In a nutshell, the Nugget design creates a three-room layout with an L-shaped kitchenette at the rear, a living and dining area in the centre and sleeping quarters in the roof. It can sleep up to four people, with a double bed that pops down in the roof space, and a second that unfolds in a jiffy in the living area. There are sliding doors on each side of the camper to make access easy and allow a nice breeze to waft through the cabin.
A long-wheelbase Nugget Plus model provides a little more storage space and a built-in toilet with a foldaway washbasin. Since 2019, the carmaker has made the Transit Custom Nugget available to order direct from Ford dealers.
Once parked up, you’ll need some headspace. The Nugget offers the choice of a manually adjustable tilt roof or a fixed high roof while the Nugget Plus features a high roof as standard. Once raised and fixed in place, the tilted roof creates up to 2.4 metres of interior headroom. A decent-sized rear window and two side windows flood the cabin with natural light and are fitted with shades for privacy. The upper-level sleeping area is also well thought through, incorporating side vents and two useful LED lights that serve as kitchen surface and reading lighting. This upper-deck area can be reached using a ladder propped up against a kitchen unit. The tilted roof is designed to offer year-round comfort and security. The waterproof composite top contains foam insulation to help maintain a snug temperature inside.
Starting from the back of the camper, the kitchen area features a double-burner gas hob, a chrome-nickel steel sink and a 40-litre top-loading fridge. Both fresh and wastewater is supplied from onboard tanks, each with a capacity of 42 litres. The tanks also supply an outdoor shower hose at the rear of the van.
Moving to the centre, up to five people can dine at the fold-out table, with room for three on a forward-facing bench, while the very comfortable driver and front passenger heated captain chair seats swivel 180 degrees to face the rear – the turning action made easier by a folding handbrake. The Nugget also comes equipped with a fold-out table, two comfy camping chairs and a retractable awning to allow al-fresco dining.
Glazing-wise, the Nugget features rear privacy glass, flip-open windows for the second row and a heated window for the tailgate. Perched on van seats gives a superb loft driving position, providing excellent forward visibility. The view through the rear window, however, is a little obscured by the kitchen units. Front and rear parking sensors and an (optional) rear camera help though.
While the dashboard has lots of van-like scratchy plastics and chunky controls, its simplicity is refreshing and far from distracting. There are, of course, plenty of storage areas dotted around plus large cupholders front and rear. A wood-effect floor throughout the passenger compartment is pleasing to the eye.
Optional extras include a premium sound system and racks for bikes and sports equipment. An LED panel positioned in the headline is also used to manage the vehicle’s electric connection, battery charge status, fresh and wastewater levels, cabin heating and lighting.
Infotainment, connectivity and ADAS
Ford’s SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system can be operated using voice commands or with a no-nonsense eight-inch touchscreen. Vehicle occupants can stay connected as the internet is provided as standard via the FordPass Connect modem, creating a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to ten devices with connectivity available at up to 15 metres from the vehicle. There is also no shortage of USB sockets dotted around the cabin plus 3-pin power sockets in the kitchen.
A suite of sensors, radars and cameras provides information on the driving environment around the vehicle. These include cross-traffic alert, pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, rear wide-view camera and adaptive cruise control.
On the road
Ford recently extended its Transit Custom Nugget range of campers with the Active and Trail models. The Nugget Active offers a more high-spec interior, exclusive exterior detailing, and standard equipment. The Nugget Trail features rugged exterior styling with signature Ford grille, standard mechanical limited-slip differential for rough-road confidence, and enhanced interior comfort. Both feature a heated rear bench.
Ford used the Caravan Salon 2021 held in Düsseldorf to launch the models. “Customers tell us they want their camper to stand out and create special experiences, so we’re introducing Nugget Active and Trail to add some extra style and adventure to their road trips,” said Barry Quested, brand manager, One-Stop Shop Conversions, Ford of Europe. “The new models support customers’ outdoor lifestyles with bold new design, living areas designed for all-season comfort, and extra traction to see them over grass campsites, muddy shores and unpaved tracks.”
Ford says it has tripled its Nugget production rate with camper specialists Westfalia for 2022 to meet the demand for its camper van in a fast-growing market.
Nugget Active incorporates yacht deck-style pale wood floor, textured satin-finish units, black worktops and aluminium strips around the kitchen area plus part-leather trimmed seats and “tuneable white” LED lighting to create different ambient moods.
Nugget Trail features black leather on the swivelling front captain’s chairs and rear bench seat as standard, while the dining table is finished in a darker shade to contrast with the white kitchen units, wardrobe and wood grain floor.
The expanded Nugget range joins a booming market; the camper sector is seeing double-digit growth in most European markets, with this trend expected to continue as holidaymakers increasingly favour more secluded, self-contained holidays and staycations.
The Transit Custom Nugget is powered by a 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engine. Customers can specify 130 PS and 170 PS versions, each available with a six-speed manual or a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission. In terms of fuel economy, we averaged 35mpg. There can be no denying that the Nugget is cleverly designed and very well appointed, catering for just about every need and want while out and about. Everything just works really well. And so it should do for a base price of £67,422 for the auto-equipped version. Rival models include the VW California, Vauxhall Vivaro Elite and Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo.