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Which car/van for sleeping?

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 jack_44 19 Nov 2020

Hi all,

As the title suggests, I'm wondering if anyone can share some advice on a good vehicle (car or van) for general climbing. A mix between short distances for local cragging and bouldering (2 or 3 pads max), local town traffic and trips further afield for weekends/weeks climbing and sleeping in it.

I used to have an old Honda Jazz and the rear seats folded flat. It was great to sleep in! Recently bought a Skoda Octavia and tried sleeping in the back of it and it was terrible! 

So I'm wondering what other cars have rear seats that fold flat to sleep in. And/or any advice for small vans that have a long enough load area to be able to sleep in (probably not convert, just sleep on the floor/pads) but is still ok for a day to day vehicle?

Thanks in advance!

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 Ross Barker 19 Nov 2020
In reply to jack_44:

Any idea of budget? I've a 2006 Avensis and the seats fold flat, slept in the back many times, comfy enough.

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 Tom V 19 Nov 2020
In reply to jack_44:

Your Octavia problem is curable with some fairly basic DIY skills (They must be basic if I've managed it)

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 jack_44 19 Nov 2020
In reply to Ross Barker:

Erm, maximum £6000. Would also entertain an older, cheaper option too!

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 Mr Lopez 19 Nov 2020
In reply to jack_44:

Most if not all estate cars pre-2015 have rear seats that fold fully flat. After that date some Ford Focus do, not all mind, and Volvos, and that's about it. Cars that had the facelift near that date are also out, like Octavias which changed to mk3 around 2014.

Post edited at 19:44
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 dunnyg 19 Nov 2020
In reply to Mr Lopez:

you can get a boot flatterner for an octavia. probably cheaper than a new car

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 Mr Lopez 19 Nov 2020
In reply to dunnyg:

Do you mean the variable boot floor to even out the step? The 'problem' with mk3's is that the seat backs don't lay horizontal when folded, which is the definition of flat unless you are a car dealer, but lay at angle instead.

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 dunnyg 19 Nov 2020
In reply to Mr Lopez:

Yeah I did. Good knowledge, thanks!

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 Mr Lopez 19 Nov 2020
In reply to dunnyg:

Yeah no worries. I've been having a nightmare trying to replace my car because of the incoming ULEZ in London, which means it's got to be a Euro 6 engine and thus post-2015, so spent days if not weeks trying to find one which both complies with the standards and have a flat boot, largely unsuccesfully.

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 Mr Lopez 19 Nov 2020
In reply to jack_44:

There's some optioms i didn't think of as i had discounted them for myself, but could be good options for you.

In most MPV's you can fold all seats from the back flat to give you a massive double bed space. Not too pricey for cars in the 2011-2014 range. But if you want poshness and glamour, don't mind a bit of an MPG penalty, and your insurance isn't normally extortionate, then the Toyota Alphard is hard to beat and within your budget. I mean, look at this! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-qAIC0UMTc& can't get more swanky than that

Video without all the faffing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9PLozANtpQ&

Post edited at 20:20
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 gilliesp 19 Nov 2020
In reply to jack_44:

Our Octavia estate is brilliant for sleeping in. The rear loading bay/boot has two floor levels, the higher one of which is level with folded rear seats. Our old Octavia had the permanently lower floor for which I easily constructed a timber platform, around 5" high, to meet same level as folded rear seats.

Post edited at 20:34
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In reply to jack_44:

Is it just for you to sleep in?

Have you considered replacing the front passenger seat with one that folds flat? 

I don't know the Octavia or the issues/solutions around why yours is terrible for sleeping in, and the following may be irrelevant / of no interest...but for the sake of a minute of typing and 8 seconds of your reading....

I recently bought a Citroen C3 Picasso. I didn't have any big plans for sleeping in the back of it but I noticed that one of the versions (the "Exclusive" which is the highest "trim" level) has a front passenger seat that folds forward to a flat position.
I had a look at some of these and tested lying down (head toward the back of the car, and feet up on the folded front seat). It felt quite nice! 
I haven't slept in mine yet but I am sure it would be OK, I have a compact inflatable mattress (Lidl bargain!) which slots in really neatly. 
The whole car is only 4 metres long but with the front seat folded flat, you get 2.61m of useable length!
Even without this, I could sort of sleep in the back, I am 1.75m or 5'10", I'd have to go a bit diagonal so it would be a little annoying, which is why I went for the folding front seat. It's been really handy for various "carrying unusual loads" (which is the real purpose of it). 

