The unique Romahome R40 on test!
The new Romahome R40
Like other Romahomes, the new R40 has a diesel-engined Citroën base vehicle and a monocoque GRP body with its door at the rear. It has four berths, six travel seats and all the facilities of a full-sized coachbuilt – all new areas for the brand.
And with dare-to-be-different Espresso trim it could just be the vehicle to attract a younger audience.
The more you drive the R40, the more you realise that it has its own character. Smooth and relaxed on the motorway (though not immune to crosswinds), the Citroën’s slightly lethargic initial acceleration suggests a gentler pace on country roads.
The interior layout is not so much a revolution as an evolution of its smaller Romahome cousins. We’ve seen the pullman dinettes – one each side – in the Berlingos before now, but here there’s more space and full (6ft 7½in) standing room.
The side kitchen (at the nearside rear) is conventional in its fittings – although no Romahome before has had so much chef-appeal – and the bathroom (rear offside) is a one-piece GRP moulding (totally leakproof) like the one in the Romahome Dimension high-top (now the R30).
But while nothing else on the market shares quite this layout, it’s the monochrome décor that really catches the eye. It’s one of three options and is already popular with customers.
Romahome has also worked closely with Amperor on the R40’s innovative integrated electrical systems. These include the touch-screen control panel (with remote control) over the offside lounge window and the battery-to-battery charging system.
The control panel is easy to use once it has been demonstrated, but having central control of the lights here in just two zones makes no sense. You cannot turn the touch-sensitive bathroom lights on without the kitchen lights being on and the single light for the overcab bed will not come on if the lounge lights have first been extinguished (as they would be, normally).
The charging system sounds impressive, though. It thinks for itself in normal use but can charge a flat vehicle battery from mains hook-up and charges the leisure battery up to five times faster than a standard alternator.
Less high-tech and more down to simple neat design is the seating area, which can provide a giant (almost 6ft square) double bed, two comfy singles, four travel seats (two with three-point belts, two with lap restraints), a pair of two-seater dinettes, two settees, a pair of chaise longues or a mix and match combination of any of the above permutations.
The default position is the two dinettes, which cater for four adults to eat comfortably at two tables.
The Romahome’s kitchen – with its black and white décor, chunky metallic cupboard handles, wipe-clean splashback, self-closing drawers and doors and a smart metal-lined cutlery tray, feels like a domestic kitchen not a motorcaravan galley.
The interior of the Romahome R40
It gets a good-sized 97-litre fridge, the domestic-style Spinflo slot-in cooker and the generous amount of worktop area.
And with six high-level lockers (all with wipe-clean GRP interiors), the R40 is not short on cupboard space.
The piece de résistance as far as storage is concerned comes with the wardrobes – yes, wardrobes plural. These are sandwiched between the lounge and bathroom on the offside and are slide-out units, one above the other.
The Romahome R40 is a potential star of the compact coachbuilt class and there’s a lot to get excited about such as the clever seating arrangements, the travel seats for six, berths for four and the generous kitchen.
Price from: £37,995 OTR
Base vehicle: SWB Citroën Relay
Engine: 2 litre HDI Citroën Dispatch (120bhp)
Travel seats: 6
Insurance cost: £222.25*
*Motorhome Insurance quotation is based on Romahome R40, kept on the road and fitted with manufacturer’s immobiliser and a Thatcham Cat 1 Approved Alarm. Based on an annual mileage of 7000 miles. Motorhome owners – professionals aged over 50, with no claims in the last 3 years, convictions or health conditions, 2 years motorhome driving experience and a member of a motorhome owners club, living in HS3 3DW. EU Travel costs an additional £24, EU breakdown costs an additional £42. Prices quoted include Insurance Premium Tax at 5% and are correct as of 06/05/2008