Motorhome price watchers must be delighted with the way things are going in 2016 – especially as major players from the mainland are unleashing budget alternatives to their established ranges.
Notable players here are Adria, with its Sun Living brand, Knaus (with Weinsberg) and now Rapido, which has gathered up all of its previous van conversions and put them under the Dreamer umbrella. This covers off two ranges, Dreamer (four models) and the more expensive Dreamer Select (six). Take this Dreamer D42 as a standard example. Its £35,000 starting price is certainly an eye-opener – although, that’s with a rather threadbare specification.
But, there are options. There’s the Dreamer Pack, which covers off “essentials” such as passenger airbag, cab air conditioning, colour-matching for the front bumper, electric heated door mirrors, swivel seats with height adjustment and double armrests, and pre-wiring for a stereo and reversing camera. It’s deliberately impossible to miss £385.
The other key pack, ‘Confort’, is almost as hard to avoid – a further £500 gets you cab seats covers, plus fly screen and electric step at the sliding door. It still all adds up to a pretty hard to beat £35,885.
Fiat’s medium-length (5.4m) Ducato provides the base here. It’s the 3,300kg maximum weight version, but there’s still a more then decent 455kg payload margin. Graphics are kept low-key, and the only obvious cost-saver is the decision not to add windows to the back doors – although a bonus of this is it means you can actually sit upright on the bed.
There’s just the one bodywork colour, white, but there is a choice of Dune upholstery (here) or blue Lunar. Soft furnishings and furniture alike have a good feel to them, but a key feature of the interior is one you won’t necessarily notice – much of the interior panelling is ABS, moulded to suit the contours of the base vehicle, with what Rapido calls XHP (Xtreme Hybrid Protect) insulation. There’s also Styrofoam in the 25mm thick flooring.
The D42 layout somehow manages to squeeze in a fixed bed, set in the rear nearside corner with the washroom adjacent, while upfront is a lounge made from the swivelled cab chairs and double rear travel seat.
That bed has the same Bultex-branded mattresses that feature in other Rapido Group products, all the way up to its flagship A-class’s. Dimensions are 1.90m x 1.20m sloping to 0.90m and it has the extra support and ventilation of a slatted base. This can also be partly folded up for general load-carrying duties.
The washroom has a space-saving tambour main door that slides back to reveal a fixed corner basin, central shower area and swivel-bowl toilet.
Forward of this, the kitchen keeps things relatively simple with a campervan-style two-ring hob and sink combination and 90-litre compressor fridge. Kitchen storage is certainly at a premium, but the soft-close drawers can be applauded, while the gloss finish to the doors and drawers will prove easy to wipe clean.
Underneath the skin, you get a 110-litre fresh water tank, 90-litre waste water tank, gas locker that takes a single 13kg cylinder (the continentals still don’t go for under slung permanent gas tanks and all their advantages), 100ah leisure battery and more – hardly cost-cutters.
Some savings have been made, of course. The Truma Combi 4 heating and hot water system is gas-only, there are only standard-size roof lights and the rear seat foregoes adjustable head restraints.
UK versions are right-hand drive, of course, but – as with any such import – beyond the cab it all stays “left-handed”. It helps keep that pricing so keen.
There’s more information on the Dreamer ranges on the Dreamer website: www.dreamer-van.co.uk.
Find out more about our insuring this or your motorhome on our motorhome insurance discounts page.
Verdict: Keenly priced, compact
Plus: Permanent bed with Bultex mattress, superior insulation, good-value options packs
Minus: Limited kitchen storage, only one mains socket
In-a-nutshell: Bargain with a (fixed) bed
Alternatives: Weinsberg CaraBus 541MQ, Sun Living Flexo SP (6m long)
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