Automotive

Westfalia's latest Volkswagen camper van literally grows to add foot room

Westfalia's latest Volkswagen ...
Westfalia transforms the new VW Crafter into the Sven Hedin camper 
Westfalia transforms the new VW Crafter into the Sven Hedin camper 
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Westfalia opts for a transverse bed with an optional electrically extendable foot box
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Westfalia opts for a transverse bed with an optional electrically extendable foot box
Westfalia transforms the new VW Crafter into the Sven Hedin camper 
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Westfalia transforms the new VW Crafter into the Sven Hedin camper 
A look at the dining area and swivel driver cab seats
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A look at the dining area and swivel driver cab seats
Westfalia offers an optional winterization package for those who might want to chase powder
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Westfalia offers an optional winterization package for those who might want to chase powder
There's a generous amount of cargo space below the bed, and you can also lift the rear half of the bed out of the way to make more room
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There's a generous amount of cargo space below the bed, and you can also lift the rear half of the bed out of the way to make more room
The Sven Hedin bathroom is cozy, but it offers everything you'd expect from a camper bathroom
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The Sven Hedin bathroom is cozy, but it offers everything you'd expect from a camper bathroom
Westfalia has created a fully equipped camper van out of the Volkswagen Crafter
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Westfalia has created a fully equipped camper van out of the Volkswagen Crafter
The Westfalia Sven Hedin dining/lounge area
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The Westfalia Sven Hedin dining/lounge area
The table can be removed and stored when it's not needed 
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The table can be removed and stored when it's not needed 
A dual-burner stove and sink with easily accessible utensils, dishes and food makes for functional cooking
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A dual-burner stove and sink with easily accessible utensils, dishes and food makes for functional cooking
Blinds drawn for a night of sleep
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Blinds drawn for a night of sleep
The two refrigerated drawers provide 70 liters of cold storage
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The two refrigerated drawers provide 70 liters of cold storage
Westfalia offers a number of engine and transmission pairings, but it does not list a 4Motion all-wheel-drive option ... maybe in the future
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Westfalia offers a number of engine and transmission pairings, but it does not list a 4Motion all-wheel-drive option ... maybe in the future
Westfalia gave the Sven Hedin its UK premiere this month
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Westfalia gave the Sven Hedin its UK premiere this month
Westfalia Sven Hedin
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Westfalia Sven Hedin
A simple dual-burner stove
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A simple dual-burner stove
The bed can be used with or without the extension foot box
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The bed can be used with or without the extension foot box
The bed extension box is insulated and made from fiberglass so it shouldn't affect the warmth of the bed
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The bed extension box is insulated and made from fiberglass so it shouldn't affect the warmth of the bed
Storage cabinets
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Storage cabinets
Wall cubbies help to save space and keep hygiene products at hand 
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Wall cubbies help to save space and keep hygiene products at hand 
Cupboards over the dining area
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Cupboards over the dining area
A look into the bathroom
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A look into the bathroom
If you don't want to break that bike down, you can just flip the bed out of the way and slide it in
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If you don't want to break that bike down, you can just flip the bed out of the way and slide it in
The step to the bed can also be used as storage
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The step to the bed can also be used as storage
Froli springs help create a comfortable night of sleep
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Froli springs help create a comfortable night of sleep
Westfalia Sven Hedin floor plan: You can see the pop out on the left side of the "night" version
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Westfalia Sven Hedin floor plan: You can see the pop out on the left side of the "night" version

The new VW Crafter has been finding its place in the camper van market, in production campers like the Knaus Boxdrive to wild concepts like Volkswagen's own California XXL. But there's no better indication that Volkswagen's latest full-size van has officially arrived on the camper van scene than a new package from Westfalia, the shop whose name will be forever intertwined with VW camper vans and buses. Westfalia turns the new Crafter into a smart, versatile camper with extendable bed, flexible storage and all the amenities you need to spend some time in nature.

While the second-generation Crafter that underpins the 2018 Sven Hedin is one of the latest vans on the market, the Sven Hedin itself isn't a new model. In fact, Westfalia has been building it since the 1970s, first on the VW LT, the Crafter's predecessor, and later on other vans like the Mercedes Sprinter. The new Sven Hedin capitalizes on the Crafter's impressive suite of driver-assistance technologies while fitting a bedroom, kitchen, indoor bathroom, dining area and plenty of storage inside.

The Crafter is large enough to inspire converters to add a full bathroom, unlike smaller campers in which the closest thing to a bathroom is a storage compartment for a portable toilet. However, it's not quite large enough to accommodate the bathroom and all the other fixins without a little extra strategy on laying out the interior.

