Andrew McPhee

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Find out more about this luxurious compact 'van in the Practical Motorhome Hobby Van review

Design

The Van's GRP front section merges neatly into aluminium sandwich construction sidewalls with tough GRP skirts, and levels of insulation are impressively thick across the walls, roof and floor. A sunroof in the low-profile front means it feels more airy than some of its rivals, and the bodywork and overall finish are superb. An electric door step comes as standard.

Headroom is good and the main corridor is not too cramped, although the fridge and washroom doors are prone to clashing. There is an annoying step from the lounge to cab which is easy to trip over.

On the road

The Hobby sits on a Ford Transit chassis and has a beefy 2.2-litre engine. The Transit betters the popular Fiat Ducato with little things that at first go unnoticed, such as having more drinks holders (four, plus two large bottle holders) and a sturdy step built into the grille – handy for cleaning the front and for scrubbing bugs off the large windscreen.

Transits only have armrests on the inside of the swivel seats because there are others built onto the cab doors – however, these are not height-adjustable.

Lounging & dining

The half-dinette has a swing-out section under the dining table which increases the table surface quickly and easily.

Compact vans do not excel when it comes to lounging as it's hard to find a decent way of stowing the dining table. But you do get a fully swivelling TV bracket for watching from all over the ’van, and there is a 240V plug socket in the base of the bench seat.

Spotlights on rails allow you to slide them into the perfect position, and the Van also has an extra flip-up coffee table on the end of the dinette bench seat.

Kitchen

The kitchen has three burners, an ample steel sink and one 240V socket. There is a good amount workspace in front of the hob, but no extractor fan – which is a shame as you will be cooking in a confined space here. In general, though, this is a first-rate compact kitchen. As well as twin glass lids on the hob and sink it has an oven/grill beneath the cutlery drawer. It also has a bin which is shaped into the corner between washroom and dinette, with an elasticated top to hold a bag in place. The illuminated cupboard that houses six Hobby-branded glasses is a nice touch, too.

Sleeping

At the rear, the transverse double bed has a slatted base and a chunky foam mattress. Headroom above the bed is not especially good, but the payoff is that the garage below has more height than most.

There are seven lockers over the bed, but this feels like overkill at the head end because it’s easy to bash your head on them. Also, the ladder up to the bed does not feel very stable.

The Van has a third berth, designed for children, which could just about accommodate an adult. This is a transverse bed which uses the offside single seat. It's fairly simple to make up, with the extra width supported by the dinette seat’s coffee table extension. It feels a little delicate though, and so would be better suited to children than adults.

Washroom

The Thetford cassette toilet is squeezed into the washroom, which saves space – and this is vital because the circular shower takes up most of the room. It has a solid base and two plug holes, allowing good drainage but not much elbow room behind its tambour door. However, the four mirrors increase the sense of airiness and there is extensive storage space above and below the sink.

Storage

Despite its generous height, the Hobby Van's garage is only plated to carry 120kg. It does have more fixing points than many compact ’vans, with four floor-level eyelets and an extra two up top.

The wardrobe is under the transverse bed so you have to crouch, but the illuminated hanging rail is stylish.

Technical specs

Sleeps3
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload790kg
Length6.05m19′10″
Width2.14m7′
Height2.71m8′11″
Waste water92L
External Options
Aluminium sidewalls, Awning light, Electric step
Kitchen Equipment
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill
Washroom
Thetford C-250 toilet
Heating
Truma Gas/Electric heater, Truma Electric/Gas water heater

Verdict

Aside from some gripes about the double bed, this is a luxurious compact ’van with an excellent kitchen.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Homely interior; highly equipped kitchen with large amount of worksurface.

Cons

  • Lack of headroom in transverse double bed.
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