Ford starts selling adventurous, little Transit Custom Nugget camper van
The Westfalia-converted Ford Nugget camper van has gotten a fresh lease on life thanks to the recently updated Transit Custom van that serves as its base. At camp, the new Nugget series features the same space-maximizing four-sleeper design, but it gets to the campground with help from Ford's latest efficiency-boosting, driver-assisted technologies. Come spring, the Nugget will be offered directly through Ford dealerships in select European markets.
The Nugget isn't a new camper van, dating back more than three decades. Westfalia updated the Nugget lineup last year by squeezing a bathroom inside to create the Nugget Plus variant. As with any established camper van model, the base van below continues to evolve, offering key advantages for holiday escapees, as well as everyday drivers.
Ford launched the updated Transit Custom last year before adding a new plug-in hybrid variant at the IAA Hannover commercial vehicles show in the fall. There's no mention of the plug-in powertrain making it to the Nugget, but the improved 2.0-liter EcoBlue diesel engine will serve as the camper van's drive muscle, available in both 128- and 168-hp forms. Nugget buyers will also have their choice of six-speed manual and six-speed SelectShift automatic transmissions, offering figures as good as 6.3 L/100 km (37.3 mpg) and 165 g/km of CO2 emissions.
The latest Transit Custom also rolls out with a variety of available driver-assistance technologies, including cross traffic alert, pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, rear wide-view camera and adaptive cruise control, helping the Nugget keep pace with camper vans based on other new, tech-loaded van models, such as the Mercedes Sprinter and MAN TGE. The Transit Custom's cockpit area includes improved ergonomics and available Sync 3 infotainment with voice control and 8-in tablet-style touchscreen.
Beyond those recent base van updates, the Nugget remains a small but highly livable little camper van thanks to its smart floor plan and choice of pop-up roof or fixed high roof. Either roof option offers a double bed, combining with the folding bed in the cabin to create a space fully suitable for a family of four. Alternatively, the #vanlife twosome can enjoy a dedicated dining/living area and upper-level bedroom without constantly converting the bed in the van cabin.
Unlike other campers of this size, which merge their kitchen, living and dining areas into one central space, the Nugget features separate kitchen and living/dining spaces. The L-shaped kitchen in the rear includes a dual-burner stove, sink and 40-L refrigerator box. Both the stove and refrigerator include flush tops that add to the countertop space when closed.
Up ahead of this kitchen, the three-seat rear bench works with swivel driver cab seats and a removable table to create a comfy five-person lounge good for eating, chatting, playing games and just relaxing. An optional folding table and chair set provides for outdoor dining, with an available retractable awning offering shade and weather protection.
The Nugget includes an outdoor shower fed by the 42-liter fresh water tank, and those that prefer to roam with a more complete bathroom can opt for the longer Nugget Plus with standard high roof. This model packs a toilet, foldaway sink and privacy screen into the rear of the van.
Ford is showing the Nugget camper van line this week at the Brussels Motor Show. The vans will be available for order at select Ford dealerships starting this spring, and rollout will begin in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Switzerland. Ford's recent announcement doesn't include pricing information, but a pricing sheet published in August 2018 lists a €52,576 (approx. US$59,875) base price for the pop-top Nugget, €53,178 (US$60,550) for the high-roof Nugget and €58,963 (US$67,150) for the Nugget Plus.
Oh, and if you're looking for something a little more rugged, you might like this Nugget 4x4 conversion from Germany's Extrem Fahrzeuge we spotted just last week at CMT 2019. Looks quite top-heavy for off-roading, but it still exudes adventure.