The intelligent and creative way in which Ford has used the interior space in its Nugget campervan is something to be admired.

Taking a vehicle with Transit van underpinnings, the designers have used every nook and cranny wisely to create a versatile holiday machine.

The usefulness of this mini-apartment on wheels stems from three key attributes – four people can sleep comfortably inside, there's a useable kitchen onboard, and it doesn't feel like a tank when driving down the type of twisty roads on which adventurous tourists find themselves.

Craven Herald: The Ford Nugget during a family holiday

The clever push up and fold away roof greatly enhances the space once you've parked up for the night. The Westfalia-made tilt roof is manual and needs a bit of elbow grease to put up and down, but it's a process that takes five to ten minutes once you've got the hang of it.

The reward for those endeavours is a superb higher-level double bed sleeping area, with a soft base and plenty of space to spread out.

The lower sleeping area is created by some trickery involving the second row of seats, which flatten out and marry up with another sizeable cushioned area under part of the kitchen unit. We found it comfy and spacious, if not a bit firmer than the upper sleeping area.

Craven Herald: The Ford Nugget

One of the most sociable aspects of the Nugget comes from the ability to spin the front seats around to face backwards. You can then put up a decent-sized table between the front seats and second row seats to create a wonderful space to eat, drink and laugh away the evening, all with the benefit of large side windows to enjoy whatever view you have found on your travels.

As the relaxation kicks in, the brightness of the ambient lights can be adjusted, making things even more cosy.

With sliding doors on either side, it means you're never trapped in at the table.

Unlike a tent, which cools down dramatically overnight and heats up like a greenhouse at first sunlight, the Nugget held a steady temperature, making sleeping more comfortable. Overnight restfulness was further enhanced by neat-fitting front window coverings and side window curtains, which plunge the Nugget into pitch blackness.

Craven Herald: The Ford Nugget during a family holiday

Unlike some campervans, the kitchen area is entirely separate from the seating/sleeping area, being located entirely in the back section of the vehicle. That makes for a nice demarcation between the two distinct areas.

The kitchen is well thought-out, with plenty of storage space for food and cleaning products. It has a nifty little sink with hot and cold water, and a gas stove with two glass covers which double as spit shields when cooking.

There's also plenty of worktop space for food preparation and a good-sized fridge that gives you confidence to drive into remote areas for several days without running out of food.

There's plenty of storage and cupboard space to pack things out of the way, but you'll have to stay on top of the tidying to ensure the floorspace doesn't become a trip hazard minefield.

It seems strange to get so far through a motoring review without mentioning the driving dynamics, although it's one of the few occasions where that aspect is, perhaps, secondary to what it does when it's stationary.

Craven Herald: The Ford Nugget during a family holiday

For the record, the power comes via a two-litre diesel engine available in two power outputs - a 130PS or 170PS version.

The latter, tested here, provided excellent acceleration for a vehicle and felt to have plenty of torque available.

As with many Fords, the steering is sharp and trustworthy, although you still wouldn't want to throw it into corners with all that crockery onboard.

The 6-speed manual gearbox is slick, while the adaptive cruise control was really useful on the longer motorway sections and kept fuel consumption down.

In conclusion, the Nugget is a real bundle of fun, albeit an expensive one. The freedom and flexibility it offers is quite fantastic.

Ford Nugget campervan

ENGINE: 2-litre diesel 185PS

EMISSIONS: from 151g/km

PERFORMANCE: 111mph max speed

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual, front wheel drive


PRICE: Ranges from £53,035 on the road to £71,832