Germany's VanTourer makes a series of slick, versatile Fiat- and Peugeot-based camper vans, and for the 2019 model year, it has optimized the interiors to offer up to 40 percent more load space. The highly functional camper vans also include multi-position rear beds that clear the way for bikes and other cargo and also fold into couch position so that van lifers can enjoy big views out the rear doors. Van touring just got a little better.

Creating a camper van is a precise process of carefully arranging just the right level of features in a way that keeps things comfortable and not cramped or claustrophobic. For its latest camper vans, VanTourer took this type of meticulous space management even further, using some smart, simple and effective strategies.

VanTourer started off by pulling the heated fresh water tank out of the rear load area of the van and mounting it below the floor between the rear wheels. This not only saves valuable interior space, but it lowers the van's center of gravity, which should improve handling. The tank is finished in a weather-protective coating and beveled to improve departure angle. It can still be easily accessed via a trap door in the van floor.

From there, VanTourer swapped the gas heating system for a Truma Combi diesel heat/hot water system that's piped to the vehicle's diesel tank. Instead of requiring a larger 11-kg (24.3-lb) gas cylinder for heating and cooking, each van now needs only a 3-kg (6.6-lb) cylinder for the dual-burner stove.

With those two changes, VanTourer was able to slim down the rear cabinetry previously built around the larger tanks, creating a more spacious, versatile cargo area. In fact, it says the rear load area is up to 40 percent larger now.

The bed is located in the new space-optimized load area, and it folds away to make room for bicycles and gear, but in a different way from the side-folding central bed panels popular on other European camper vans. The rear bed on the VanTourer 600 L and 630 L has a forward-folding panel that clears room for a bicycle secured transversely in back.

That same folding panel can also be used to create a lounge facing into the van, while a separate folding panel at the foot of the bed creates a reversed lounge that looks out the rear doors, providing a great way to enjoy the view with a cup of morning coffee. Both the 600 and 630 L models feature a longitudinal bed cut into a V at the foot, splitting the difference between a double bed and dual singles.

Up ahead of the rear bed, each VanTourer camper van includes a standard compact wet bath or a more spacious optional en suite bathroom. The standard driver-side bathroom compartment includes a toilet, shower and sink, and the en suite bathroom opens up space by pulling the central aisle into the bathroom behind a curved roller door, a solution we've seen on vans from other manufacturers like Knaus and Pössl. When the bathroom is not in use, the door slides out of the way and allows for free passage between bed and front cabin.

The kitchen area is simple but capable, combining the usual dual-burner stove and sink, both with flat worktops. It also comes with either a 75- or 90-liter fridge/freezer, depending upon model. A fold-down countertop extension provides more work space when needed.

The dining area across from the kitchen includes a dual-leaf table with an extension that swings out to feed all four people seated at the swivel seats and rear bench, then swings away under the main tabletop to make room for the ladder up to the optional pop-up roof.

Other standard onboard equipment on all four VanTourer floor plans includes a 105-L fresh water tank, 95-Ah AGM battery, 12V LED lighting, command center with battery, water and electrical monitoring, single 230V outlet and dual 12V and USB outlets, and an 85-L under-floor waste water tank.

The multi-fold rear beds of the 600 L and 630 L models are what caught our attention when walking through the CMT show last week, but VanTourer's 540 D and 600 D campers also include a versatile rear load area thanks to a drop-down bed design that lets you lift the bed to clear out space for bikes, boards and the like. The bed can be secured at any height between the highest and lowest settings so you can sleep up high while keeping your gear locked away for the night. The design also allows for a four-sleeper rear bunk bed configuration.

All in all, VanTourers models were among the most versatile, smartly packaged adventure vans we saw at CMT, and the space-saving measures taken for the 2019 models makes them that much more intriguing. Base prices range between €43,490 and 46,990 (approx. US$49,200 and $53,150) when built on a 113-hp Fiat Ducato. Options include the en suite bathroom, pop-up roof with bed and outdoor awning, among plenty of others. VanTourer also offers the same floor plans in "Activ" models based on a 109-hp Peugeot Boxer van.

Source: VanTourer

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