The 2012 Frontline Adventurer is built for lightweight travel. But for many, that’s just part of the attraction.
Campervans aren’t for everyone, that’s for sure, but they are excellent for those who love lightweight travel or for those who still work and need around-town transport as well. Also, as Frontline Camper Conversions proprietor Peter Farrugia pointed out with a smile, there are those who owned a VW Kombi in the ’70s and want to relive their youth… or something like that.
All these profound thoughts passed through my mind as I looked over this Volkswagen T5-based 2012 model Adventurer campervan from Frontline. There are still plenty of reasons for owning a campervan and even this writer, who prefers not to
Our review Adventurer came with the 103kw motor and the auto gearbox. This is a good combination for most drivers, but if you want a little more response then the 132kw motor would be a better choice.
The VW cab comes with all the usual features and safety items that are expected in a modern vehicle. The only slight disappointment is that the standard VW radio/cd player doesn’t include a 3.5mm socket for an ipod/iphone/mp3 player connection.
From the outside, the Fiamma awning, fridge vents and water fillers are some clues that the VW T5 is a converted van. The pop-top roof is integrated very well into the van’s profile, especially as the van is white. Optional tinted windows were included with this vehicle.
Setting up the Adventurer for day use doesn’t take long at all. It’s just a matter of opening the sliding door, releasing the four pop-top roof straps and pushing up the roof, which is made quite easy by the gas struts. There are various styles of poptop roof, either hinged at the rear or the full roof. Front-hinged or even side-hinged, which are used in Europe, are less common here. An advantage of the full rising roof is that air circulation is most effective in warmer weather.
Unless the weather is really cold, the optional Fiamma awning does a good job of protecting the side of the van from both sun and rain. Many people only think of awnings in terms of the sun but a partially-open awning is very effective in keeping the rain away from an open sliding door.
As I mentioned earlier, the T5 has a flat floor which makes access to and from the driver’s cab quite easy. It also allows a swivelling passenger seat to be incorporated into the design.
The Adventurer’s layout is quite simple, with a kitchen/storage cabinet along the offside and a day/ night lounge taking up the mid-section. The lounge can be used for passengers and has two optional seat belts fitted. It can be used for sitting on when stopped or folded down into a bed by night. A single pole-mounted table, normally stored behind the driver’s seat, can be used in conjunction with the rear seat. The rear area has a platform and large cushion for that purpose.
Directly behind the passenger seat is a swivelmounted cabinet that has a cupboard below and an Origo two-burner cooktop above. It uses methylated spirits for fuel, making the Adventurer LPG free. The metho-fired cooktop might be a little slower but does save on the space needed for a gas cylinder. Having the cooktop on a swivel mount means it can be used inside or out. It is definitely easier to use outside, with the added benefit of minimising cooking odours inside. The swivelled cab seat can only be used when the cooktop cabinet is swung out.
Fitting out the kitchen in a van conversion can be challenging but the Adventurer arrangement shows
years of experience. On the benchtop is a stainless steel washing up bowl with a flick-mixer tap which leaves room for a bit of bench space. An 80L Engel fridge is fitted under a good-sized drawer behind the driver’s seat. Next to the fridge is a small wire basket pantry with a shelf above, leaving room for the optional microwave with drawer above and cupboard below. The 12V fuse and switch panel is also located here. It might sound a bit cramped but old hands will recognise that it’s quite a workable arrangement.
Filling the rest of the offside rear is a sliding door cabinet with shelves and a small hanging space. Right in the rear corner is a small shelf which, on this van, holds the optional external shower hose.
Setting up the bed is relatively simple – release the catches on either side of the rear seat and lay it flat. The bed measures 1.88x1.29m (6ft 2in x 4ft 3in)
Frontline VW T5 Vacationer NSW Frontline VW T5 Adventurer