Andrew McPheeSee 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
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.
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill
Thetford C-402 bench toilet, Shower curtain
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.
- Finish; clever slide-out sink; kitchen; base vehicle handling
- Underseat storage not that big; grey cab finish; TV is mounted a bit low