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Toyota campervan takes on VW California

Tue, 12 Nov 2013 00:00:00 -0800

Always had that urge to be a carefree campervan fan, but so absolutely hung up on vehicle reliability that you can’t leave the driveway without checking the oil and making sure all the electric windows work? What if we said you could have a camper based on a Toyota – like this new Proace conversion from G&P.

Sandon-based G&P has just unveiled the new Proace camper at the 2013 Motorhome and Caravan Show. Built on the long-wheelbase version of the Toyota Proace van and available with a 1.6-litre or 2.0-litre turbodiesel, this is a fully fitted mobile home, ready to rival the likes of the Volkswagen California.

On Bing: see pictures of the Toyota Proace campervanOn Bing: see pictures of the Volkswagen California

While Volkswagen remains the only car manufacturer to build campervans itself – which is not to say there isn’t a thriving trade in third party VW van conversions as well – plenty of other vehicles are offered as mobile homes by expert customisers like this.

For the show car, G&P has equipped the Proace camper with everything a four-wheeled wanderer might want, including a kitchen with hob, sink, microwave and fridge-freezer, a dining table, wardrobe space, a utility shower and a ‘portable toilet system’. We won’t ask too much about the last one.

For on-campsite entertainment there’s a TV and plug sockets for powering other devices, plus swivelling seats, a non-slip floor and blackout curtains for comfort. The sleeping arrangements comprise a roof bed under the elevated top section and a ‘rock-and-roll’ bed downstairs.

There’s even an electrically operated exterior step to make access easier. G&P is also fully able to tailor the van to customers’ exact specifications, with each build typically taking five to six weeks.

Underlining that reliability is a chief motivating factor here, G&P proprietor Gez Clifford:

"We have plenty of experience working in the past with the Toyota Powervan, which was very popular up to the time production ended two years ago. We are confident Proace can prove just as successful, Toyota is highly regarded and we’ve received endless comments about the reliability of their vehicles and solid look of the new Proace."

And although the Proace isn’t an official Toyota product, that UK arm of the Japanese manufacturer has still given the G&P Proace its seal of approval. Toyota’s general manger, fleet and vehicle remarketing, Neil Broad:

"G&P did a fantastic job with the conversion it prepared for the NEC show and we hope that it will be able to help build a strong following for Proace by demonstrating just what a versatile and user-friendly camper van it can make."

The price of the 2.0-litre turbodiesel Proace campervan conversion pictured is £34,999, including £2,000 in optional extras – bringing it in just under the £35,370 it costs to buy an entry level California Beach from Volkswagen. Available to order to you specification now.

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By CJ Hubbard, contributor, MSN Cars