The Caravelair Antarès 476 from French leisure-vehicle giant Trigano is available in the UK exclusively from Marquis Leisure.

The layout is unusual in that it has a fixed double bed at the front of the caravan on the nearside, with an offside corner washroom.

From the outside this gives the van the appearance of having one eye, like the Knaus Sport & Fun.

At the rear are fixed bunks, and at its centre you’ll find a kitchen with a double dinette opposite.

There are few frills for daytime living, but the beds are long and the mattresses substantial: it could potentially sleep six, but four or five would be more comfortable.

And that’s its selling point: it’s a compact, lightweight, budget van that can sleep a large family.

So, does this different take on a family van work? We took this tourer home to France to find out!

The 476 may not draw envious admiring glances from your campsite neighbours: its exterior is simple, its graphics discreet and that one ‘eye’ at the front hardly competes with the glamour of a panoramic sunroof.

But they will be missing the point that the van’s 5.33m body length contains two sets of comfortable fixed beds, a good-sized convertible dinette and will, at a stretch, sleep six.

There’s its practical aspect, too. Exterior access to the space occupied by the lower bunk will allow you to pack in sporting gear, chairs and tables without having to negotiate the entrance door, and there’s a further outside locker to the area under the double bed.

Although 2017 Caravelairs are not NCC-approved, Marquis hopes to get full approval for the imported range from 2018.

What was the 476 like to tow? It features an Al-Ko chassis fitted with a hitch stabiliser, plus its manageable body length and light weight make it simple to tow and reasonably easy to deal with on hill-starts. However, it was a little jerky on the road.

We had barely used our payload allowance on the trip to France, and feel that with a little more weight in the van, it would have settled down.

In the Loire, we took the van down to the river for photography and the shock absorbers helped smooth the ride over slightly uneven ground.

And to see other Caravelair caravans for sale, click here.