Practical Motorhome reviews the Shire Phoenix 2XL Studio Twin, a smart van conversion with very flexible accommodation and an end washroom

Overview

There must be something in the water. How else can we explain the cluster of motorhome and van converters between Huddersfield and Leeds? 

Whatever the reason, customers looking for UK-produced conversions have a lot of choice, and it’s all high-quality.

Among those in the top rank is Shire Conversions of Knottingley, West Yorkshire. The firm has been going for seven years, with Daryl Healey at the helm. He’d started up on his own after gaining valuable experience in the industry.

Shire specialises in conversions that, while off the peg, offer a high degree of customisation. Buyers 
can go bespoke as much as possible – Daryl is known for his accommodating attitude.

One advantage of buying from Shire is that you can supply your own base vehicle, rather than opting for a brand new one, and Shire will do the conversion work to your requirements.

Early this year, we tested the Shire Phoenix 2XL Studio, a two-berth high-top based on the XL LWB Fiat Ducato. It rides on the 6.36m-long Fiat Ducato base vehicle.

Shire’s interior is easy on the eye, with mid-toned cabinetwork, cream locker facings and doors, and oatmeal upholstery. There’s no need to search in different places for the living area controls. In the Phoenix, they’re located in the same place, above the lounge sofa rear door access.

Design

The Phoenix 2XL Studio Twin features 
a double bed on the offside, opposite an unobstructed floorspace behind the van's original sliding door, making it an ideal 
’van for motorcaravanners 
with wheelchairs.

The main selling point of this campervan is that the new Studio Twin variant caters for couples who don’t want to share 
a double bed, or for those who don’t tour as a couple, but go away as friends, or a parent and child. A 1.87m (6ft 2in) long single bed is available on both sides of the vehicle: the one on the offside is based on the lounge sofa, so is always ready to use. The bed on the nearside is converted from the single seat at the end of the kitchen storage unit, via 
a sliding-slats base, and rests on rearranged cushions. It measures 1.87 x 0.66m (6ft 2in x 2ft 2in).

Heating comes courtesy of 
a Truma Combi unit, and lighting is LED throughout.

Kitchen

Elsewhere, the kitchen is split across the width of the ’van (productivity on one side and storage on the other). The sink and hob both have folding lids you can lower to create decent workspace. The sink has a built-in wire drainer. The nearside is where you'll find the microwave, fridge and 
– best of all – a bottle cooler.

Washroom

The end washroom is accessible from outside via the rear doors.

Technical specs

Sleeps2
Travel seats2
MTPLM3500kg
Payload550kg
Length6.36m20′10″
Width2.26m7′5″
Height2.6m8′6″
Waste water60L
External Options
Aluminium sidewalls
Kitchen Equipment
Microwave
Heating
Truma Gas/Electric heater, Truma Electric/Gas water heater

Verdict

By offering the popular twin single beds layout in the Phoenix Studio 2XL, Shire has widened the appeal of an already impressive motorcaravan. The end washroom is accessible from outside the vehicle and the 'van is wheelchair-friendly.

Conclusion

Pros

  • This 'van's USP is its flexible sleeping arrangement
  • At 6.36m long, it's also easy to drive, manoeuvre and park

Cons

  • The washroom is compact
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