What is it?
There’s a fantastic Eddie Izzard sketch where he sends up the committee deciding what the singer Arnold Dorsey should be called (Engelbert Humperdinck, as it turns out). Imagine what options Ford went through to get to the Nugget…
The Nugget is Ford’s answer to the Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo and the original of the group, the Volkswagen California. All share van underpinnings with clever folding roofs. In the case of the Ford, it’s an L1 Ford Transit underneath with a Westfalia-made pop-up roof, the same people who build the Marco Polo’s. Up front sits a 2.0-litre diesel engine with a reasonable 182bhp and 306lb ft, which drives the front wheels via a six-speed auto ’box a. A 0-62mph time isn’t quoted, but it feels on par with the Marco Polo.
What's it like?
The diesel isn’t as quiet as the Mercedes’, but it’s punchy enough and, with the six-speed auto, it’s an easy van to navigate along a road. The ride is disappointing, being too springy and firm, but you can understand why it’s like that when the Transit platform is designed to take loads of just over a tonne. Ford hasn’t altered the springs for the Nugget, figuring that if the 42-litre fresh and waste water tanks are full, the van needs to be able to cope.
But how it drives is largely irrelevant. Instead, it’s all about how it works parked up, and in that respect, the Nugget matches its rivals. Where the VW and Mercedes are almost twin-like in their interior layout, the Nugget places the kitchen area at the very rear, separated from the living/seating area.
It works well, giving a bit more delineation between the two spaces. There’s a 40-litre fridge and two-ring gas hob back there, along with a sink and hot/cold tap. It even has a cutlery drawer for a little added civilisation. One word of warning: the fridge is incredibly effective. We set it at five and three hours later our milk was frozen solid.
The outside shower is good but the middling pressure is definitely more set up for simply washing the salt water off.
Wardrobe space is adequate for a family of four for a weekend. Careful packing and constant tidying up are two essentials, but the Ford is no better or worse than rivals in this regard. The marketing shots all show fresh croissants and neatly arranged napkins, but I can assure you that Nugget-life with two small children is not that civilised.