In their respective Crafter campers, Volkswagen and Knaus address bathroom spacing with expandable bathroom compartments that extend out over the kitchen/hall floor space. Each uses a different system, but the idea is the same: grow the bathroom interior while in use, retract it back to free up space when not in use.

The Sven Hedin bathroom is cozy, but it offers everything you'd expect from a camper bathroom
The Sven Hedin bathroom is cozy, but it offers everything you'd expect from a camper bathroom

While Westfalia places its bathroom in the same place, amidships across from the kitchen, it uses a simpler, smaller fixed layout. A swivel toilet and corner sink help to save space inside the small wet bath, and wall-integrated cubbies hold soap, shampoo and other hygiene staples. A door provides privacy. The Sven Hedin's bath compartment definitely looks more claustrophobic than the aforementioned expandable baths, but it does beat the other alternative – no indoor bathroom at all.

Westfalia also has its own ideas on how to best provide a comfortable sleeping experience without eating up too much interior floor space. Volkswagen actually extends out the bodywork on its California XXL concept, and Knaus cuts out a central chunk of its bed to add floor space. Both beds are longitudinally mounted, but Westfalia opts to swing the bed into transverse position. In order to provide the full 6.6 feet (2 m) of length that it wants for sleepers, an optional electrically extendable foot panel is added that pushes out the side of the van inside a fiberglass pop-out. This module is insulated, so it presumably keeps all 10 piggies nice and warm (or cool). When the bed's not in use, the pop-out retracts flush with the van side, maintaining the standard van width and aerodynamics on the road.

The bed extension box is insulated and made from fiberglass so it shouldn't affect the warmth of the bed
The bed extension box is insulated and made from fiberglass so it shouldn't affect the warmth of the bed

The bed is also raised up, creating an empty cargo space below that can be used to load gear or luggage. The rear half of the bed can fold out of the way, too, making room for taller cargo. On the other side of the bed, the step that helps campers climb up doubles as a storage compartment for shoes or slippers.

The kitchen area plays host to the familiar camper van mix of dual-burner stove, sink, countertop and storage drawers. An innovative feature here is a specially designed dual-drawer refrigerator system that offers 70 liters of cold storage, replacing the more common stand-up refrigerator to save space. A high-mounted cabinet over the top of the dinette stores dishes and other serving ware.

The two refrigerated drawers provide 70 liters of cold storage
The two refrigerated drawers provide 70 liters of cold storage

The dining/lounge area features a two-seat bench, swivel driver cab seats and a retractable table top in between. This particular dinette does not convert into a bed, meaning that the Sven Hedin sleeps only two people (unless, we suppose, someone doesn't mind sleeping sitting up in a seat or on the floor).

The Sven Hedin includes a 100 L fresh water tank, 84 L waste water tank and a 4.8-kW hot water heater that heats the interior and also delivers hot water at the tap. A 92 Ah AGM battery powers onboard equipment like the touch-operated LED lighting.

The base Sven Hedin relies on Volkswagen's 101-hp 2.0-liter TDI engine and six-speed manual to power the front wheels. Westfalia does not list a 4Motion option, but it does offer the eight-speed automatic transmission and larger engine options up to a 174-hp TDI.

Standard vehicle equipment includes a radio with TFT display and Bluetooth, a remote-controlled locking system, an engine start-stop system with brake recuperation, and various assistive technologies like crosswind assistance and brake assist. Available options include heated front seats, added driver-assistance features like lane keeping and ParkPilot, and an infotainment/nav system with 8-in touchscreen.

Westfalia has created a fully equipped camper van out of the Volkswagen Crafter
Westfalia has created a fully equipped camper van out of the Volkswagen Crafter

Westfalia presented the Sven Hedin at the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon and gave it a UK premiere at last week's Motorhome & Caravan Show. The camper van starts at €59,990/£59,100 (approx. US$70K based on euro conversion) when equipped with the 101-hp engine and six-speed manual. Options like the extendable bed with pop-out, second AGM battery and outdoor shower are available at extra cost. For more pricing details, you can check out the price lists on Westfalia's downloads page.

Source: Westfalia

3 comments
Daishi
With a 101 hp engine in something that big and heavy you could make dinner in the back in the time it takes to go from 0-60 but it is reasonably priced.
usugo
Always finding dumb solutions to already brilliantly solved problems. With a tall roof, a tilting bed over the front seats would work perfectly. Without having to stick your feet outside, and making the interior much roomier.
Szigyártó Mihály
The two pictures of day and night seems to be identical.