One of the nicest things about van conversions is that they come in colours other than white. This gives prospective owners the chance to express some individuality. Metallic paint is an optional extra on all the models here. Our test Danbury was a captivating blue with very few graphics, and looked modern yet modestly understated.
The side-opening door offers good access and a rear wiper is an optional extra.
On the road
The Danbury is based on the short wheelbase, 1.9-litre, turbo-diesel Renault, which gives 100bhp as standard. It has a car-like driving position and is a stylish, modern vehicle, well equipped with a six-speed gearbox and an optional quickshift automatic on the 2500cc model. When sitting in the driver’s seat, there are lots of accessible storage pockets and bins, with a decent CD/radio player and modern, functional dashboard. Being 4.78m long, it fits in most car park bays and is capable of being driven down twisty Cornish lanes and single-track Scottish roads. Electric mirrors and windows, plus good visibility, make reversing easy in the Danbury, and the engine is likely to return over 35mpg. Four belted seats make this a safe day vehicle for a family and an occasional taxi for the grandchildren. Included in the price are disc brakes and ABS (anti-lock braking system) and a CAT 1 alarm/immobiliser.
Other standard equipment includes a cab carpet, electric windows and mirrors and light wood-effect floor.
Lounging & dining
The Danbury is definitely a weekend ’van and has a rock-and-roll bed (pulling the base of a seat causes its back to roll down flat), and a hand-crafted interior.
Due to its fixed rear seat and table, the Danbury seems to have a reasonable amount of space for four to eat in comfort, although you must finish cooking before the dining table can be erected. The rear bench seat is comfortable, but there isn’t a place on which to put your TV.
The Avtive M has a two-burner hob and grill on the offside, and a removable cold-water tank of limited capacity. A 40-litre top-loading compressor fridge is standard. It would have been nice to see a protective cover for the hob and sink, and we feel the drainer’s just too small to be practical. There’s reasonable storage close to the kitchen – we particularly like stylish open-out cupboard which hides the cutlery tray when travelling and helps create a small amount of extra worktop space when cooking.
The Danbury has a rock-and-roll bed, meaning it’s simple to make up in a single action at night. It can accommodate two six-footers lengthways, but it’s not easy to switch the lights on and off from here. There are curtains all round to keep the light out at night.
There’s no washroom in the Active M, but there is a dedicated cupbard for a Porta Pottis (included).
Unlike some high-tops, with double beds above the living area, the upper deck is geared up for storage. There are two large cupboards along the sides and one at either end, and the rear one is fitted with a light. Various cupboards in the kitchen store food, pots, pans and a Porta Potti, and there is under-bed storage, too. When travelling as a pair, one can use the area in front of the seats for storage as well.
We couldn’t fault the Danbury when it comes to its ability to carry bulky things. That’s perhaps one of the standout features of this type of motorhome – its flexibility and potential use as a general purpose, carry-all vehicle.
Waeco Compressor Fridge, 2-burner gas hob
A small but perfectly formed ‘van that’s ideal for a couple wanting short-term touring and weekends away.