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Bigger vans

soulstyledevon

soulstyledevon

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Hi @soulstyledevon, we’ve had a Columbus 540 on order for over a year, latest delivery date is Q2 next year and we’ve no idea what the final cost is going to be.
We very fortunately picked up a Burstner Eliseo from Southdowns in Portsmouth to use until the Columbus arrives. It’s not a Columbus but it’s really grown on us, just loading it up as we head to Europe for 3 months tomorrow. The Ducato is not as bad as you might think, in fact it’s quite enjoyable to drive even with just 140HP. The Columbus with the Winter package, underfloor heating, tin top, maxair fan, diesel heating and solar will be a great all year round van. Campersales are great to deal with and recommended.

We’re currently stuck between a rock and a hard place. About 80% certain the 540 would work perfect for us. But wondering wether to jump right in and move upto a 6m chassis instead…?
The other consideration is the wait and again the final price. Expected delivery, approximately July 23 and price cannot be guaranteed.

What made you go for the 540, just out of interest?
 
Last edited:
B

Billylou

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56
Location
Uk
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Cali now sold
We’re currently stuck between a rock and a hard place. About 80% certain the 540 would work perfect for us. But wondering wether to jump right in and move upto a 6m chassis instead…?
The other consideration is the wait and again the final price. Expected delivery, approximately July 23 and price cannot be guaranteed.

What made you go for the 540, just out of interest?
Quite simple really, my drive is about 5.39 long. Still wanted something nimble, easy to park and it felt much bigger than the Cali. There is only me, my wife and the dog in the van, there is sufficient space and we don’t feel squeezed in. If our drive wasn’t a constraint we would have considered a 6m van as it’s probably the sweet spot for PVC’s. Having said that we’ve recently secured a safe / secure parking place so we could go bigger if we wanted to. The storage space in the 6m Columbus is vast although the 540 isn’t bad either. It might be worth visiting Campersales and have a look around.
 
soulstyledevon

soulstyledevon

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T6 Ocean 204
540 is a nice size and the best looking internal layout I’ve seen on that size chassis. So many vans appear closed in because of the layout. That’s why we completely ruled out the GC 680.
But the Westy is the best part of £95k once delivered, makes one consider the next step. The Hymers look good value, shame about the upright rear bench seat.
 
4x4 joker

4x4 joker

VW T6.1 Westfalia Club Joker 4motion
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540 is a nice size and the best looking internal layout I’ve seen on that size chassis. So many vans appear closed in because of the layout. That’s why we completely ruled out the GC 680.
But the Westy is the best part of £95k once delivered, makes one consider the next step. The Hymers look good value, shame about the upright rear bench seat.
5.3/5.4 is great length if you still want to go down single track roads and fit in one space in a carpark.
You won’t notice any difference really from a Cali, not sure about width though.
6m van will be more comfortable with 3 or you and still easy to park.
Lots of money so if you can go hire a 5.4 or 6m van.
Don’t know if Roseisle (Scotland) still hire westy and hymer vans they use to, could be a good excuse for a holiday.
Campersales have a few demos and were looking into a hire thing too.
 
C

Chainline

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I don’t find the 680 feels closed in at all which is why perception is key. Also I don’t find single track lanes a problem. Same width as a 6m or less German buss and narrower than an Italian or French based one.

I want 4x4 and the factory ground clearance so options more limited.
Also fussy about rear load otherwise the Rebel might have worked, I could keep myself awake at night for years with 6m/7m so am just trying to move on and stop worrying about it so far on super tight Cornwall and Yorkshire lanes I’ve not had cause to regret 6.8m and the drive can take it (just)
 
HowieDog

HowieDog

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478
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Poole
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T5 SE 180
We’re just on our way home from France and Spain in our first trip in the new Hymer 540 Blue Evolution.

When I get a chance I’ll do a full write up/review.

In short it has been absolutely faultless. No rattles or creaks, Very nice ride and a real delight to drive. The 180bhp makes it go and it has more Nm than the 204 Cali. 9 speed auto is great. Was brilliant over Col d’Aubisque and Portalet and was very glad not to have a longer van when parking in San Sebastián and navigating some small Spanish villages.

Size wise it works really well for us-2 adults and a 7 year old. We have two Red inflatable Paddle boards, 40cm Cadac and all the usual camping stuff in the garage.

The surf board is actually UNDER the pop top! There is plenty of space with the roof down for the ladder, pillows and duvet.

We’ve cooked a lot more on this trip compared to living with the Cali. Kitchen is very usable and storage good. Fridge on the end can be opened from inside or outside and is 70 litre with shelves and door storage. It even has a freezer box.

