Gentleman Jack

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Read our Wellhouse Evie campervan review to discover Gentleman Jack's verdict on a two-berth campervan that drives like a car – because it's based on one

Overview

"Just remember that Evie is a camper-car, not a campervan,” Welhouse Leisure’s genial proprietor David Elliot said as he handed me the keys to this Lilliputian conversion.

No worries there. In fact, I’m always being asked to recommend ultra-compact motorhomes by recently bereaved members of the Motor Caravanners’ Club. These enthusiasts are looking to downsize to a small dual-purpose vehicle that drives like a car, because that’s how it is going to be used most of the time. However, it is essential that it has a proper residential conversion for spending weekends away, and, if possible, an onboard toilet into the bargain.

In addition there is a similar demand at the other end of the age spectrum, among folk who need accommodation when they pursue their hobbies – everything from birdwatching to attending heavy-metal music festivals. This crowd also needs a proper car for the daily commute that will fit in their employer’s multi-storey car park.

Amazingly, this little camper-car ticks all the boxes for this very diverse group of potential purchasers. Wellhouse Leisure is well respected as a van converter, and the new Wellhouse Evie really can be all things to all folk.

On the road

Let’s start with taking it down the blacktop. The Grand Tourneo trim, spec and levels of sound insulation ensure progress is whisper quiet even when hustling the free-revving motor. Its wheel-in-each- corner stance, a low overall height, a compliant suspension and a slick gearshift all add points and make for an engaging and relaxing drive.

During my visit to Wellhouse, I also got to drive the first (as yet unconverted) automatic Connect with Ford’s all new six-speed MPS Powershift box. It is absolutely brilliant; the only fly in the ointment is the fact that you may find it difficult to read the tiny instruments without stooping – as I did.

Lounging & dining

Flexibility is Evie’s strong suit when it comes to lounging and dining.

I’ve pictured the seating arranged as an L-shaped settee which was my favourite for sprawling on.

However, many would have reconfigured the wide portion to make a rear- facing seat which will allow entry and egress via the nearside sliding door and access to the cupboard in the kitchen base-unit.

Another alternative would be to leave the rear passengers’ seat in the car position – great for picnics and when visiting county shows and the like. There isn’t really a table because most of the target market would prefer to have the uncluttered floor space and use a tray.

The key to efficient use of the Evie is to buy a lightweight folding table and chairs for use outside but also that (crucially) will fit in the seat box.

Kitchen

Evie’s great kitchen starts with a little Vitrifigo fridge that holds much more than the 14-litre capacity suggests. It is a top-loader so all the internal volume can be used. I’d specify the mains hook-up (£450) to help the leisure battery power the fridge’s absorption cooling unit for long periods. There's a small sink built in. Finally the two-burner hob-and-base unit is hinged, so you can cook outside in fine weather.

Sleeping

Sleeping accommodation consists of a large single bed with some floor area left or a long double that takes up all the floor space aft of the cab seats. Thus couples will have to change into and out of their pyjamas in the campsite washroom or in the cab.

Many people will also purchase a drive-away, freestanding awning, so that could be used for changing in as well as doubling the living space.

The bed sizes are: longitudinal double 1.96m x 0.99m (6’5.25” x 3’3”) or a single bed 1.96m x 0.54m (6’ 5.25” x 1’ 9.25”).

Washroom

There is no washroom, but a Porta Potti is provided and stored under the settee.

Storage

The storage provision is very generous for such a small vehicle, though relaxed camping will depend on choosing suitable equipment. For example, nesting saucepans with removable handles; and scatter cushions that double as pillows will help to make the most of the available space. Choose lightweight equipment from camping stores rather than from caravan accessory shops.

Equipment

For an even better experience, purchasers can choose three items from the options list: mains hook-up (£450), 95W solar panel (£695) and Eberspächer heating (£900). Those who stay on campsites in winter may give the last a miss, and use a small 230V fan heater instead. It is much cheaper at around £20, but limiting, because you need the central heating to go off-grid in the shoulder seasons.

Technical specs

LayoutCamper without washroom
Sleeps2
Travel seats4
MTPLM2270kg
Payload400kg
Length4.81m15′9″
Width1.96m6′5″
Height1.98m6′6″
Engine (capacity)1600
Engine (power)115
Fresh water12L
Leisure battery95 Ah
Gas bottle size2.75kg
Number of gas bottles1
Kitchen Equipment
2-burner gas hob
Washroom
Porta potti
Heating
Eberspacher space heater

Verdict

You can’t get a more car-like drive from a motorhome than in one based on a car, such as this 1.6-litre turbodiesel 75/95/115bhp Ford Transit Connect Grand Tourneo. We’ve come to expect clever conversions from Wellhouse Leisure and the diddy Evie is one of its best.

What a shame that the Grand Tourneo's hard-to-read instruments have reduced what would have been a five-star score to four.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Fits into multi-storey car parks
  • Drives like a car
  • Flexible floorplan

Cons

  • No washroom
  • Instruments are difficult to read
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