Writing for a swimming magazine you don’t expect road-testing camper vans to be part of the job but when the team at CMC suggested one of their conversions would make an ideal swim support vehicle we decided to give it a go.
CMC (Concept Multi-Car) have been converting vans into camper vehicles for 25 years and are the only official UK converter of Reimo Volkswagen campervans (Reimo is Europe’s leading developer and manufacturer of VW campervans). We borrowed a T5 Sport Camper and trundled down to Cornwall.
The Sport Camper seats five people and has plenty of luggage space. It’s little longer or wider than a large family car so easy to drive and park and the elevated position gives a great view of the road. The diesel engine rumble suggests adventure from the moment you start.
From a swimmer’s perspective, our favourite feature was the heater. This is an optional extra but well worth having. It runs on diesel using its own generator meaning you can heat the van without starting the engine so you can warm up fast and change in comfort after a chilly dip (you could even leave it running while you swim so that the van is super-heated when you return). Secondly, the elevated roof and generous floor space allows plenty of room for changing. Next, the in-built double burner hob means you can quickly boil a kettle or heat a mug of soup. There’s also a fridge if you prefer cool refreshments after your swim.
For sleeping, the rear seats fold flat to form a comfortable double bed and there’s an additional double bed in the elevated roof although you need to be reasonably agile to scramble up there. It only takes a few minutes to lower the roof and fold the beds away so you can be quickly on your way.
We drove 400 miles on about 60 litres of fuel (equivalent to about 30mpg) and that included prolonged use of the heater. T5 Sport Camper cruises comfortably at 70mph on the motorway but slows a little on steeper hills. With the roof down it’s 2m high so fits into most car parks.
The biggest disappointment for us was having to return it after the review.
From £36,950 new