It seems that people have never been so keen to move around, to change their surroundings, to see more things around their country. Which means small vans converted into campers are attracting more and more people, young and old. Last summer, we had the opportunity to discover the flavour of gypsy life aboard the Ford Transit Custom Nugget Plus. One night was enough for us…
Obviously, sometimes we don’t have a positive view of these older holidaymakers driving their huge mobile home at low speeds and clogging the middle lane on motorways. With the Nugget, this image is immediately discarded : this Ford Transit moves about as fast as a van, taking advantage of the excellent capabilities of the 185 hp 2.0 EcoBlue diesel engine and its massive 415 Nm torque available from 1750 to 2750 rpm. This means you can travel in total peace of mind and achieve quite high average speeds.
All the better for it : the driving position is rather good and a large number of driving assistance systems are standard on it. However, soundproofing lets it down, especially as some inside furniture noises make themselves inevitably heard. The original Nugget version was launched back in January 2019. Its task was simple : get both the Volkswagen California and the even more expensive Mercedes Marco Polo into trouble.
Thanks to an extended chassis, the Transit becomes a grand tourer with a proper toilet and extra washbasin. The raised fixed roof can be replaced by a pop-up one which improves this Ford’s access to some underground car parks and other public places. Designed by Westfalia, the famous German camper conversion specialist, the Nugget Plus uses some ingenuoous solutions. Compared to the above-mentioned competitors, its kitchen unit (sink, two gas burners and 40-litre fridge) is placed behind the bench seat rather than on the van side. Which explains why Westfalia to put the pop-up roof hinges at the front of the vehicle instead of the back.
Another nice feature : the 3-seater rear bench seat, rather than a tiny 2-seater one. However, it is only possible to accommodate four people inside: two at the back once the bench is folded and two adults on top, using the comfortable 1.80m long X 1.38m wide bed. A small ladder built into the kitchen makes access to the upper floor rather easy. There is plenty of storage space in the kitchen cabinets, not to mention the built-in toilet, which can be isolated with glass curtains and the wall that can be attached to the kitchen cabinet. An additional washbasin is hidden in the left rear corner of the Transit and acts as a bathroom. A hose can even be connected to it creating… an outdoor shower!
The water tank capacity is 42 litres and there’s even a boiler. Finally, a folding table attached inside the tailgate and two folding chairs complete the equipment. The two front seats use swivelling bases and can be turned 180° to accommodate 4 people around the inside table which folds out into two parts. At night, small neon lights and adjustable lamps provide adequate lighting. It is clear that the Ford engineers thought about everything when developing this nomad Transit.
On the extras’ list there’s a canopy, acting as a sun or rain shade, that can be added to the right side of the van. The best is yet to come: keen prices! Retailing at € 51,209 incl. VAT, the Ford Transit Custom Nugget Plus is a real bargain for campers lovers. For the record, the RRP of a basic version of the Mercedes Marco Polo fitted with a 163hp diesel engine and automatic gearbox, is € 54,000 (incl. VAT). That’s before any extras have been added, of course… This means you’d be hard-pressed to get one with a decent equipment list for less than € 60,000. The Volkswagen California basic camper is called “Beach” and features a 204 HP 2.0 TDI engine mated to a DSG7 gearbox. This one starts from € 61,440!
Obviously, some will say the Transit’s fit and finish is not on par with the others’ and its residuals might not be as good in the long run. However, the Transit is way cheaper than its competitors. All lack luggage space but the Transit cheaper price would allow you to buy a trailer big enough for a fortnight holydays’ family luggage. (Translation: Dimitri Urbain)