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DISPLAY UNTIL 9 MAY 2013
PLUS - Gloud 9 - the T5 like no other
This month
llews and uiews
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Welcome The VW badge adds value
News Want a gasJree campervan?
Next month 15 high{ops compared
t7 lnterview Jean-Paul Fassinotti, Chausson
t9 Competition Win a week in a Bomahome
Road tests
20 Which test Westfalia
Club Joker
Exclusive test of VW T5 with a washroom
2A First sight Adria Sport
S 690 SC
lsland bed low-profile at an amazing price
32 First sight
Cloud 9 Comfort
VW T5 camper with a unique bed system
36 First sight
scaddy Gamper
could bring future
Galifornia owners
into the markett
Hymer Exsis-i 504
Baby A-class with massive payload
40 First sight
VW Caddy Camper
An MPV with bed, awning, coolbox
44 Star test
Bilbo s Celex LWB
0ur Campervan of the Year
201 3
s'.' Showdown Budget French
beds
Escape 662 v Marquis Majestic 155
68 Long-term test Swift
Sundance 6445D
Fully winterised? We find outl
Accessolis$
ll
New gear The very latest accessories
72
Which kit N/otorhome cleaners
Buying
75
lnsurance Our annual survey
How to save over a grand
9l
I
A to 2... Tag-axle coachbuilts
The biggest'vans for long-term tours
9$
Deals on wheels This month's bargains
Save f6,497 on a VW T5 camper
98
Pre-owned Adrra Vision A-class
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advertising Buy and sell
motorhomes and accessories
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Joker in
the pack
Westfalia is under new
ownership, back in Britain
and it has returned to VW
conversions at last. Enter the
exciting Club Joker on its very
first UK road test
trre@
.
PBICE FR0M f49,336 (BHD)
SEATS 3/4
. BERTHSfiRAVEL
W:::J# i l;il: ilfi * Ji::TJJ"::Tffi
original splitscreen VW and
1970s bay
:
window Tlpe 2 are
the most desirable of their genre. And yet this is the first
Westfalia camper to be based on the T5, a decade after the
latest generation of Transporter van went on sale. Delve
deeper into the history of this iconic brand and you'll
discover that from 2001 to 2008 it was owned by MercedesBenz, so it's no surprise that Mercedes Vianos and Sprinters
figured strongly
in its motorhome range and
perhaps
even less of a shock that arch rival Volkswagen decided to
take the California camperi construction in house.
Now, though, Westfalia has entered a netv era, under
the ownership of French motorhome maker Rapido. And
having
a Volkswagen back
of the new management
in the range was a key priority
-
alter all, the two brar.rds go
together like Ant and Dec. The resultant Club foker
(reintroducing a model name associated with the rearengined T3 of the 1980s) is no California rival, but
instead complements VW's own camper range.
wheelbase high-top model
Iti
a
long-
with more than a hint of
Westfalia! prestigious (Mercedes Sprinter-based) James
Cook about it, just in 2/3 scale. If you're a California
owner looking to trade up to something a fraction bigger
(with an onboard rvashroom), it's likely to be the van
youve been dreaming of. And soon you'll be able to buy
a right-hand drive one
in the UK via Roy Wood Transits,
who formerly imported Westfalias
Ford based
conversions. Right norv, though, we're the
first
UK
magazine to test the left hooker prototlpe, fresh from its
debut at the February NEC show. Few road tests engender
as much anticipation and excitement as this, even
if it
isnt the prettiest campervan around.
Those who know their Westfalias will not be surprised
iltr
3fl motorhome lis'l li;1:i
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' :,._€
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. Superb buiid quality . Wide range of options
,,}EE
. Great t0 drive . Large and c0mfortabie upper bed
o Diesel heating with blown-air and convectors
. Stylish design . LED lighting with dimmer switch
. Automotive rear travel seats . Rear underfl00r storage
No TV provision . Tiny wardrobe
":::ImE
. Shower doors on prototype . Price
o
of fully loaded model
Shower needs refnement
to find that the marque's latest camper wears a big high-
owned by Bapldo,
but a change of
ownership has not diverted the company
from its core products superbly
designed, l-igh-quality van conversiors.
