Automotive

Glavan walls off the VW T6 to create a cozy adventure camper van for two

Glavan walls off the VW T6 to ...
Glavan shows the Free camper van at the 2018 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon
Glavan shows the Free camper van at the 2018 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon
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Glavan paints its Free camper vans with some serious color
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Glavan paints its Free camper vans with some serious color
The divider wall inside is a storage cabinet/kitchen outside
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The divider wall inside is a storage cabinet/kitchen outside
The divider wall makes the Glavan Free interior feel less like a van, more like a room
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The divider wall makes the Glavan Free interior feel less like a van, more like a room
The divider wall takes away your cargo area, so you'll have to load gear up on a rack or trailer (not that you'd necessarily be fitting bikes in a Transporter camper van, anyway)
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The divider wall takes away your cargo area, so you'll have to load gear up on a rack or trailer (not that you'd necessarily be fitting bikes in a Transporter camper van, anyway)
The Free is built atop a 16-foot VW Transporter with 148-hp engine
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The Free is built atop a 16-foot VW Transporter with 148-hp engine
Glavan puts its signature design into the VW Transporter
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Glavan puts its signature design into the VW Transporter
The Free starts at €31,639 before tax
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The Free starts at €31,639 before tax
Glavan offers the bike rack optionally
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Glavan offers the bike rack optionally
Glavan calls this one "Pinky" 
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Glavan calls this one "Pinky" 
Glavan shows the Free camper van at the 2018 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon
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Glavan shows the Free camper van at the 2018 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon
We almost walked right on past the Glavan Free at the Caravan Salon, but we decided to have a closer look
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We almost walked right on past the Glavan Free at the Caravan Salon, but we decided to have a closer look
The kitchen area slides out of the rear cabinet unit
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The kitchen area slides out of the rear cabinet unit
The kitchen area stores away quickly and neatly
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The kitchen area stores away quickly and neatly
The Free features a refrigerator drawer
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The Free features a refrigerator drawer
Inside the Glavan Free
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Inside the Glavan Free
Inside the Glavan Free
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Inside the Glavan Free
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After looking over dozens of Volkswagen Transporter camper vans, they can start to appear a dime a dozen. A kitchen against the side of the van, a rear bench that folds into a bed, a pop-up roof - it's been done over and over. At this year's Düsseldorf Caravan Salon, Slovenia's Glavan showed a Transporter camper van laid out a little differently. The company's two-person "Free" adventure van pulls the kitchen out of the van and puts a wall between the cabin and lift-gate, creating a warmer interior that feels more like an actual bedroom and not so much just a van shell with bed.

When we first spotted it, the Glavan Free looked much like other T6 camper vans in Düsseldorf - throwback dual-color paint, flowery graphics, a surfboard on top, and an open sliding door teasing the cabin. In fact, we almost kept right on walking because we had had about our fill of predictable T6 conversions by that point, and this one popped up outside as we were walking quickly between halls.

But we decided to stop for a quick peek, and we're glad we did because the Free is a little bit different, offering a unique atmosphere for the wandering #vanlife couple. The interior is cozier than most thanks to the fixed 77 x 59-in (196 x 150-cm) bed and the rear wall that completely separates the interior from the rear of the van. The bed lays atop storage shelves and drawers below. Full wall upholstery, a headliner with integrated lights, and high, longitudinal cabinets finish off the cabin.

The Düsseldorf van also had a swivel-mount TV, but it appeared to be more for the show presentation - we're not seeing it on any of the vans in Glavan's photos.

The divider wall makes the Glavan Free interior feel less like a van, more like a room
The divider wall makes the Glavan Free interior feel less like a van, more like a room

With the rear wall and top-to-bottom upholstery and trim, the Free could make you all but forget you're in a van. It manages to feel a bit more like a cozy bedroom.

The divider wall isn't merely a way of closing in the cabin, as it finds serious use around back. Instead of disrupting the interior bedroom with a kitchen block, Glavan has integrated the kitchen into a tall cabinet inside the lift-gate. That kitchen slides out to present a sink and stove with grill plate. The Dometic compressor refrigerator drawer sits below the countertop that holds the stove.

So Glavan's Free design pulls you outside when it's time to cook and eat while also giving you a more cozy bedroom to retire to.

The kitchen area slides out of the rear cabinet unit
The kitchen area slides out of the rear cabinet unit

While Glavan's rear-wall design does create a cozier, homier interior, it's not without drawbacks. Some would undoubtedly prefer the extra versatility afforded by an open load area, whether for ventilation, views/light or cargo hauling. In fact, if Instagram photos are any indication, sitting on your camper van bed and enjoying the local views through the fully open rear door(s) is one of the official pastimes of #vanlife - that's a no-go in the Free.

The rear wall seems like it might also interfere with the possibility of a pop-up roof. We guess there aren't any rear van seats, anyway, so the Free is really more a getaway van for couples and solo adventurers than a family camper. But it seems limiting not to have a pop-up roof option for added sleeping capacity - maybe Glavan will add a four-sleeper layout or larger model later down the line.

Features and equipment the Free does have include a 70-L fresh water tank, electrical system with 100-Ah battery, USB and 220-V outlets, Bluetooth-equipped command/monitoring system, skylight and retractable awning. It also has an outdoor table and chairs for dining. The T6 base van comes with a 148-hp 2.0-liter TDI engine and measures 16 feet (4.9 m) long. Pricing starts at €31,639 (approx. US$37,240) before tax, and available equipment includes a cassette toilet, bike rack and second skylight.

Source: Glavan

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