout is typical of VW campers, with a comfortable, forward-facing rock-and-roll bench seat at the back, and swivel cab seats up front, although the driver's site is somewhat restricted by the kitchen unit. The rear seat bench is fixed - ie, it's not designed to slide on floor runners. The table design is flexible, in that it can be mounted in two locations, either clipped to the kitchenette nearest the seat bench, or clipped to the kitchenette above the fridge for access from the swivel cab seats. As such, it's not really designed for four to eat from the table at the same time. When not in use, it stashes behind the driver's seat.
This might be a small ’van, but its cleverly designed interior makes maximum use of the space available. Particularly innovative is the single gas hob ring, which, when not in use, is covered with a small stainless-steel draining board. The dining table can also be mounted at two points (behind the cab seats
or in front of the sofa) to allow flexibility in food preparation or dining. There’s also a standard fit, 50-litre compressor fridge.
The rear seat bench flips to create a spacious double bed. It's the work of seconds, although you'll have to first remove one of the passenger headrests. Also, our ’van was fitted with an optional roof bed (£495); it’s not huge, but does have a 30-stone limit. The roof – which is supported on gas struts – is easy to pull down weight-wise, but the addition of the roof bed makes it slightly awkward to get hold of.
There’s no washroom, but an optional Porta-Potti fits neatly beneath the sofa. It's discretely done, and safe and secure in transit thank to the positive locking door. On a SWB Volkswagen T5 base, Bilbo's concludes there simply isn't space to do a washroom justice.
Storage space throughout is excellent. For example, a sliding door gives access to the rear of the 'van from the front: ideal if you need to retrieve something from the back on a rainy night and avoid exiting the vehicle. There's also a shelved cupboard, which should easily hold the clothes of a couple on tour. Importantly, all the storage units feel solid and sturdy.
Waeco Compressor Fridge
Classy little camper from this long established official VW converter. It's perfect for a couple on tour for anything up to a week. You'll need to add options to get the kit level up, but watch out because these do inflate the price substantially.