I am not saying get a Citroen Picasso C3, I am just suggesting that replacing a seat with a folding one might help. 

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 John Ww 20 Nov 2020
In reply to jack_44:

VW Caddy Maxi Life. I thank you 👍

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 GrahamD 20 Nov 2020
In reply to jack_44:

I don't have any problems sleeping in the Peugeot 308 estate.  Phenomenally roomy for the size of car with proper flat load space.  Easily fits 2 adult bikes in the back without taking wheels off.

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In reply to GrahamD:

can you sleep in the back, with two adult bikes in it without the wheels removed?

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 ianstevens 20 Nov 2020
In reply to Blue Straggler:

It's an estate not a TARDIS

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 GrahamD 20 Nov 2020
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> can you sleep in the back, with two adult bikes in it without the wheels removed?

Very uncomfortably, I'd have thought !

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In reply to jack_44:

maybe get an RV and tow a car. This option seems to work well and you will get a great nights sleep I'm sure. 

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 petegunn 20 Nov 2020
In reply to jack_44:

We've got a Berlingo, had it for 5 years and no trouble with it. Think it was about 6k with super low millage. Didnt bother with one of those kit conversion things (boot jump) but just put in a wooden parcel shelf with a twin burner hob and some little storage shelves on each side. Two storage boxes (food, clothes, kit etc.) fit in the rear foot well to level it out with an caravan mattress, if we are bouldering we just lay 2 pads out flat for the bed. A netted internal roof rack provides extra storage, for books, maps, torches pjs etc. 

Whats good about these cars (berlinglo, partner, doblo) is that you can load them up with your mates and still get in 3/4 pads and be able to remove the rear seats for camping trips away.

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 mattyP 20 Nov 2020
In reply to jack_44:

Oct! Oct! Oct! Octavia! I now have a transit custom because I have 3 kids, but miss my Octavia. If you had a bad night it’s your fault not the ockys!

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 dabble 21 Nov 2020
In reply to John Ww:

Seconded. Class van.

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In reply to petegunn:

Guess it's not the dreaded 1.6 engine? If I could get a Berlingo without this engine in my price range I would (bad experience with blown fuel injectors etc with the 1.6)

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 Hat Dude 21 Nov 2020
In reply to John Ww:

> VW Caddy Maxi Life. I thank you 👍

I've had a Caddy Maxi window van for 10 years, it's registered as a car and same vehicle as the Life but not trimmed to the same level in the back and cost a hell of a lot less to buy.

It's been brilliant, loads of room, can sleep in it fully stretched out (I'm 5' 11") and could fit 2 bikes at the same time.

Drives pretty much like a car, reasonably economical, have averaged approx 44mpg. It's no longer than a large estate car, fits under car park barriers and is very manoeuvrable.

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In reply to jack_44:

Mazda Bongo

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 Mr Lopez 21 Nov 2020
In reply to Hat Dude:

Just a heads up with regards the maxi vs maxi life thingy, the former is classed as a light goods vehicle and lower speed limits apply (people have been getting fined for doing 65 on dual carriageways for example). The life versions might be classed as car derived vans in the v5, but some of them are 'rated' for a laden weight of >2 tons, which also puts them in the lower speed limits, and has given some unexpected surprises to owners in the form of fines and points on the license.

Post edited at 11:24
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 Hat Dude 21 Nov 2020
In reply to Mr Lopez:

Just checked my V5, it states Body Type - MPV, Taxation Class -Diesel Car

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 Mr Lopez 21 Nov 2020
In reply to Hat Dude:

You are golden then ;-) From what i could ascertain when i was looking at then, it all comes down to how they were initially registered, but then there was a reclassification (or rather 'clarification' from the DVLA) with retrospective effect to spicy things up.

