Nick Harding

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For a supremely practical, easy-to-live-with and surprisingly spacious T6 VW campervan conversion, don't miss Bilbo's Celex LWB – read our review

Overview

Like other independent converters, Bilbo’s scores over Volkswagen’s own California by offering extra-long versions of its key models. So meet the best-selling Celex, stretching out into the long-wheelbase T6 (5.29m from stem to stern). It is priced from £41,080 – with options, the ’van tested is £50,695. If you fancy the short-wheelbase version which stands 4.89m-long, it costs from £39,090.

This is arguably the easiest-to-operate and most straightforward of all the T6 VW campervans we've reviewed. That practicality has been the strength of Bilbo’s, which has focused on VW conversions throughout its history.

Four travel seats and two berths are the Celex starting point, in the familiar side furniture/rear seat-cum-bed format. Then the differences start. That’s Bilbo’s own rear seat design, for example. It’s easier than most to convert into a bed – the whole backrest just hinges over to form a very flat mattress area.

Bilbo’s also makes its own elevating roof. Typical of its ‘belt-and-braces’ approach, this has a side hinge and is easy to lift, with heavy-duty vinyl and removable window blinds. It works exceedingly well – all the more so when the Celex is retained as a two-person sleeper. Add roof bed boards and it becomes more of a two-plus-two than a full four-berth.

What’s immediately noticeable in the LWB VW T6 is the extra space, plus additional worktop in a kitchen that already offers that bit more than most. For example, all Bilbo's Celexes get a Smev grill as standard (unless you order otherwise). Bilbo’s fits the larger 65-litre capacity Waeco compressor fridge. The two-ring hob and sink are separate, too. Also fitted to the Celex are fresh- and waste-water tanks. The as-standard 120Ah leisure battery is another indicator that Bilbo’s does not skimp.

The light furniture finish isn’t just a breeze to clean; it also enhances the feeling of space. There are easy-wipe side panels, too, rather than the over-use of carpet as in some rivals. However, they reveal a lot of the base vehicle’s paintwork.

You’ll spot another good example of Bilbo’s common sense when you open the tailgate: the filler for the fresh-water tank, plus an easy-access gas locker at the base of the furniture unit and a large, uncluttered luggage area. Also, the front section of the rear seat has two locker doors and plenty of space for a portable toilet.

“The exterior shown is Acapulco Blue – one of seven standard colours and 10 metallic/pearl finishes available. Bilbo’s lists 30 optional extras for the base vehicle, plus a similar number of conversion extras, from different soft furnishings to diesel-powered heating.

Technical specs

Sleeps2
Travel seats4
MTPLM3000kg
Length5.29m17′4″
Leisure battery120 Ah
Kitchen Equipment
Waeco Compressor Fridge, 2-burner gas hob, Separate grill

Verdict

Plenty of other converters could learn from Bilbo’s more practical, frills-free approach that makes the company's ’vans simply a lot easier to live with. There’s plenty of flexibility when it comes to ordering your Bilbo’s, too, even if you want to turn on the style – making them well worth checking out if you're looking at T6 VW campervans for sale.

Conclusion

Pros

  • It's a well-made campervan
  • It is packed with practical features
  • You can expect strong residuals

Cons

  • It lacks pizzazz
  • Diesel heating is only an option
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