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Bigger vans

No_heroes

No_heroes

VIP Member
Messages
178
Location
Reading
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
All this lockdown and I’m getting itchy feet.

I am thinking a bigger van may be better for my family. I love the VW base and the 4 motion but the grand California 680 is really only a 2 berth which seems a step backwards from an Ocean. They just don’t seem to have created an efficient and comfortable interior.

Research then moves to Westfalia Sven Hedin based on a Man badged crafter- but can’t see if 4motion is an option. Then I see the Columbus which the interior and front bed as well as lifting roof look superb- but it’s a Fiat based van and only 2 wheel drive. Whilst I haven’t driven one, reviews seem to suggest they are a rough drive- not sure if this is the case with the latest 160bhp 9 sp autos.

I would really like the VW Crafter 4motion with the Westfalia Columbus interior. Does any one have any views or gone down the same path?
 
No_heroes

No_heroes

VIP Member
Messages
178
Location
Reading
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
We’ve done the same and ended up choosing a Hymercar Ayers Rock 5.4m. We didn’t want a big van. Haven’t picked it up yet though as for some reason the dealer is closed.....

Good choice. Did you drive a Hymer Merc and a Fiat to compare?
 
California4x4

California4x4

VIP Member
Messages
1,045
Location
Scotland
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150 4Motion
All this lockdown and I’m getting itchy feet.

I am thinking a bigger van may be better for my family. I love the VW base and the 4 motion but the grand California 680 is really only a 2 berth which seems a step backwards from an Ocean. They just don’t seem to have created an efficient and comfortable interior.

Research then moves to Westfalia Sven Hedin based on a Man badged crafter- but can’t see if 4motion is an option. Then I see the Columbus which the interior and front bed as well as lifting roof look superb- but it’s a Fiat based van and only 2 wheel drive. Whilst I haven’t driven one, reviews seem to suggest they are a rough drive- not sure if this is the case with the latest 160bhp 9 sp autos.

I would really like the VW Crafter 4motion with the Westfalia Columbus interior. Does any one have any views or gone down the same path?
On a 4Motion Crafter, I would design and build whatever layout suited your family. If you have the time that is.
 
Jay20cali

Jay20cali

Messages
1,631
Location
Uk
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
All this lockdown and I’m getting itchy feet.

I am thinking a bigger van may be better for my family. I love the VW base and the 4 motion but the grand California 680 is really only a 2 berth which seems a step backwards from an Ocean. They just don’t seem to have created an efficient and comfortable interior.

Research then moves to Westfalia Sven Hedin based on a Man badged crafter- but can’t see if 4motion is an option. Then I see the Columbus which the interior and front bed as well as lifting roof look superb- but it’s a Fiat based van and only 2 wheel drive. Whilst I haven’t driven one, reviews seem to suggest they are a rough drive- not sure if this is the case with the latest 160bhp 9 sp autos.

I would really like the VW Crafter 4motion with the Westfalia Columbus interior. Does any one have any views or gone down the same path?
We had a columbus a few years back 16plate bought new probably the only van I struggled to sell,
We had a year of saving due to getting married and had plane holidays booked so it seemed like the best thing to sell before the arse fell out of it sat on the drive,,,
I can tell you there fantastic really good quality the Fiat was without doubt a nice drive we had 150ps 6sp manual..the dashboard was quite plastic feeling and the glove box didn’t fit well but in the back it was first class....
Looking back the arse didn’t fall out of them,they increased the price by 20k from our high specced van at 55k to now over 75k for a 601d columbus...
I would never dog off a Westfalia as there definitely my favourite conversion but adria do a van just as nice for 50k
Now I do fancy a bigger van I’m definitely thinking crafter but will probably go down the conversion route ....
We only just took delivery of or 6.1 ocean but whilst we had a long long wait due to having issues waiting for a t6ocean , what then became our new 6.1 I did fall for the off-road style crafters ..that’s definitely my next van...and I’m already looking.
So in short look at Celtic motorhomes or mclaren sporthomes both do an amazing job
 
No_heroes

No_heroes

VIP Member
Messages
178
Location
Reading
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
Thanks - will have a look. I really like the look of the off-road spec Van Worx Maxtraxx van. Whilst I’m sure it’s good value- it’s a huge amount of money.

