A lot of campervan conversions are either done on a DIY basis, or are unofficial conversions carried out by an expert company that purchases the original model from the manufacturer. There are a few options where these campervans are officially produced in conjunction with the manufacturer – and the Ford Nugget is one such example.
Developed by specialists Westfalia, and based on the Ford Transit, the Nugget was first produced in 1986 and has continued to be an extremely popular official campervan ever since, particularly in Germany where it is produced.
It’s been through a few different generations, as the design of the Transit van has evolved. The latest version of the mainline Ford Nugget dates back to 2014, and is based on the Ford Transit Custom. Originally in this version only the high-roof option was available, although a pop-top option was added in 2015 and remains popular.
There have also been additional versions of the Nugget produced alongside the main version. These include the Big Nugget, based on a Transit with a long wheelbase, which debuted in 2006 and was then replaced with the Big Nugget XL in 2012.
That’s been surpassed by the Nugget Plus in 2018, which is still available to buy new and has an additional 37cm of length to create more storage space. There’s also now an even larger version, the Big Nugget 2020, which is almost 6 metres long.
What’s inside your Ford Nugget will depend entirely on which model you choose. If you’re able to afford a new model, then you’re going to get a fantastic campervan, though at that price tag you should expect to do so.
The front seats are already swivel options, so there’s no need to convert those, and as standard the dashboard comes with an infotainment screen. You also get front and rear parking sensors, with an optional rear camera.
In the rear of the camper you’ll get a seating area which converts into a double bed, and a fully-equipped kitchen with a gas hob, sink and fridge. The roof area contains a second double bed which is surprisingly spacious, even in the pop-top model.
On the outside of the van there’s a recharging port for your mains power, and an external connector for your fresh water tank, which are some nice features to have for a camper. A rear bike rack is an optional extra. The Nugget Plus also comes with its own toilet.
Older models still have a kitchen area, though its placement in the rear will vary depending on the generation of Transit the Nugget was built on.
There’s not really any converting to do with a Ford Nugget. The fact that it’s sold as a campervan, modded by a professional company, means the work is already done for you.
Which makes it perfect for someone who wants a campervan but isn’t confident in their DIY skills, providing you’ve got the budget to pay for one.
There are optional features that you might want to consider if you’re buying a new Ford Nugget. These include:
Older Nuggets may be missing some of the standard features including swivel seats, but you can convert these yourself if you want to buy a cheaper Nugget second hand.
Of course, if you prefer then you could buy just a Ford Transit Custom yourself and try to do your own conversion. If you do that, then you’ll need to consider your layout, storage space and sleeping solutions, and how you’ll want to modify the roof.
You also won’t get the peace of mind of having bought an official Nugget from a manufacturer-approved company like Westfalia. So, bear that in mind if you try to take the DIY option.
There is an excellent community for Ford Nugget owners, with various social media groups that you can join if you want tips or tricks. The Nugget Forum is based in Germany but has users from all over the globe, and is definitely worth checking out if you want any help in making your Ford Nugget purchase, or any support on making any further modifications to your own Nugget.
If you want to buy a brand new Ford Nugget campervan, you’re going to be looking at a hefty price tag. They start from £59,000 for the base model, and while these are excellent options you may still want to add on some of the extras, which can bump the price up by another few thousand.
Second hand Nuggets aren’t hugely available, because they’re extremely popular with their owners and so many people prefer to keep them. But that doesn’t mean they’re impossible to find – you may just struggle to find one within a short distance of your home.
Depending on the year, the condition and the mileage, expect to pay in the region of £30,000 to £35,000 for a second hand Ford Nugget that’s been kept in reasonable condition.
Like the idea of a converted Ford Transit but not sure the Ford Nugget is quite right for you? Here are a handful of alternatives:
The Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo is a van that’s very similar to the Ford Nugget, albeit very slightly bigger. It’s also more expensive, with brand-new Marco Polos costing in the region of £70,000. But you are getting that Mercedes-Benz quality, including a finer interior that’s a little more luxurious. Second hand models are available, but for one from the last few years you’re still looking at £55,000+.
Often seen as the main rival to the Ford Nugget, the VW California was originally built by the Westfalia company that makes the Nugget, but since 2001 Volkswagen has decided to make the van itself. The California doesn’t have separate living and kitchen areas, preferring to use the entire space in a different way, and it’s slightly more expensive, but many people prefer the overall driving experience and comfort of the California.
Beyond the Nugget, the Marco Polo and the California, there aren’t many other options for ready-made campervans in the UK. But the Renault Trafic is one van that is extremely popular with converters. It may not be officially endorsed by Renault, but it is a lot more affordable too – around £45,000 for a new Trafic that’s converted by a specialist. They’re as good a drive as the Nugget too, if not better – so you could save by opting for an ‘unofficial’ Trafic conversion.
Click hear to read our Full Renault Trafic Campervan Review
If you’re buying a brand-new Ford Nugget, expect to pay somewhere in the region of £59,000 to £67,000 depending on which optional extras you decide you would like. Second hand Ford Nugget campervans aren’t too common, because most people buy them to keep for a long time, but they are available – prices tend to vary between £30,000 and £35,000 depending on condition and mileage.
The standard Ford Nugget does not have its own toilet, although you could add one yourself if you wanted to. The upgraded Ford Nugget Plus is a longer version of the campervan, and they do include a built-in toilet as standard, giving you more comfortable options when choosing your camping spot. The Nugget Plus also has a wash basin near the toilet, and additional storage space in the rear.
The Ford Nugget is designed to sleep 4 adults. By default, it comes with two sleeping areas – seats in the living area which fold down into a double bed, and a second double bed in either the pop top roof or the high roof, depending on which model you choose. The upper bedroom area is quite spacious for its size.
You could potentially sleep three children on the lower double instead of two adults, but realistically it is considered a four-berth camper.
The Ford Nugget is built by Westfalia, a company that has built camper cans based on various popular vans since the 1950s. They were best known for converting Volkswagens, but have made other camper vans too, including the Ford Nugget since 1985. The original company was called Westfalia-Werke, but they filed for bankruptcy in 2010 before being acquired by the Rapido group in 2011.
There is a thriving community online of Ford Nugget enthusiasts, offering support to existing Nugget owners and those who are considering buying one for the first time. They have various groups on different social media platforms, along with their own dedicated forum called NuggetForum. Anyone interested in buying a Ford Nugget, or converting their own Ford Transit, will find plenty of help here.
There are two gearbox options for the Ford Nugget, a manual and automatic option. The newer models have a SelectShift automatic transmission which doubles as both – change gears manually if you prefer, or let it do its own thing. Some reviewers have criticised the automatic gearbox on the Nugget for being a little stiff.
The latest Ford Nugget models do include WiFi internet access for up to 10 devices on a 4G LTE network, although you will need to pay for a monthly plan in order to take advantage. You’ll get a 12-month free trial when you buy your car, and following that it costs £3.99 a month for FordPass Connect which will continue the service.
If you want a reliable campervan that is converted by experts, and backed by the manufacturer, then the Ford Nugget is an excellent option. Some of the additional features are perfect for camping, showing that real care has been paid to the design of the conversion. Second hand models tend to be reliable too.
Which is good, because the main drawback of the Ford Nugget is the cost – it’s not a cheap campervan, and brand new will cost you £60,000 plus in all likelihood. DIY converters will find much more satisfaction from converting their own Transit, at a significantly lower budget, but for anyone who wants the hard work done for them, to a high standard, the Nugget is a solid choice.