Plenty stories about it in various Caddy forums and pepipoo. It all got a bit confusing, but from what i can remember, 7 seaters are sold under the 'life' badge, the ones initially registered as MPV are good, the ones registered as van with windows fall foul of it, and the ones registered as car derived vans have been reclassified to light goods vehicle. Owners are meant to apply for a new v5 themselves, but few people know (until they get a fine through the post) so it's when someone buys it that that gets the v5 with the correct classification.

Some of the ones with 5 seats which go under the badge 'combi', as in Caddy Maxi Combi, were wrongly registerd as dual purpose vehicles, which they can't be due to going over 2 tons. Lower speed limits apply to all of them

The normal front-seats-only Caddy Maxi are LGV's of some sort under the DVLA, and so again, lower limits apply.

Or something like that.

ETA: Seems the re-classification happened around 2012 or thereabouts https://caddy2k.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9866

Post edited at 15:17
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 Hat Dude 21 Nov 2020
In reply to Mr Lopez:

Yeah I've been looking at some of the stuff on various forums and it all seems very confusing!

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In reply to Simonfarfaraway:

> Guess it's not the dreaded 1.6 engine? If I could get a Berlingo without this engine in my price range I would (bad experience with blown fuel injectors etc with the 1.6)

Same thing went on mine - catastrophic failure in the outside lane of the M74 on my way to go climbing in Scotland in a heatwave. One of a litany a failures of that terrible piece of junk. I've heard the 2l version is super-reliable but they're a bit harder to find.

I now drive the Ford version, Tourneo Connect, which was newer and so far has been great. Fits the same 'boot jump' sleeping set up as the Berling/Partner etc.

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 CGumbie 21 Nov 2020
In reply to jack_44:

Does your Octavia have a step in the boot that is making it uncomfortable? If that's the problem, you can build a box insert for the gap. I have a load of mates using them for surf wagons doing exactly what you describe. 

You may want to look at a small van, possibly a Transit Connect or even a Nemo, or a CDV like an Astra van and doing a bit of modding to the back.

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 John Ww 21 Nov 2020
In reply to Mr Lopez:

Interesting! Our Maxi Life is a German registered vehicle, and we've never heard of such a differentiation, and it has been through its TUV (the German equivalent of an MOT, but much stricter) with no issues concerning or identifying maximum speed (despite it being one of Germany's most common vehicles). They're frequently seen on the Autobahn doing 130+ kph 😁

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 John Ww 21 Nov 2020
In reply to jack_44:

Mind you, ours is a 2017 model if that makes any difference?

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In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Same thing went on mine - catastrophic failure in the outside lane of the M74 on my way to go climbing in Scotland in a heatwave.

I think I remember that

> I now drive the Ford version, Tourneo Connect, which was newer and so far has been great. 

I've been thinking about that sort of thing recently and thought a Tourneo looked like fitting the bill for when my current car dies. Good to hear a favourable report.

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In reply to Robert Durran:

> I think I remember that

You do indeed.

> I've been thinking about that sort of thing recently and thought a Tourneo looked like fitting the bill for when my current car dies. Good to hear a favourable report.

I like it, it's comfortable and unlike the Partner the stereo played at a reasonable motorway volume doesn't make everything rattle so it feels like the entire car is going to fall apart. Not exactly quick though, 1.6 diel that's happy on the motorway but less so everywhere else, especially hills. That exhausts (pun intended) my knowledge about cars.

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 Mr Lopez 21 Nov 2020
In reply to John Ww:

That'll be because Germans are sensible and only have lower speed limits for HGVs and trailers/caravans.

Post edited at 23:34
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 HB1 22 Nov 2020
In reply to jack_44:

No-one's mentioned the Renault Espace.  Not made anymore, but there are 2 good-looking ones on Autotrader at reasonable price. We've had 2 in the past - 5 rear seats all come out, front seats turn round - comfort! Build in some sort of cupboard/ cooking stove etc and off you go!

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 jezzah 23 Nov 2020
In reply to jack_44:

I have a 2014 Octavia and regularly sleep in it with the rear seats fully flat. I'm 6'1 and can lie straight with room to spare. It was one of the reasons for buying it a couple of years ago. The car salesman was a bit surprised when I asked to fold the seats down and climbed in. But, v happy for now for the occasional night out when I can't be bothered to put a tent up.

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