Apart f rom the Club Joker, Westfalia s
range 1ow ircludes three tixed bed
Columbus hightops on Fiat Ducato
(long-wheelbase with transverse bed,
or extra-long with fixed singles or a
lengthways French bed). A new camper
based on the new (TS-srzed) Ford Transit
Custom is expected to debut later
this year.
that is matched here by a conversion that's virtually
devoid
I
it*Ag S{}i,?
and built to last.
I am
driving on unfamiliar roads, being at the wheel of the
Natural Grey metallic the Club loker still manages to
Westfalia is like meeting up with an old friend. youtl neyer
("it'll look
tire ofowning
a
T5 and always feel relaxed driving it, but
as
like a smurf'l remarked one observer), but then with
16
colours on offer (including yellow and orange, as well
as
height will have on its behaviour. On a calm day, passing
more subtle metallics like Toffee Brown) theret no need.
trucks at 70mph, I can barely perceive a disadvantage but
on a blustery day on the Fens that could be a completely
I head up the
Ml
I wonder what effect an extra 800mm of
In fact, getting the spec ofyour Club Joker right could
be a bigger challenge than deciding to buy one in the first
different scenario. As for performance, the prototype
place. There are 83, 101, 138 and 178bhp motors (all 2-
boasts a 1 l2bhp Bluemotion engine that is not on the price
litre TDI), manual and DSG gearboxes and even fourwheel drive. And that's before you consider parking
sensors (€589), alloy wheels (four styles - up to [,2,241),
list, but suffice to say that the (€1,348 extra) 1Olbhp unit
could possibly be adequate for some owners and the
and even details like a sliding door with powered closing
an additional L3,4991L5,544) is likely to be the best bet.
(€141), bi,xenon headlights (f,1,397)
Avoiding the 83bhp entryJevel unit seems essential, too.
speed-sensitive steering (f,393). And
or
Servotronic
dont forget that
every option ticked will add notably to your final bill
-
VW knows horv to charge. But we're getting ahead of
VW and because the T5 still
138bhp motor (with si-x speeds or super,slick DSG auto
Inside, there's less choice
upholstery is
a grey
to worry about. The
sole
automotive fabric called Tasamo and
the only major option is the downstairs' bed, which
effectively turns the Club foker into a three-berth. The
like no other comparable campervan base vehicle. There's
main bed is 'upstairs' a massive 7ft long double with
comfort-enhancing Froli springs on the half where your
unique fluidity to its handling, an almost limousine-like
upper body will rest. With plenty of ventilation (twin side
Joker because it's a
a
Outdoor chairs can slide under raised rear floor
tt ffirlrorna
ofrattles
Even though this is a left hand drive example and
baseball cap-wearing youths that it evokes, but in optional
ourselves because you're sure to be looking at the Club
Both the ail-new Ford and the Fiats
(wh ch real y are class-leadirg designs
and include your Editors favourite
motorhome at the last Drisseldorf show
- the Columbus 600 D, see photo above)
are expected t0 come t0 the UK thr0ugh
Roy Wood Transits, whose association
with Westfalia goes back to 2007. BWT
brought us right-hand drive versions of
the Ford-based Nugget and Big Nugget
conversions before launching its own
Auto Campers brand. Now Roy Wood
Transits has debuted the Club Joker here
(with right hand drive models expected
around the middle of June), though the
Fiat C0lumbus is expected t0 create even
more demand when that lands here.
ride quality, and ofcourse, its famed build quality. Build
It certainly isnt the sleekest of roofs and that peak over
seem quite handsome. Don't order a white one
c?mpervans, wESTFALIA
VVeSfialra rs now
doors
top designed to accommodate an adult-sized double bed.
the windscreen is sure to divide opinion as much as the
Amongst the most
famous na.nes in
ofih bi-fold
drives
Neat vanity unit isftted over the;t'ridge
>
PRICE FROM I49,336 (RHD)
AS TESTED t52,796 (LHD)
0PT|ONS FITTED Upgrade from 3,000k9
to 3,200kg (f770), cab air con (f1 ,296),
sunvis0r with mirror (f53), folding grab
handles and sunglasses holder (f88),
metallic paint (181 7), Exterior Pack
- c0lourcoded bumpers and door handles,
f ront fogllghts (f 948), wheeltrims (f 1 1 1),
low- evel bed (f758), radio (l4BB).
