New 2024 Ford Nugget camper reinvented with PHEV power

6 Monate her - 29. August 2023, autocar
Ford Nugget
Ford Nugget
Ford Transit-based motorhome is roomier, more luxurious and – crucially – more like a car

The new Ford Nugget is a luxurious Transit-based camper van with a roomier interior, improved dynamics and more advanced technology than its predecessor - plus the option of plug-in power for the first time.

Revealed today at the Caravan Salon exhibition in Dusseldorf, Germany, the latest Nugget is based on the upcoming Transit Custom - the latest generation of the most popular van in Europe and the most popular vehicle in the UK.

Like the Transit, the new Nugget is tipped to be a strong seller, given the market for leisure vehicles in Europe doubled between 2016 and 2021, with more than 180,000 motorhomes now sold in the region each year.

Hans Schep, boss of the Ford Pro commercial vehicle division, noted that "the compact camper van, within that, is actually the largest-growing portion of the leisure market - so the Nugget, which has been in this market for quite a while, is obviously a central piece of our strategy". Ford sells around 30,000 Nuggets per year, he said.

Available to order now in certain markets, the Nugget is priced from €76,500 in Germany, suggesting an entry price of around £65,000 in the UK.

Being based on the new Transit Custom, it has a completely fresh look to match its sharply styled commercial sibling, plus all the improvements in usability and functionality that come with the switch to a new platform. It is "an entirely new product for an entirely new era," said Schep.

The interior, for example, is said to be easier to move around in, courtesy of a lower, flatter floor and a new, more compact dashboard design. There's an integrated side step for easy access, too, and the Nugget boasts "class-leading sliding side door and rear tailgate apertures".

The five-seat, four-berth cabin has been designed and engineered with conversion partner Westfalia, which has worked on every Nugget since the first generation launched in 1986.

Ford says the Nugget has been "reinvented for the digital age", and that it has worked extensively with existing Nugget owners to determine where the formula could be best improved.

Heavily reworked over the previous Nugget, the new camper's cabin hosts an all-new arrangement with separate cooking, living and sleeping zones. Ford says that even when the two double beds are deployed, people can move around the cabin – and even cook in the kitchen – without disturbing each other.

The rear seating area can be quickly (and much less strenuously, Ford says) transformed into a sleeping or eating area when parked, while the front seats can be fully rotated to face the rear. All seats are heated, and the rear passengers now benefit from upgraded speakers and standard-fit USB-C charging ports.

Further back, the L-shaped kitchen unit houses a taller, easier-access drawer fridge, an integrated hob and sink (with hot water as standard), soft-close latches and a worktop that's 20% larger than before. There is now more head room in the kitchen when the roof-top bed is deployed, too, because of a new flip-up mattress design.

The roof bed itself is said to be easier to take down in the morning, thanks to the use of a new 'self-folding' fabric for its walls, and there are new roller blinds in place of curtains for a quicker, easier transition from night mode to day mode.

Other innovations introduced for the latest Nugget include a new camping chair storage cubby inside the bootlid, a pull-out awning above the side door, 350W solar panels to charge the leisure battery and a 7.0in colour touchscreen for all interior controls.

There is also now an inclinometer built in, so the van levels itself when parked up to make for easy set-up and a comfortable night's sleep, and a 5G modem to give fast internet access in the wild.

But importantly, Ford bosses note, many Nugget owners use their camper van for daily driving purposes, too, so the improvements for 2024 go well beyond the kitchen and bedroom.

The Nugget's new chassis has independent rear suspension, for example, to improve refinement and handling, while accommodating the option of all-wheel drive for the first time - "to help get out of the mud at festivals", bosses suggest.

Plus, the new-look cockpit hosts the latest generation of Ford's Sync 4 infotainment interface through a 13.0in touchscreen, with smartphone mirroring as standard, while the seating position is said to be much more 'car-like', "even for drivers more used to smaller cars".

The new Nugget will also be offered with a plug-in hybrid powertrain for the first time, pairing a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor for a combined 230bhp, while an 11.8kWh battery will supply an EV range in the region of 20 miles.

The first Nuggets on the market – due to land in spring next year – will, however, use a 168bhp diesel engine paired with a new eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Ford would not confirm whether the Nugget will join its Transit and Tourneo siblings in gaining a pure-electric variant, but the brand has promised a 'comprehensive' powertrain line-up.

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