We used the shower inside a couple of times, cassette loo worked well. A hot outside shower was nice after surfing too.

We really loved our 15 years of Cali ownership, but the Hymer just makes everything so much easier for us and if anyone is thinking of a bigger van and doesn’t want the GC I’d really recommend the Hymer 540.

73EEC098-9B83-4A14-8F62-B582BE74EBA0.jpeg

B13F82E7-7B43-4E4D-8783-5AA5ABF7F5F0.jpeg
 
Mr T

Mr T

Chris
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Thats
Looks like it combines the worst features of an Ocean with the worst bits of a GC600 whilst looking like a SERCO prison transport van from the outside.

In case you can't tell, I'm not a fan.
It’s a bit weird for sure!
 
soulstyledevon

soulstyledevon

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T6 Ocean 204
We’re just on our way home from France and Spain in our first trip in the new Hymer 540 Blue Evolution.

When I get a chance I’ll do a full write up/review.

In short it has been absolutely faultless. No rattles or creaks, Very nice ride and a real delight to drive. The 180bhp makes it go and it has more Nm than the 204 Cali. 9 speed auto is great. Was brilliant over Col d’Aubisque and Portalet and was very glad not to have a longer van when parking in San Sebastián and navigating some small Spanish villages.

Size wise it works really well for us-2 adults and a 7 year old. We have two Red inflatable Paddle boards, 40cm Cadac and all the usual camping stuff in the garage.

The surf board is actually UNDER the pop top! There is plenty of space with the roof down for the ladder, pillows and duvet.

We’ve cooked a lot more on this trip compared to living with the Cali. Kitchen is very usable and storage good. Fridge on the end can be opened from inside or outside and is 70 litre with shelves and door storage. It even has a freezer box.

We used the shower inside a couple of times, cassette loo worked well. A hot outside shower was nice after surfing too.

We really loved our 15 years of Cali ownership, but the Hymer just makes everything so much easier for us and if anyone is thinking of a bigger van and doesn’t want the GC I’d really recommend the Hymer 540.

View attachment 98496

View attachment 98497

Howiedog, what length surfboard have you got in the poptop area? Also, how has the little one got on with that rear seat? We have a concern about how comfortable it is on long trips…
Van looks great, we’re holding on until we’ve been to the Motorhome show in October. Split between, this and a 6m free or the Westfalia Columbus. Although, the Westy is a lot of money.
 
HowieDog

HowieDog

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478
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Poole
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T5 SE 180
Howiedog, what length surfboard have you got in the poptop area? Also, how has the little one got on with that rear seat? We have a concern about how comfortable it is on long trips…
Van looks great, we’re holding on until we’ve been to the Motorhome show in October. Split between, this and a 6m free or the Westfalia Columbus. Although, the Westy is a lot of money.
He really like it. He’s on a booster seat now and it clicks into the isofix. We can adjust the base out a bit that gives a bit more recline.
We leave the table
Down so he has a decent space for games/iPads/ Nintendo’s or other long drive distraxtions.

The surfboard is 7ft.

We are getting roof bars fitted so we can have the paddle boards inflated if we prefer.
 
GrannyJen

GrannyJen

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Howiedog, what length surfboard have you got in the poptop area? Also, how has the little one got on with that rear seat? We have a concern about how comfortable it is on long trips…
Van looks great, we’re holding on until we’ve been to the Motorhome show in October. Split between, this and a 6m free or the Westfalia Columbus. Although, the Westy is a lot of money.

I've just taken my two granboys on a three hour round trip and they were fine. They found that they could just as comfortably have a fight with each other as they could in the Cali.

My only major problem was that Finley kept wanting to lower the window blind, which happens to be t one that I look out of when manoeuvring. :shocked
 
HowieDog

HowieDog

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478
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Poole
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T5 SE 180
What we don’t like…
Seems like no vents for drivers side from aircon/heating!
No 3rd zone aircon for rear seat - but there are 12v sockets so a plug in fan works OK if needed
Three front cup holders but none really in the right place
No rearview mirror (was meant to be a digital one but supply chain issues meant it was deleted)
Dash a bit plasticky compared with VW
Speakers are rubbish and will be upgraded
Sent with wrong wheels (supply chain) but we are replacing anyway
No standard alarm - need to fit aftermarket but separate button needed. It does however give us protection for bike rack with a separate external circuit looping through the bikes.
 
soulstyledevon

soulstyledevon

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T6 Ocean 204
What we don’t like…
Seems like no vents for drivers side from aircon/heating!
No 3rd zone aircon for rear seat - but there are 12v sockets so a plug in fan works OK if needed
Three front cup holders but none really in the right place
No rearview mirror (was meant to be a digital one but supply chain issues meant it was deleted)
Dash a bit plasticky compared with VW
Speakers are rubbish and will be upgraded
Sent with wrong wheels (supply chain) but we are replacing anyway
No standard alarm - need to fit aftermarket but separate button needed. It does however give us protection for bike rack with a separate external circuit looping through the bikes.

