Andrew McPhee

See other motorhome reviews written by Andrew McPhee

Read the Practical Motorhome WildAx Europa review – a 'van our expert testers were very keen to get inside and take a look around

Overview

A ‘Master’-piece in the making? You could say that. We were so keen to get a first look at the first conversion on the all-new Renault Master that we got there before it was fully completed.

However, that didn’t stop us seeing enough to know that WildAx is on to something good here.

This small-but-growing Yorkshire-based van converter certainly has big ambitions, not least a possible tie-up with a Hungarian manufacturer to produce a 3500kg coachbuilt with slide-out section for the UK market. This is part of its plans to expand beyond selling directly from its West Yorkshire premises where production is currently four to five vehicles each month, with capacity for more.

Until these plans come to fruition, if you like a large rear lounge but want to stick with a van conversion, take a look at this – especially if you’re of the ‘anything-but-Fiat’ persuasion when it comes to base vehicles.

Wildax boss Duncan Wildman is certainly amongst those who prefer the latest, six-gear manual Renault to drive than the Citroën Relay (his firm also builds on this equivalent to the Fiat Ducato). Our short drive was enough to leave us impressed. Engine noise, in particular, seems better damped than the Fiat/Citroën, or maybe that was down to the relatively rattle-free conversion work.

After the cab, it’s luxury all the way, right through to the U-shaped rear lounge (with commendably high backrests and all-opening windows) that doesn’t seem far short of what you’d expect in a coachbuilt.

Plenty of curves on the furniture, tambour doors on the overhead lockers, and plenty of sweeping effects help create a modern, homely feel, although some of the carpet trim is at odds with the luxury effect. Wildax has always built vehicles with wild camping in mind – there’s a certain amount of self-sufficiency from the insulated water tanks, twin leisure batteries, gas tank and LED lighting throughout. A flatscreen TV comes as standard and, together with the leather upholstery (a £1895 option), there’s an opulent feel, too.

Renault’s latest Master may look more expensive than its Italian-sourced rival, but it’s definitely worth comparing the overall specifications, engine choices and other options. For example, you’ll get a pleasant surprise if you want an automatic transmission - it’s only £1000. Indeed, the cab featured here is a little more basic than the one WildAx will use in its production Europas – they will come with niceties such as TomTom sat nav and essentials such as a passenger airbag.

Technical specs

Sleeps2
Travel seats2
MTPLM3500kg
Payload740kg
Length6.2m20′4″
Width2.07m6′9″
Height2.49m8′2″
Waste water100L
External Options
Awning light, Manual step
Kitchen Equipment
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill
Washroom
Thetford C-402 bench toilet, Shower curtain

Verdict

Not quite the finished article, but the potential is definitely there for something that’s just that bit different, from the base vehicle up. It all looks very promising for Wildax.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Finish; clever slide-out sink; kitchen; base vehicle handling

Cons

  • Underseat storage not that big; grey cab finish; TV is mounted a bit low
Share with friends

Follow us on

Explore the range

Most recent motorhome reviews

The Practical Motorhome 2018 Auto-Trail Tracker LB Lo-Line review – 1 - The Auto-Trail Tracker LB is available in Lo-Line (as pictured) or Hi-Line form (© Peter Baber/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome 2018 Elddis Accordo 105 review – 1 - The Elddis Accordo 105's Azure Blue aluminium sidewalls are new for the 2018 touring season (© Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Chausson Flash 716 review – 1 - Priced from £49,500, this new five-berth low-profile from Chausson has a licence-friendly MTPLM of 3500kg (© Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Pilote Pacific 706GJ Essentiel review – 1 - The Pilote Pacific 706GJ Essentiel has a licence-friendly MTPLM of 3500kg and is priced from £52,137 OTR (© Peter Baber/Practical Motorhome)

Swift Escape 604

£47,580OTR

The Practical Motorhome 2018 Swift Escape 604 review – 1 - The Fiat Ducato-based Swift Escape 604 has a licence-friendly MTPLM of 3500kg – it is £47,580 OTR, £49,275 as tested (© Peter Spinney/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Auto-Trail Imala 732 review – 1 - The 2018 Auto-Trail Imala 732 is a four-to-six-berth, with two-to-four travel seats, depending on options (© Peter Baber/Practical Motorhome)