So, do you keep things basic, or go all-out for luxury in your van conversion? Sunlight’s Cliffs make the case for the former, without compromising on build quality. But you’ll need to do your own research to reach your ideal specification. The 540 is also compact enough to carry out daily duties.
Let’s hear it for the short stuff. It’s only in recent years, after all, that 6m has been considered a ‘normal’ length for a van conversion.
The 540 is the smallest in the Cliff range from Sunlight, at 5.41m. It’s not all change for 2019, but it has been spruced up and specified down. Previously, models were slightly quirky in their offerings (such as the larger, 120-litre fuel tank), so some subtle changes mean a lower starting price than last year.
However, there’s a bit of ‘buyer beware’ here. It starts at an eye-catching £37,499, but there are three package options: Basic, Chassis and Chassis Comfort.
You’ll need to research these for ourselves, but you might end up deciding that at least two are essential.
The example we’re looking at, from Lowdhams, has the first two, plus other extras, which take it up to £41,803 – slightly beyond the £40,000 price point at which I’d have said this was stunning value.
On site, it’s the usual cosy gathering with swivelled cab seats and a rather narrow side-fixing table. You might like the extension, courtesy of the Basic Package.
Step down from the lounge to a standard kitchen for this type of conversion – but look again. The typical (but more modern) two-ring hob and sink combination is sited to give some worktop in front, with a flip-up extension.
The compressor fridge is set underneath, so it can be accessed from inside or out. It does impinge on locker storage, but there’s a drawer and two slim lockers.
The ledge to the right will come in handy, as will the two hooks on an inset rail.
Across the corridor from the kitchen, the washroom is compact, with a solid door that can’t open fully. Inside, the toilet stays with the current fad for a raised position. Also here are a small frosted window, clothes rail, duckboarding (thanks, Basic Package), and an opening rooflight. The tap from the fixed corner basin extends for showering, with a curtain to pull around.
Arguably the 540’s best selling point is at the back, where there are the comfort advantages of a fixed bed. The slatted base and cold-foam mattress pieces can be set aside for a generous luggage area, with lashing points to secure loads.
The lockers over the bed lack dividers.