Every now and again I wish someone would come up with a proper name for large van motorhome conversions. That is, motorhomes like the Elddis Autoquest CV20 from the RV Leisure Centre, Nelson, which is based on a Fiat Ducato Multijet 130 van.
Some people call them campervans, which really gives the wrong impression to the uninitiated (especially if they have a bathroom).
But given their size, they are not really like a coach-built motorhome either. A dilemma for sure. In my head I tend to use the term motorcamper, but that would just confuse everyone!
Enough of the naming philosophy; what does the Autoquest CV20 have to offer someone looking for a smaller motorhome? As noted above, it is based on a Fiat Ducato van which has an external length of 5999mm.
Couldn’t they just add a bumper sticker to make it an easy 6000mm? The CV20 gets a 96KW/320Nm turbo diesel, along with Fiat’s standard six-speed AMT gearbox and 15-inch alloy wheels.
For those who like automatics, that is one up on the Brits, who get a manual gearbox. With a GVM of 3500kg and mass in running order of 2835kg, giving it a payload of 665kg, it’s something many a coach-built owner would be happy with!
Double-glazed acrylic windows are supplied all round, including for the rear doors. Elddis appear to have solved the issue of the vehicle sliding door making contact with the opened rear nearside window by having a non-opening one!
As usual with a van conversion, there aren’t any external storage bins, just the external bin doors for the toilet cassette tank and the gas cylinder bin. In the latter case, that is just a temporary arrangement until the underslung gas tank gets approved by the gas authorities.
Underslung is certainly a well-used term with this little motorhome; in addition to the LPG tank, also under the chassis are the Whale Expanse dual fuel (gas/electric) water heater, the Whale 4KW gas/electric heater and the 90-litre fresh water and 45-litre grey water tanks.
Apart from anything else, all that underslung gear saves a fair bit of room in the van space above. Inside, the CV20 has a fairly simple floor plan.
There are two single day/night lounges in the rear, a nearside kitchen bench that protrudes into the sliding door entry area, an offside bathroom cubicle and a fridge cabinet behind the driver’s seat. Both cab seats swivel around, but the driver’s one is slightly blocked by the fridge.
It’s not an obvious feature, but there’s a seal that runs the length of the overhead lockers at the lower edge. That’s to minimise doors rattling when driving along.
Access to the motorhome from the rear is quite easy via the van barn doors. As with many an LED lighting system these days, this one is quite well set up, with a mixture of reading lights, down lights under the overhead lockers and semi-concealed strip lighting in the ceiling.
It is all very effective. The electrics are fairly easy to control. There are two touch pads above the passenger seat, while the manual switching is done via the panel under the offside seat that contains both 230V circuit breakers and 12V fusing.
By day and night
The two sideways-facing lounges measure 1880mm x 675mm, making them a good length for single beds. That means it’s possible to have your cake and eat it too, in that the beds can be left made up for nighttime use and be used as seats during the day.
Stowed to the panel behind the driver’s seat is a rectangular table that can be set up quite easily at mealtimes between the seats. Having folding legs, it can also be used outdoors with a couple of camping chairs.
In case you were wondering, there’s a fair bit of storage space under both seats, which should be enough for all the camping essentials like hoses and power leads, plus a bit of space left over.
Above the seats, overhead lockers are fitted on both sides and there’s a small flat-screen TV mounted on the rear-facing wall of the bathroom, so it can be viewed easily.
Fitted into the benchtop are a Thetford three-burner hob and a round stainless steel sink. There isn’t much space for anything else, but there is a hinged extension at the seat end of the bench.
Perhaps I’m a bit messy, but I reckon a plastic sheet on the seat at meal preparation times might be a good idea. That other kitchen essential, a microwave oven, is fitted into the overhead locker space above the hob.
There’s plenty of under-bench storage, with a total of five drawers and a multi-shelved cupboard. Between the bathroom and the driver’s seat, the Thetford 90-litre fridge sits above a small cupboard – no bending over to get to the fridge for a change.
It’s a compressor fridge that operates on 12V only, a little something to keep in mind if planning extended stays off the grid; adequately rated solar panels might be a consideration.
Fitted out a little differently, the bathroom comes with a Thetford cassette toilet and a small vanity setup against the outside wall which includes a pedestal-style wash basin, mirror door shaving cabinet and a small shelf area. The shower rose is shared with the wash basin and hooks on to the wall via a flexible hose when it’s time to sluice off.
The starting price for the CV20 is $121,100, but the team at the RV Leisure Centre do offer a number of options like an awning, satellite dish, 19-inch TV, bike rack, reversing camera and 100W solar panel. I reckon a couple of those, like the awning and solar panel, are almost mandatory.
It’s not too hard to see how anyone looking for a small motorhome should put the Autoquest CV20 on their list. It’s certainly great for a couple who might still be working and want a weekend escape machine.
Being self-contained, it’s also great for a solo traveller, particularly the ladies who may wish to lock themselves in overnight. Best of all, it’s a highly manoeuvrable motorhome that is easy to drive and easy to park.
Specifications Elddis Autoquest CV20
|Vehicle make/model||Elddis Autoquest CV20|
|Engine||Fiat Ducato 130 2.4-Litre turbo diesel|
|Approx overall length||5999mm|
|Approx overall width||2050mm|
|Fresh/grey water tank||90L/45L|
|Gas||25 Litre underslung|
- Easy driving/easy parking motorhome
- Great for two and even better for one
- Decent sized bathroom
- Relatively good internal storage
- LPG capacity (if it gets approved)
- Kitchen storage facility
- Lack of rear window opening/sliding door contact
- Shelf above driver’s cab means the occasional bumped head
- Minimal benchtop area
- Swivelled driver’s seat partly blocked
For more information, visit rvleisurecentre.co.nz.