For a 30-year period from around 1970 through 2000, conversion vans were everywhere. Popularity waned after that, but with the continual development of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Ford Transit, full-size camper vans could be staging a comeback. Case-in-point is the new Transit Custom Nugget – a customizable van that buyers can order directly through Ford dealerships in Europe.
The van starts life as a typical full-size Transit Custom, which Ford then turns into a neat camper with help from well-known camping outfit Westfalia. The Nugget is available in either a standard or long wheelbase format, with the latter having enough space inside for a built-in toilet. Buyers can also choose between a fixed high roof or a foldable roof, but either choice provides sleeping arrangement for four adults.
From there, the Nugget is all about space management. The design allows for a three-room layout, featuring a small L-shaped kitchen at the back with a living/dining area in the middle. A modest bedroom takes up the roof space, with a second double bed ready to fold out in the dining area. The Nugget boasts a two-burner propane stove and a small refrigerator, and a pair of built-in 42-litre tanks handle fresh and waste water. There’s even a shower rigged up at the back of the van.
The bones are typical Ford Transit built to European specifications. Power comes from a 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel tuned to produce either 128 or 168 bhp, managed by either a manual or automatic transmission with six speeds. Performance definitely isn’t a priority for the Nugget.
That hasn’t stopped people from buying Blue Oval vans, however. Ford says the Transit Custom is the top-selling Euro-market van in its class, and as far as motorhomes are concerned, sales in Europe are up almost 15 percent. That’s certainly good news for camping enthusiasts, as it might prompt more automakers to follow Ford’s lead with in-house conversion van options.
The 2019 Transit Connect Custom Nugget will be on display this weekend at the Brussels Motor Show in Belgium.
Gallery: 2019 Ford Transit Custom Nugget
ADVENTUROUS TRANSIT CUSTOM NUGGET CAMPER NOW AVAILABLE DIRECT FROM FORD DEALERS IN SELECTED MARKETS
- Ford introduces versatile and practical Transit Custom Nugget camper in key European markets. Popular Nugget conversion developed with camper specialist Westfalia
- Nugget enables adventurous owners to roam in comfort, with a well-equipped kitchenette and sleeping for four. Long-wheelbase Nugget Plus features built-in toilet and hand basin
- Nugget owners benefit from advanced driver-assistance technologies and can cover even more miles between fuel stops thanks to the fuel-efficient 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engine
COLOGNE, Germany, Jan. 18, 2019 – Ford will offer adventure-loving camper van customers across Europe an exciting new alternative as the Transit Custom Nugget becomes available to order direct from Ford dealers in selected markets from this spring.
Based on the market-leading Ford Transit Custom and converted by Ford’s long-term motorhome specialist partner Westfalia, the Nugget camper is already established as a popular choice of camper in Germany.
The latest Transit Custom Nugget benefits from the enhanced refinement and advanced technology of Ford’s best-selling Transit family, including Ford’s SYNC 3 connectivity and entertainment system that will help keep adventurers connected on the move. Innovative design and high-quality conversion work creates a cosy home-from-home.
The Nugget camper can sleep up to four people, with one comfortable double bed that folds out in the roof space, and a second in the living area. A long-wheelbase Nugget Plus model provides even more stowage space and a built-in toilet with a foldaway wash basin.
New motorhome sales rose by 14.9 per cent to almost 111,000 in 2017, exceeding 100,000 units in the European market for the first time.* To help meet growing demand, the Transit Custom Nugget will be rolled out across Europe from 2019 starting with Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.
Customers will be able to view the Nugget camper on the Ford stand at the Brussels Motor Show, Belgium, from today.
“More and more customers are recognising the freedom and fun that camper vans can offer, and we’re excited to be able to offer a greater number of adventure-seekers our Transit Custom Nugget, which is already much-loved in Germany,” said Hans Schep, general manager, Commercial Vehicles, Ford of Europe. “Transit Custom’s comfortable cabin, advanced driver assistance technologies like SYNC 3, and fuel-efficient 2.0‑litre EcoBlue engine make it the perfect platform for the Nugget camper.”
All the comforts of home
The Transit Custom Nugget offers the choice of an adjustable tilt roof or a fixed high roof; the Nugget Plus features a high roof as standard. The Nugget’s innovative design creates a three-room layout with an L-shaped kitchenette at the rear, a spacious living and dining area in the centre and comfortable sleeping quarters in the roof.
An attractive wood-effect floor throughout the passenger compartment is practical and easy to clean, and an auxiliary heating system keeps occupants comfortable while the vehicle is parked up for the night. In addition to the bed in the upper level, a second double bed folds out in the living area when required.
A double-burner gas cooker and chrome-nickel steel sink in the kitchenette enable preparation of warm meals following active days out. Food supplies stay fresh inside a 40-litre compressor refrigerator, and both fresh and waste water is supplied from on-board tanks, each with a capacity of 42 litres. The tanks also supply an outdoor shower at the rear of the vehicle.
Up to five people can gather around the interior’s fold-out table to eat and socialise, with room for three on a forward-facing bench, while the driver and front passenger seats swivel 180 degrees to face the rear – the turning action made easier by a folding handbrake. An available fold-out table with two chairs and a retractable awning allow al fresco dining.
All vehicles feature rear privacy glass, flip-open windows for the second row and a heated window for the tailgate. Additional options include a premium sound system and racks for bikes and sports equipment.
The Nugget Plus is 36.7 centimetres longer than the standard version. The extra space is used to provide a larger wardrobe and an area at the rear housing a built-in toilet and an additional folding washbasin, which can be shielded by a retractable screen.
Fewer fuel stops on the journey
The Transit Custom Nugget is powered by Ford’s state-of-the art 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engine optimised for fuel-efficiency while delivering refinement and enhanced low-end torque.
Customers can specify 130 PS and 170 PS versions, each available with six-speed manual or a responsive six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission, and delivering from 6.3 l/100 km fuel-efficiency and 165 g/km CO2 emissions. ** Standard selective catalytic reduction emissions after-treatment contributes to improved NOX reduction.
The driver and front-seat passenger are provided with class-leading stowage space while on the move, and displays and control panels have been designed for enhanced ergonomics and ease of use. Ford’s available SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system can be operated using simple voice commands or with pinch and swipe gestures on a tablet-inspired 8-inch colour touchscreen.
A range of advanced new driver assistance technologies from Ford’s latest passenger cars utilise sophisticated sensors, radars and cameras to provide information about the driving environment around the vehicle. These include Cross Traffic Alert, Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, rear wide-view camera and Adaptive Cruise Control.
The Transit Custom is the top selling vehicle in the European one-tonne van segment with 131,800 vehicles sold in 2018.