Join Date: Jul 2006
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Elddis almost got it right!
I joined this site when I purchased my first campervan. That was 17 years ago and I now want to replace my Autosleeper Symbol, which has given many years of pleasure, with one that can accommodate both my husband and me and the grandson we now have. I find making up the bed a bit of a tussle and want one that has a rear lounge that can be left up as a bed. I have been searching over the last few years for a campervan that meets as closely as possible my requirements, visiting the shows at NEC for inspiration and I thought I had finally found the 'van of my dreams! What follows is, I suppose, a review of that 'van, but I would be interested in any views of others, or any suggestions of an alternative. Sorry it is a bit long, but it may be useful to some.
I was thrilled to discover the new range of Elddis motorhomes includes a very impressive ‘van conversion, the Elddis Autoquest (or Compass Avant Garde). It includes all the options I have been searching for and the interior decor is light, tasteful and well finished. While there are dealer specials in slate grey, a choice other than white for the regular vehicles would have been welcome though. Why motorhomes are still mostly produced in white and are not in colours that blend in with the environment we are all keen to escape to is a mystery to me.
My chief preference for a front dining area with two belted seats, which can be made into a child’s bed, and a rear lounge that can be left made up as a bed, have been achieved incredibly within a 6 metre length vehicle. The designers appeared to have looked at all the other models out there and tailored the Autoquest to include the very best features. Storage is excellent, I like the attention to detail, such as including racks above the doors, and several drawers, which are sensibly placed – who wants to grovel around on the floor to access a cutlery drawer? Surfaces in the kitchen area can be increased by using the extendable table and flap and, another important feature for me, the fridge is at eye level, so again it is not necessary to angle yourself to crouch down in order to reach into it.
I realise the design has been built to accommodate what is perceived as the preferred options of a British market but my choice would be the usual continental specification of just a hob and no oven, which would provide more storage, especially when a microwave is included. The addition of an electric ring, as well as two gas rings on the hob is a nice touch. The rear bed is easy to pull out, with access to generous storage beneath. The shelf that sits above the store for the table even provides a bed-side surface for a clock, ‘phone, book etc.
In a ‘van this length there are bound to be compromises and a few niggles. The bathroom door is tricky to open when the rear bed is made up. A sliding door here may have been a better idea. No floor covering seems to have been provided for the bathroom to protect the shower tray.
However, by far the most serious flaw in the design of this ‘van is the space between the oven/hob and the bathroom. I am a slim build and can just about squeeze through the gap while facing forwards, but many people would have to move sideways between the front and rear of the ‘van. When using the hob the gap would become, in my opinion, very dangerous, as the cook cannot move far enough back from the lighted rings and any pans of boiling water or hot oil. What is most upsetting is that this blunder could have been avoided. Too much priority has been given to the size of the bathroom. A few inches shaved off the width of the bathroom would make all the difference to the kitchen area. Yes, the bathroom is large enough for the average sized person to take a shower, but as most people in my experience use on-site facilities, this seems a luxury achieved at the expense of the far more critical space outside it. I was extremely upset to realise that this major design gaff means I will not be able to purchase this otherwise superbly designed and realistically priced campervan.