One of the issues with vans designed for hauling gear is that they often have so much room dedicated to said equipment that they leave precious little room for the most important cargo of all – people. What good is gear if no one's there to use it? The Opel Vivaro Surf Concept takes a different approach, hauling 141 cu ft (4 cu m) of cargo in back while still providing seating for five or six people.

When you do all of your van-based adventuring with one other person, you have an entire market of designs that can fit the two of you up front while carrying all forms of sports and camping gear in the cabin. The Lava Flow is one particularly versatile option we looked at recently.

As you start to add more and more family members and friends, however, your options shrink. Any given van only has so much room, so if you're hauling paddleboards and bikes in the cabin, you probably won't have room for many, if any, seats. It's all about sacrifices and compromises.

Opel cuts down on the sacrificing and compromising by building upon the CrewCab version of its Vivaro van to give you the best of both worlds. The Surf concept van's cabin is neatly divided into a passenger area with space for five or six people, depending upon chosen seating layout, and a cargo area with 141 cu ft (4 cu m) of space in long wheelbase trim or 113 cu ft (3.2 cu m) in standard wheelbase. The passenger/cargo cell divider keeps passengers comfortably separated from the potentially wet, dirty, rank gear in back.

Beyond raw space, the Surf concept offers some smart storage solutions. The cargo area floor includes a rail system for securing down gear. The drawers under the second row are sized to keep smaller items neatly organized. The roof rack up top carries large sports gear.

The Vivaro Surf is built for road trips of all lengths and styles, and while it's not equipped with overnighting capabilities, it is designed for on-road comfort and leisure. The integrated Wi-Fi hotspot lets passengers while away downtime doing the other type of surfing. The leather seating comes courtesy of Opel's Irmscher Tourer package, and blue sidewall and roof liner lighting create a cool interior ambiance. Velour mats and an optional parking heater complete the upgraded interior package.

Below its copper-and-white body, the Vivaro Surf is driven by a 138-hp (103-kW) 1.6-liter biturbo CDTI engine. The rear air suspension system eats bumps and lowers the van's total height to 6.2 feet (1.9 m), helping it navigate parking decks and garages. Other standard equipment includes LED daytime running lamps, heated side-view mirrors, Park Assist with rear-view camera, and the latest Navi 50 IntelliLink infotainment system with 7-in touchscreen, traffic information and Siri Eyes Free.

Opel calls the Vivaro Surf a close-to-production concept, and while it stops short of confirming production, it does say that the package could be offered as a limited edition in the near future. Given that the company also discusses different wheelbases and options – a strange thing to do for a one-off show van – we expect to see a Surf-inspired package show up somewhere down the line.

The Vivaro Surf Concept will make its debut at next week's Frankfurt Motor Show. Gizmag will be there to check it out and bring you any additional details.

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