Note RHD models priced at f1,869 above
LHD versrons
TYPE APPROVAL European Whole
Veh ic le
BERTHS 2 {optional 3)
TRAVEL SEATS (INC DRIVER) 4
DIMENSIONS 5 29m L, 1 90m W,
2.80m
H
INTEBI0R HEIGHT 2.08m lounge,
1
.84m kitchen/washroom
MAXIMUM WEIGHT
3,2OOKg
13,000k9 as standard)
PAYL0AD 660kq (460kq as standard)
BEDS Roof bed 2.T5m x 1.25m with
headroom of 0.61 m, ow-level bed 1.77m
x 0.98m max, 0.83m min
FRESH WATER 70
,il
es { nboard)
WASTE WATER 70 litres (inboard)
TEISURE BATTERY sOAh
MAINS SOCKETS
2
ffi
VW TRANSPORTER T5 LWB
fruCttttfZ
li'.
B reMor'on,
II2brp.
front-wheel drive, five-speed manual
(83,101,138 and 178bhp engines
avarlabie, as well as DSG gearbox and
four whee drive)
MPG 0N TEST [stimated 28-30
C00KlNG Smev two-burner with
windows and a roofvent) and easy
push
step, the only fault
button ignitron
FRID
G
GASl
E lsotherm
9o_-ll!q
jor1llgS!,
^272(gCarpingaz
HEATING Eberspeicher 4 BkW dieselJired
b own-air with three convectors
B0l[EB
1
I
access
via a fold alay
could find here was that the two
up a small but annoying gap in the middle of the bed.
need to travel four-up, rear seat passengers
a
panel unfolds over
this area and into the cab. It's a generous single bed (as long
as you're
Hi lside s new model
not too tall)
-
corning soonl
ar.rd
much more comfy than its thin
will be better
catered for than in just about any other n.rotorhome. The
double passenger seat (by Aguti) is simply superb in its
shape and support.
Itt just
as
luxurious on site too, and we
served a light lunch for four adults around the small wall-
(l overslept to prove it), but the layout of
mounted table without
a
main bed above secondary bed is obviously flarved for
storage on the inside
of the sliding door, though it's a
families that dont all go to sleep at the same time.
shame that you'll need a second table for aly'esco dining.
mattress suggests
Auto-Sleeper Topaz
after all it is still considerably smaller inside than,
say, a LWB Fiat Ducato van conversion. But when you
backrest to be tipped forrvard and then
Eberspeicher diesel-powered,
-
sections ofmattress parted slightly in the night, opening
The optional (€758) low level bed requires the rear seat
0 I itres
Perhaps then, the Club Joker is best viewed as a two
berth
problem. Equally neat is the table
Not that you'll be short of room for outdoor furniture,
as there's a raised floor at the back (also hiding the
onboard water tanks) and the rear tailgate not only
provides access to this space but allows the shower to be
used outside and the toilet serviced as well. Ah yes, the
shower, the ace in the Club Joker's hand compared with
most VW campers. Sited in the rear corner is
a
washroom
with not just a shower, but a mirror, shelves and swivel
cassette
toilet (no washbasin, you'll have to wash your
hands in the kitchen sink). It's less ofa complete bathroom
than you'lI find in an Auto-Sleeper Topaz but the rest of
the living space is much less compromised as a result.
Here, the shower tray (which
r
will
come
with a cover in
production models) shares floor space with the galley in
ii
'::::::
Downstairs bed is only a single
-
and
lti
an optional extra
a clever design that only requires refinement of the way
>
the shower doors work to become a real success. There's
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no shortage of room to shower or to use the loo, but the
will will want to check her looks before her (trlichelin
latter is tucked under the top of the tailgate so the very
recommended) dinner. Superior sustenance consumed,
long of body may not fit comfortably on the throne.
the Club ]oker will provide
Club Joker. The Exclusive also benefited
from double beds 'upstairs' and down,
though of course jt lacked the modern
sophistication of a Euro V base vehicle.