Would put some KO2’s on a Westfalia but would prefer factory 4x4 which I don’t believe Fiat do.
 
Jay20cali

Jay20cali

Messages
1,631
Location
Uk
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
Thanks - will have a look. I really like the look of the off-road spec Van Worx Maxtraxx van. Whilst I’m sure it’s good value- it’s a huge amount of money.

Would put some KO2’s on a Westfalia but would prefer factory 4x4 which I don’t believe Fiat do.
They do actually do one but I think it’s a special build??? in matt green.
and yep the van works one is nice but 95k is way too much money
 
Ting Tong

Ting Tong

Top Poster
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
1,228
Location
South Wales
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204
Have you looked at the Knaus Boxdrive? The trouble with a lot of the bigger vans is the made up bed uses a fair amount of the space that you gained plus the bathrooms are bloody cramped.
 
W

Wondering Star

VIP Member
Messages
282
Location
Cambridgeshire
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
I'm interested in changing our Beach for a Hymar Columbus 5.4 m to use as a second car.
However with two soon to be teenagers my only concern is the two travel seats which look particularly uncomfortable with little back rest rake.
Struggling to see to teenagers sitting there for long holiday drives without arguments.
If any one knows of a compact van 5.4m with decent travel seats I would be interested.
 
SimonK

SimonK

VIP Member
Messages
146
Location
UK
Vehicle
N/A
Thanks - will have a look. I really like the look of the off-road spec Van Worx Maxtraxx van. Whilst I’m sure it’s good value- it’s a huge amount of money.

Would put some KO2’s on a Westfalia but would prefer factory 4x4 which I don’t believe Fiat do.
FIAT do a 4x4 Ducato, but alas not in the UK. You'd have to import a left-hooker

the MAN TGE is available with AWD in the UK. It might be worthwhile speaking to a Westfalia dealer to see if they could do you a Sven Hedin with AWD?
 
soulstyledevon

soulstyledevon

https://www.instagram.com/kennycalifornia
Super Poster
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5,058
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204
I checked out bigger vans last year at the camping and caravan show.
Every single van felt cramped and awkward.
Useless bathrooms, which aren’t worth the hassle and the fixed and inflexible living /sleeping quarters are a big no from us...
The best thing you can do is stream line how you pack your Cali or consider a trailer with California which would give you far more flexibility than a bigger van ever would...

I’m completely over my big van dreams...
 
larrylamb

larrylamb

Cali owner.
Top Poster
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Messages
3,530
Location
Uk
Vehicle
T5 SE 140
I'm interested in changing our Beach for a Hymar Columbus 5.4 m to use as a second car.
However with two soon to be teenagers my only concern is the two travel seats which look particularly uncomfortable with little back rest rake.
Struggling to see to teenagers sitting there for long holiday drives without arguments.
If any one knows of a compact van 5.4m with decent travel seats I would be interested.
I agree with your observations, we came to the conclusion if there are more than 2 people travelling you really need a 6m van minimum. Re the travel seats, so many of them are fixed upright and pretty basic however the Westfalia type that also unfold to make a bed are amazing.
 
Last edited:
No_heroes

No_heroes

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Messages
178
Location
Reading
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
I agree with your observations, we came to the conclusion if there are more than 2 people travelling you really need a 6m van minimum. Re the travel seats, so many of them are fixed upright and pretty basic however the Westfalia type that also unfold to make a bed are amazing.

Those seats look the best I have seen in that sized van...
 
Hannick

Hannick

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Messages
124
Location
Bristol
Vehicle
T5 SE 140
We couldn’t move away from an elevating roof, so the Ayers Rock did it for us.
 
No_heroes

No_heroes

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Messages
178
Location
Reading
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
It does seem that campersales have some auto Westfalia's coming in with the elevating roofs and good specs which I really like the look of - however if all factories are closed down and supply chain is impacted i'm guessing this could be 2021 before they are here...

 
Anthony1

Anthony1

Too young to be old
VIP Member
Messages
951
Vehicle
T5 SE 180 4Motion
All this lockdown and I’m getting itchy feet.

