Niall HamptonSee other motorhome reviews written by Niall Hampton
This viable alternative to VW-based campers now appears on the latest Renault Trafic base – read Practical Motorhome's Hillside Leisure Ellastone review
Hillside Leisure is a going-places motorhome converter based near Derby. Brothers Mark and Adrian Cross helm a company renowned for high-quality conversions of smaller base vehicles, including the VW T5 and Renault Trafic.
The firm created a buzz at last autumn's NEC show by unveiling a two-berth microcamper based on the Nissan e-NV200, just a few months after its first conversion on the diesel-powered Nissan NV200. The Dalbury E was the world’s first electrically powered motorhome to go into production – a fine achievement for Hillside and for the UK motorhome industry.
Hillside’s T5 conversions go head-to-head with the likes of Bilbo’s – and Wellhouse Leisure, whose Hyundai i800 and Ford Transit Custom base vehicles offer viable alternatives to the hard-to-avoid VW. Hillside’s Ellastone does the same on the Renault Trafic. Buyers get a camper that’s a similar size but for a lower outlay.
The Trafic’s grille and automotive headlight clusters make the front end look like it’s smiling at you. Fuel economy should help you maintain a happy outlook, too. Official figures claim 43.5mpg, courtesy of a 1.6-litre unit producing 90bhp. Small enough for the school or supermarket run, the Ellastone is therefore a genuine daily drive.
So if you’re not badge-centric, are shopping on a budget but insist on quality, then Ellastone could be one Derbyshire village to visit.
Hillside retains the structural integrity of the base vehicle, except to cut into the top to fit the elevating roof. The version with a nearside sliding door is sourced specifically for the UK market; subtle ‘Hillside’ logos are placed around the vehicle, on the side and rear panels, and on the front wings. Our test ’van was finished in Glacier White, but nine other colours are available, and Hillside will offer all of them.
Lounging & dining
Two other cupboards are available, to the right of the fridge, and cutlery storage is concealed under a flush-fitting flap on the right-hand side of the kitchen worktop. To its left is a rectangular sink with a mixer tap, adjacent to two gas burners, all with opaque hinged lids to provide extra space for food preparation.
A further two berths, measuring 2m x 1.23m (6ft 6in x 3ft 11in), are available in the elevating roof; these have Froli springs for maximum comfort.
|Leisure battery||85 Ah|
|Gas tank size||7kg|
|Number of gas tank compartments||1|
Riding on an affordable alternative base vehicle to the VW T5, the Ellastone packs a lot in for a modest price. It’s a fun daily drive and well equipped for the touring lifestyle.
- You get a lot for a modest outlay
- It's full of clever storage solutions