More importantly, perhaps, rt was only
ever built in left hand drive form, though
a 2.5TDl automatic version might
overcome the objections of even the
most anti-LHD drivers.
_
tffi_
i.r I motothome ,Ji.t
;11.;,t
bl
but three radiator-style convectors too. In some realh'
dismal weather, I was able to simply dial in mt. desired
alongside the two-burner hob and stainless-steel sink.
temperature on the control panel (which looks iike a car
This is a German camper, of course, so be grateful for the
radio) and thaw out in anlthing up to sauna-like heat. The
hob's ignition and cut your carping about the lack of an
fact that this clever unit also operates the fridge and hot
oven or grill. More useful, after all, is the plentiful storage,
water and can be upgraded to include a timer (€1,104)
in drawers that soft close like in an expensive domestic
better still, and streets ahead
kitchen. The white gloss finish looks pretty tasty too.
controls that seasoned motorhomers contend with.
Opposite, theret more storage, including a very slim
of the multiple
is
messr'
So the CIub loker feels like a sophisticated design and
wardrobe (just enough room for a couple of coats), a 50-
itt
litre compressor fridge at a convenient height and
VW camper. It'll still fit in the Waitrose car park and not
look out of place, but it offers just that bit more living
an
unusual vanity unit rvith make-up mirror. Nolv I think I ve
got the Club Joker buyer sussed - not short of a few
pennies, they wont worry about the simple (but stylish)
kitchen
as
they'll eat out more often than not, and the lady
certainly stylish and well built. But most of all it's
a
comfort than conventional pop top models. Westfalia has
returned to VW with another classic that collectors will
be seeking out jn 40 years time.
Compressor.fridge and very slim wardrobe
* * **
I'arm
the shower/galley area, though it'll be fine lor the majority.
Alternatively, if you need m0re space,
how about a James Cook on Mercedes
Sprinter? Again, a four berth high{op
thats LHD only, we found one on
wwwcampervans4u.com - a 2004 model
with the desirable 156bhp engine at
f30,995
@ .
cosy apartment kept
its 4.8kW diesel heater, which not only boasts blol-n-air
Despite never being sold here new, this
mode (which was popular in Germany)
has appeared in Britain in small nurnbers
at importers and VW specialists. We
found a typical example at Go European
first registered in 1 997, this 79k-mile,
white campervan complete with bike
rack. awning and towbar could be yours
for f1 4,995
n0f01fi0m8 Say$
a
The tall may also notice that therei less headroom in
Cooks will also find a modicum of (glossy black) worktop
Westfalia may be a decade late in
launching a T5 camper but there's stil
an option for those who can't find f60k
down the back of the sofa. Based on the
previous T4 generation of Volkswagen
Transporter, the California Exc uslve
offers a broadly similar layout to the new
"Please remember that it's a prototype",
is the phrase that we hear so often as
we drive off in a new test vehic e. lt
cou d easily translate to "we haven't
qurte finished it yet" and is often a weak
resp0nse to unresolved design. ln the
Club Joker it simply meant that the
water system wasn't fully operational
and the shower doors wouldn't clip
together as they should, both to hide the
loo on site and to enclose the shower
cubicle. We' I f orglve Westtalia that
because we were impatient t0 get away
ln this new camper - and because the
showers at the Teversai Camping and
Caravanning Cllb site were the best
we've evP seer. Ard despi e bei g
"
genuine prototype, this Club Joker
teeked of tle cast ror b-i c qral r' o
whlch the firm has burlt ts repuiati0n for
over 60 years. Nothing in this campervan
feels flimsy, nothing rattled or squeaked.
It's not a cheap conversion but you'
The return ol a VW by Westfalia results in perhaps the ultimate T5 camper.
The risht spec will cbst you over f60k but blub Jbker is in a ctass ot iti own.
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