I’ve just been out to look at a few vans this afternoon.
My minds made up.
The 5.4m on Ducato chassis was more than big enough. It has plenty of space and feels almost twice as big as the California.
Our little one approves to and preferred the Ducato over the Mercedes van.

Just got home and he wants to buy the black one. Which happens to be an Ayers Rock…
 
GrannyJen

GrannyJen

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I’ve just been out to look at a few vans this afternoon.
My minds made up.
The 5.4m on Ducato chassis was more than big enough. It has plenty of space and feels almost twice as big as the California.
Our little one approves to and preferred the Ducato over the Mercedes van.

Just got home and he wants to buy the black one. Which happens to be an Ayers Rock…

He has excellent taste :D

It's not quite the answer to a maidens prayer, well not this maiden anyway, but it ticks a lot of pleasant boxes. After 100 nights in the thing I still can't get used to how easy it is to do stuff, like wash the dishes, wash me, cook dinner .... all without shifting anything around. I also find myself cooking more in it than I ever did in the Cali. I have only just got used to the fact there's a big bed to flop on to when I come home from a long run or cycle ride.

The extra space has a downside though. I seem incapable of filling every single cupboard up in such a way that nothing rattles or rolls around when I'm driving, although my son, just back from Cornwall in the communal Cali, will say I couldn't do that in a Cali neither:shocked In fact he said a lot more than that, most uncomplimentary about my packing skills:(

That bench seat that looks so horrible. I spend most of my living life sat on that. I eat and work sat on it. After a while it can feel tiring, but nowhere near as uncomfortable as it looks. I am surprised at how little I use the swivelled passenger or drivers seat.
 
soulstyledevon

soulstyledevon

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I wanted to like the Mercedes.
Upfront, no contest, it’s a nice cabin. But everything else was compromised, with exception to the bathroom.

The Grand Canyon 4x4 has the cool factor, but we found it too big on the outside, the slopping wall profile comprises the space within and the van inside felt more cramped.

Overall, really impressed with the AR. Just need to work out the difference between the Ayers Rock and the Blue Evo.
 
2into1

2into1

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With all this movement and love towards bigger vans, I feel a little more vindicated in my post a few years back saying that if you don't plan to use the Cali as (at least) a 2nd car, then you should buy something bigger to camp in. I got plenty of stick for saying so!
 
HowieDog

HowieDog

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T5 SE 180
With all this movement and love towards bigger vans, I feel a little more vindicated in my post a few years back saying that if you don't plan to use the Cali as (at least) a 2nd car, then you should buy something bigger to camp in. I got plenty of stick for saying so!
I agree with you but that’s why we’ve only gone to 5.4m so we can still use as a 2nd car in most circumstances.
 
2into1

2into1

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I agree with you but that’s why we’ve only gone to 5.4m so we can still use as a 2nd car in most circumstances.
I'm still struggling with the dilemma, complicated by only needing one vehicle, storage at home being tight, and me being 6'4" tall. So the regular Cali continues to win the debates no matter how long I spend trying to convince myself otherwise!
 
Ch1pbutty

Ch1pbutty

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T5 Beach
With all this movement and love towards bigger vans, I feel a little more vindicated in my post a few years back saying that if you don't plan to use the Cali as (at least) a 2nd car, then you should buy something bigger to camp in. I got plenty of stick for saying so!

New Cali pricing now puts in the big van league.
 
soulstyledevon

soulstyledevon

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I'm still struggling with the dilemma, complicated by only needing one vehicle, storage at home being tight, and me being 6'4" tall. So the regular Cali continues to win the debates no matter how long I spend trying to convince myself otherwise!

If you need only one vehicle, the California makes a lot of sense.
It’s been our main vehicle for years, but that’s now changing for us.

As @Ch1pbutty mentioned the cost is another factor. Oceans seem to be around £70-80k similar pricing to bigger vans.
For us, we feel a slightly bigger van, will allow us to free camp easier with a fixed bed at the back and the child’s seat in a fixed location too. It’s problematic having to move on and re-make the bed to refit the booster seat…
 
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