Vanco Deluxe Pop-top

By: Steve Vermeulen, Photography by: Steve Vermeulen


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Vanco Motorhomes is actively targeting younger audiences, as well as city dwelling couples, with the latest of its Camper models

Vanco Deluxe Pop-top
Vanco Deluxe Pop-top
  • Self-containment certified
  • Simple, spacious layout looks clean
  • Pop-top offers natural light and ventilation
  • Latest model Hiace provides significant enhancements

Vanco has a history of providing not just cost-effective entries into campervans (its base camper comes in for under $40k), but also well-equipped, well-built and attractively styled ones at that. All the vitals for any newbies.

This new deluxe pop-top comes in at the upper end of this category at $75,000, suitably stepping up the appeal and specification to justify the extra outlay. It also presents a fantastic option for those in urban living situations – this comfortably parks in a garage or will fit in most underground car parks.

Engineering and design

This Vanco is underpinned by the latest version of the Hiace. The chassis has received significant enhancements so there’s a stronger safety cell, and occupants now benefit from dual airbags. Additionally, the overall shape is squarer, so the living space is less confined, there’s improved visibility and more opening windows, and this one is finished with attractive alloys and faux wood grain cabin trim.

The headroom has been expanded with the inclusion of a pop-top roof; the sizable fibreglass roof extension is Vanco’s own design, but is one of the few modifications built off-site, by a local specialist. Vanco then cuts the section out of the roof and fits the unit.

Vanco’s pop-top is locked into place with four simple latches and lifts out supported with the scissor-action framework. The durable tent canvas is weather tight, but when you need to close the roof and head off the canvas tidily tucks into itself and the whole assembly is collapsed in 30 seconds.

As with all of Vanco’s designs, these can be tailored to a specific vehicle. If you have a van already, Robert Baille and his experienced team can retro-fit the pop top, or cabinetry to suit.

The materials used in this model are appropriately upmarket in comparison with the entry-level variants of Vanco’s camper range; plain white cabinets give way to a tasteful light oak veneer and everything from the tap fixtures and flooring surfaces to the solid timber magazine rack at the rear of the vehicle suggest high quality.

Sure, it’s not the gin palace interior of mega-dollar motorhomes, but everything meets snugly into its adjoining part; it’s functional, well thought out and is pleasingly rattle-free on the road.

Interior layout

The design is notably less busy than previously reviewed models, and this way best maximises the compact floor area.

Entrance to the living space is via the left-hand sliding door into the L-cove seating area, which includes two drawers to accommodate enough clothing for an extended weekend on the road. The small cupboard for the gas bottle (2 x 4kg supplied) doubles as a coffee table/bedside cabinet and the sink and cooker are on opposite sides of the vehicle.

For night configuration the bed converts easily, with a slide-out base housed beneath the seating and the five squabs assemble to form the mattress. Fewer joins in the sleeping surface is preferable, but it’s a necessary evil with most vehicles of this type. Top tip: An inexpensive foam overlay from the warehouse keeps you from falling into the crevices.

Unusual for inexpensive campers, a dedicated house battery charged with a smart charge system keeps the beer cold in the standard 40-litre fridge as well as ensuring the 14" LCD television and interior lighting is operational throughout the evening.

All of the Vanco campers are equipped with a portable toilet and importantly, this is a certified self-contained camper. A really cool feature at this end of the market is the outdoor shower, which makes this a viable option for short stints of freedom camping at more remote locations; there is also 60 litres of fresh and 60 litres of grey water storage.

It’s all so simple, but still feels quite special. There’s an obvious degree of craftsmanship and plenty of convenience features that really appeals to new comers to the market looking for a cost effective option. The real beauty for budget-conscious though is, being such a simple and economical vehicle, this can still double as your car or at least a secondary family vehicle.

Specifications

Base vehicle 2006 Toyota Hiace
Engine 2.7-litre petrol
Power supply 12-volt/240-volt. House battery with smart charger
Fridge 12-volt, 40-litre
Gas hob Two-burner
Hot water Pressurised/gas heated
Fresh water 60 litres
Grey water 60 litres
Gas 2 x 4kg LPG
Toilet Portable
Shower Outdoor
TV 14" LCD


 

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