Built on Fiat’s motorhome-specific Ducato chassis, the Advantage has a payload of 370kg – not a lot, but it should be ample since it’s designed as a dedicated two-berth. It's a traditional low-profile with a pragmatically designed exterior, enhanced by the (optional) blue graphics and silver-blue sidewalls (£699). We liked the fact that the roof includes a footplate for use when loading gear onto the roof rack. The habitation door is disappointing, though, as it has no window.
Even though there is a curtain to cordon off the sleeping area, the washroom is in the middle, opposite the kitchen, so you don’t get an en-suite ‘bedroom’. Otherwise, the Advantage’s interior is hard to beat. Everything from the locker door hinges to the worksurfaces feels sturdy, and the overall design is clean and classy.
On the road
The 130bhp Fiat MultiJet does the job, but the 157bhp version with its 295 lb/ft of torque, available as a cost option, would surely do it better. Still, the Advantage has a sporty, modern feel, particularly so if you choose the optional SKA sports seats (£973).
The cab is air-conditioned and it's a four-wheel-drive vehicle with six gears, cruise control and driver airbag. The windows and mirrors are electric.
Lounging & dining
The lounge has a half dinette with two forward-facing, belted travel seats. The sturdy dining table extends so that, with the cab seats swivelled, the lounge can accommodate four. And, despite the windowless habitation door, the lounge area enjoys a good level of natural light thanks to a big skylight and a panoramic window beside the half dinette.
The kitchen is well-equipped and, unlike some others in its class, has an extractor fan. There's also a three-burner hob and a 100-litre fridge/freezer, and Dethleffs managed to accommodate a big sink without having to skimp too much on workspace thanks to a very clever design: three hinged, glass plates with finger holes cover various parts of the sink and hob; when raised together, they reveal the entire sink and cooker, but you can also flip them up individually, thus preserving the amount of workspace elsewhere. There are also angled kitchen cabinets to preserve headroom.
Despite having a middle washroom and a smaller overall footprint than some similar ’vans, the Advantage has a surprisingly good sleeping area. Rather than providing two completely separate beds, it has a U-shaped arrangement with a corridor and steps in the middle. The area of mattress between the two beds is handy for books and knick-knacks, and there are three big shelves just above it. The beds can easily be converted into one big double by the use of extendable struts and infill cushions to span the gap between them.
Another clever touch is the TV mounting, which extends and swivels so that the screen is visible from both beds, or from the lounge. There is a single bed in the lounge but it's not perfectly level and so is only good for occasional use, or as a last resort.
It's a fairly small washroom with a swing-wall shower. While these are often fiddly to use, Dethleffs has designed this one so it can be more easily operated, although the limited space means the swing-wall has a cut-out for the toilet bowl. No matter how hard you try, you’re still likely to get the toilet wet when you shower. Storage space is at a premium, but the designers have managed to include an adequate cupboard for toiletries.
The Advantage’s big garage is a winner, with movable mounting points and enough room for one or two bicycles. You’ll have to fork out an extra £250 for two doors, though. Exterior lockers are available but can only really be used to store chocks and cables.
Thetford Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill, Extractor fan
Thetford C-250 toilet, Separate shower cubicle
A cleverly designed, solidly built ’van that would be ideal for a couple touring alone.