Gentleman Jack

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Packing a good kitchen and a washroom into a 5m-long panel-van conversion is no mean feat – find out more in the Practical Motorhome WildAx Pulsar review

Overview

Over the past decade WildAx Motorhomes has been offering an ever-widening choice of panel-van conversions (PVC) on base vehicles as different as the diminutive DFSK Loadhopper and the long-wheelbase Renault Master. The company has built a well-focused mobility conversion, and won awards for its design.

WildAx’s genial proprietor, Duncan Wildman, piqued our curiosity by saying that he is developing a model for a different sector of the market. He has in fact succeeded in filling a void by offering experienced motorcaravanners a PVC that is different from the ‘copy-cat’ ’vans from the volume converters.

Practical Motorhome is the first magazine to review the Pulsar. We tested the prototype, but it felt properly thought-through. Young families don’t want to run a motorhome merely as a leisure vehicle and don’t have enough time to use one for extended periods away. They want a motorhome that is great to use as a car for the commute to work, or on the school and supermarket runs.

Recent converts to motorcaravanning – especially those with young children – want to be as ‘green’ as possible, so leisure vehicles must be frugal with fuel – something that a tall coachbuilt will find difficult to achieve. And as anyone who has motorcaravanned with young children will be aware, an on-board toilet and washroom provide a far more relaxed stay on basic rural sites and rally fields.

These two features have been difficult to find in a single vehicle. Not now: WildAx has squeezed a complete washroom into the Pulsar’s compact 5m x 2.05m footprint. Those dimensions make it just the ticket for urban jousting and, while there is room to stand up inside, the roof is lowered before you hit the road, which improves fuel efficiency. We didn’t conduct an extended economy test, but most drivers may achieve around 40mpg on a long run.

In addition, a significant number of experienced motorcaravanners are close to 70 and many of them do not wish to undergo a medical and so are limited to driving vehicles with MTPLMs of 3500kg or less. This may encourage them to consider downsizing and, if they do, we reckon the Pulsar should feature on their shortlists.

Remove the Citroën chevrons from the steering wheel and it becomes difficult to tell which flavour of Sevel van this is. For WildAx, the default choice is Citroën. The converter bypasses the entry-level motor and specifies the 2.2-litre HDI 130bhp Euro 5b unit, mated to a six-speed manual gearbox as standard. WildAx orders customers’ base vehicles individually, enabling purchasers to choose whichever Citroën colour or spec takes their fancy. The base OTR price includes an upgraded DAB radio/CD player, passenger airbag, cab air conditioner, twin-leaf rear suspension, two side sliding doors, sat-nav and a tracking system.

For the optional automatic transmission, the Pulsar must be built on the Fiat Ducato derivative, but at a price penalty. WildAx gets a cracking deal on Citroëns and passes on the savings. Performance and handling are superb.

The GRP elevating-roof permits far more than just standing height; it makes the interior feel much more airy and provides natural light at eye level. It looks beautifully made and includes a panoramic skylight over the lounge, as well as a standard-sized one above the kitchen.

This Pulsar features a transverse double bed that doesn’t use the cab seats, so these are available even with the bed deployed. One partner can stay up later or be an early riser without disturbing the other.

In the pipeline is a single-beds version – which will have to use the cab seats – and a high-top variant. It remains to be seen whether WildAx commissions its own high-top to fit a Relay (none is available on the short-wheelbase Citroën), or opts for the special-order Ducato SWB high-top version.

Technical specs

Sleeps2
Travel seats4
MTPLM3300kg
Payload350kg
Length5m16′5″
Width2.05m6′9″
Height2.43m7′12″
Engine (power)130
Fresh/waste water80L / 80L
Leisure battery100 Ah

Verdict

We've reached the end of our WildAx Pulsar review and think this is a super, four-star 'van. It is a clever blend of campervan and motorhome, ideal for those upsizing from a VW or downsizing from a large coachbuilt. It’s well-equipped, economical-to-run, and useful as an MPV for daily driving.

Conclusion

Pros

  • You get a washroom in a compact camper
  • An electric slide-out step features
  • A roof double bed is an option
  • The kitchen is an impressive size

Cons

  • Taller drivers might find the swivelling driver's seat is too high
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