Leisuredrive Campervans have been around since 1969, and it’s still a family-owned business with Derek Andrews firmly at the helm of this Bolton based company.

The Campervan market is booming-well judging by the amount of small concerns that seemingly spring up like mushrooms each season. Now of course business is business and more often than not most of these new makers will disappear never to be heard of again.

Back in the late 60’s a mini boom in campervans also saw makers springing up but back then there were some poor attempts and only those who built quality designs would survive. One such company was Leisuredrive or back then known as Carahome – Derek with his dad converted a van for use and soon began work on another. Over the years a small business was established, using practical experience and their ability to design campervans saw the Andrews slowly expand.

Derek took over the business and with staff who had been with the company some since the late 70’s the now named Manchester Motor Caravan Company had an enviable reputation. By the early 80’s the new trading name of Leisuredrive was decided upon and the firm went from strength to strength. Using VW as their main base unit they have over the years covered other vans. From those early days Derek has always been firmly hands-on and with over 200 units produced from a recently expanded factory Leisuredrive are seen by buyers as a firm with quality build and practically designed.

QUALITY UNITS, SOLID ADVICE AND PLENTY OF CHOICE

The company has its own glass fibre section for its high top roofs, making sure quality is kept top notch. The Leisuredrive team have a valeting section to prepare campervans for sale when they are sold. Leisuredrive also have two sections of campervans for sale and the company will sell your Leisuredrive for you too. There’s always a good selection of Lesiuredrive pre-owned units to choose from and with the help of the team a budget is catered for with awards from many years on the bending shelves under the weight Leisuredrive are a campervan manufacturer that has earned lots of respect.

The company manufacturers a good range of campervans with a wide spread of options which covers budgets for all buyers. With models such as the Vivante, Crusader, Free spirit and the new Ford Transit Occasion a campervan based on the Vivante. Leisuredrive will use a van to convert that a customer brings in, or will source a pre-owed van for the customer. Flexibility is one of their bywords too. Derek and his team work with customers giving advice on features that the customer may require, attending all the entire major shows the most recent being the Manchester Show where the company displayed their latest campervans to customers and potential new buyers.

Lesiuredrive are always improving their campervans mainly through customer feedback and staff using the end product. Nothing stands still at the Bolton production plant. It isn’t a rare event either for Leisuredrive owners who are still using campervans built by the firm from over 30 years ago such is their build quality. Derek puts it down to the dedicated team and how staff takes pride in their job at the company. No doubt about it – the care and attention to detail certainly shines through to the finished campervan.

IN THE HEADLIGHTS

We took a look at the latest Fort Transit based model the Occasion designed to appeal to an owner who maybe doesn’t want to have a VW but to go for the Ford. No doubt about it the latest Transit is attracting attention from many campervan and motorhome manufacturers as a base vehicle. So we decided to take a closer look at the first Occasion built on a 2014 Ford Transit.  This pre-owned Transit was showing little signs of usage and the build was good as a starting point.

First Glance; Leisuredrive Ford Transit Occasion

Brief spec

Price:  £29,990 our example on used Transit / New Transit                       £44,000

Year.  2018

Berths:  2

Base Vehicle; Ford Transit 2.2 TD130 bhp

Lesiuredrive as we know are no stranger to building on most bases but the latest Ford Transit is now a base unit that Leisuredrive will be using and that’s something Leisuredrive fans will be glad to hear. The Transit has in years past been used by Leisuredrive but the new version is one of the best yet so Leisuredrive have launched their Ford Transit Occasion at last years NEC show to a warm reception.

Exterior ****

The Ford Transit was finished in a frost white colour and as a pre owned base van was in very good condition, the Occasion will be built on new Transits and cost around the £44,000 mark for a well equipped campervan which we think offers great value in this competitive market. But Leisuredrive will build a new unit on a pre-owned van and that’s what we had for our test. Overall condition as stated was excellent and with the smart graphics the Occasion looks good even though no alloys were fitted on this first prototype.

Lounge****

The Occasion is based on the firms popular Vivante a wise choice as this is a well designed campervan with many followers! The side entrance door sends you straight into the spacious lounge area which will seat two with ease, side windows allows natural light in though they are tinted for privacy. A swivel table is placed in the centre for meal times and LED lighting ensures you’re never in the dark! The lounge makes into a double bed or twin singles for the sleeping arrangements so offers versatility.

Kitchen****

The well equipped kitchen is placed on the rear nearside of the Occasion and comes with stainless steel sink and two burner hob which also has a grill / oven combination. There’s a 3-way 60-litre fridge too, plus this area is well light by LED lighting plus it’s a good size and offers excellent storage. Glass tops are used to add to the work surface but overall it’s well designed and is practical to use. Storage tohas been well catered for and every inch is utilised well.

Washroom ***

No washroom is fitted as such, but what the Occasion has is a discreetly stored away manual flush cassette loo. It’s ideal for emergencies with the emptying point being at the rear of the van inside. It’s nicely hidden away and yet is ready to use in seconds to access.

General impressions****

Driving the Ford is a real joy, it’s not VW but then it’s cheaper to buy and to be honest drives well. The popular Vivante styled Occasion will, we reckon, bea good seller for Leisuredrive buyers who want a new base vehicle and Leisuredrive’s campervan quality. This makes this example a steal at this cost and may mean that it may takesome sales from the Vivante though buyers of this model do like a VW T6 as the base. Good overhead storage and well equipped the new Occasion works out even new for £44,000 cheap to buy when you consider the quality of the Leisuredrive campervans which last many years.

For further information

Leisuredrive Campervans   www.leisuredrive.co.uk