I am thinking a bigger van may be better for my family. I love the VW base and the 4 motion but the grand California 680 is really only a 2 berth which seems a step backwards from an Ocean. They just don’t seem to have created an efficient and comfortable interior.

Research then moves to Westfalia Sven Hedin based on a Man badged crafter- but can’t see if 4motion is an option. Then I see the Columbus which the interior and front bed as well as lifting roof look superb- but it’s a Fiat based van and only 2 wheel drive. Whilst I haven’t driven one, reviews seem to suggest they are a rough drive- not sure if this is the case with the latest 160bhp 9 sp autos.

I would really like the VW Crafter 4motion with the Westfalia Columbus interior. Does any one have any views or gone down the same path?


I am going down the route of a self conversion. I bought a 16 plate Citoren Relay, 6m, 30k miles. Started out with a fully insulated, all the electrics and solar panel done (by someone else). I am now building the interior. Sadly all DIY shops are either closed or difficult to buy from.

But I don't think I can bring myself to sell the California, so we will use that for one or two night trips, the bigger van for long, 4 - 6 weeks and longer. We were thinking of doing 3 months in southern Spain in the winter.

AETV76355164_4.jpg
 
Anthony1

Anthony1

Too young to be old
VIP Member
Messages
951
Vehicle
T5 SE 180 4Motion
This makes a fairly narrow bed but is a great use of space and really well finished.
http://instagr.am/p/B6TePQmhLDs/
We don't want a shower or oven and our bed is transverse, ie 4'6" wide and 6' long.

My conversion is a DIY job and my carpentry skills are average etc. so, unfortunately, the finish will be nothing like the one illustrated. But I could end up with a really practical, van you can stand up in, with a fixed bed, solar panel etc for about £22,000. Maybe less. And if all else fails, I still have my trusted Cali.
 
No_heroes

No_heroes

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Messages
178
Location
Reading
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
I was just looking at it I could buy a 4x4 sprinter with the side windows and do a custom job myself...
 
Quentin SF

Quentin SF

Messages
144
Location
Cambridge, UK
Vehicle
Just browsing
I think if I were looking for a slightly bigger van, it might well be a Murvi Pimento, Pimento XL, or Morello. Murvis aren't flashy but they work really well and they have a dedicated following - I have two friends with them, and I've borrowed one a couple of times.

In particular, the lounge with the unobstructed side door is great, the sofa is very comfortable and turns quickly into a good bed. It would normally face sideways looking at the view, but you can turn it to face forwards if you need passenger seats. Cunningly, it folds down into a bed in either orientation.

The only other one I saw at the NEC which had a similar lounge layout was the AutoSleeper Symbol Plus, but I think that can only take one passenger.
 
California4x4

California4x4

VIP Member
Messages
1,045
Location
Scotland
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150 4Motion
I was just looking at it I could buy a 4x4 sprinter with the side windows and do a custom job myself...
Unless you’re ordering one from new, they’re as rare as hens teeth. Fitting windows is fairly straight forward and opens up more used Sprinter options.
 
W

Wondering Star

VIP Member
Messages
282
Location
Cambridgeshire
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
Any one had any experience of the Vanworx maxtraxx Crafter based conversion which looks interesting?
 
soulstyledevon

soulstyledevon

https://www.instagram.com/kennycalifornia
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T6 Ocean 204
Isn’t it like £100k plus...
You would need your head testing pay that sort of money for a converted crafter with carpet on the walls.
 
W

Wondering Star

VIP Member
Messages
282
Location
Cambridgeshire
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
I agree it's a lot of money, but you can have a bespoke design. Can easily reduce cost by 20k
by ditching the 4x4, 3k off road tyres and other extras such as the 3k roof rack.
From what I can see it's well put together and the company is highly regarded.
I think pricing is subjective, you only have to look at the pricing structure of VW product.
I have also looked at the Hymer Grand Cayon S 80k on a Mercedes platform, and the Westfelia Columbus 600D with is great but on a Fiat platform also 80k.
I would say they answer the phone, call you back and answer emails, something I've found lacking at the more established dealers.
I may be old fashioned but when spending 80k I do like to be treated as a valued customer and not just a number .
 
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