Big motorhomes? Easy. Cramming everything into a compact body and still leaving actual living space – not forgetting storage room – that’s the tricky bit. Especially if you still want to major on quality.
A compact A-class may seem a bit of a paradox. More so if its other key selling point is its light weight. And you can bet, because it wears the name of the German company that’s celebrated as the founder of the European A-class motorhome (back in 1960, would you believe?), there’s a guarantee of class-leading build quality.
Sure, being a Hymer also means it’s not going to be cheap. That near £58,000 starting price is soon bumped up to a more realistic over-£60,000 figure – you’ll definitely want one of the two Comfort Packages on offer for the 414, for starters. There’s a comprehensive individual options list thereafter.
Needless to say, there’s a whopping payload here, too – over 700kg – so adding the extras is no problem as far as weights are concerned.
But, that overall short, narrow size makes it very easy to manoeuvre as well as very economical. If you get as far as a test drive, you’ll also notice how Hymer consistently makes its vehicles less susceptible to rattles compared to its rivals. Do note, it’s available as standard with right-hand drive here in the UK.
It may be smaller than its stablemates, but plenty of the usual Hymer cues are here – from the wind-up sunroof over the lounge to the clever flatscreen TV bracket to lots of clever lockers. And it’s all encompassed by Hymer’s famed PUAL bodywork construction, also now featuring a protective GRP underfloor.
There’s clever use of space throughout, too, especially when it comes to the washroom. It has a clever drop-down sink over the swivel-bowl toilet, really well thought-out storage and full plastic lining that means the whole room becomes a cubicle for showering.
Opposite this, the kitchen is decidedly compact. It’s a three-ring Smev hob and sink combination, as standard, complemented here by the 150-litre narrow fridge/freezer option. Storage includes three large drawers (so much more convenient than lockers, especially as the lower two also have removable partitioning. A Thetford Aspire cooker is a UK extra, but you’ll lose storage.
It’s a typical continental lounge, complete with a fixed leg table that’s large enough for lots of diners but also moves easily to allow through-access. You can also ring the changes with the lounge seating, making an L-shaped settee if required.
True, rear transverse bed arrangements like this haven’t proved as popular here in the UK as the rest of the continent. Its high setting – a wooden ladder is supplied – merely means there’s more emphasis on the garage storage below.
But, bear in mind this is an A-class, so you still get a substantial double bed – not as long, but wider than the rear double, and it allows you to sit up – dropping down manually over the cab area and providing, again with its own ladder, easier access.
Not the layout for you? The 414 here kicks off a 12-strong model line-up of Exsis A-class’s, all adhering closely to that lightweight quality theme. Proof, perhaps, that less really can mean more…
Plus: Compact size and driving licence-friendly weight, Hymer quality and heritage
Minus: Costly options, high rear bed
In-a-nutshell: Lightweight contender
Cost to insure: £369.50*
- Hymer Exsis-i 414
- 4 berth
- Fiat Ducato chassis-cowl with Al-Ko extension, 2.3-litre, 130bhp Euro V
- Dimensions 5.99m L x 2.22m W x 2.77m H
- Maximum weight 3,500kg
- Payload 740kg
- Key options: Comfort Package 2 – automatic cab air conditioning, front suspension upgrade, cruise control, cab door, habitation door with window, Jumbo fridge (£4,440), carpets (£330), Thetford’s Aspire cooker (£630)
- Security and Safety Electronic immobiliser, ABS and EBD (electronic brake distribution), twin airbags, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, ESC (electronic stability control), ESC (electronic stability control), Traction Plus and Hill Holder, daytime running lights
- MPG estimate 29-33
Recommended retail price from £57,840**
There’s more information on the Hymer Exsis i-414 on the Hymer website and to find out more about our low-cost premiums visit the motorhome insurance discounts page.
Alternatives: Dethleffs Globebus I 1, Pilote Galaxy G600G, Rapido 803F
*Motorhome insurance cost based on Hymer Exsis-i 414 retailing at £57,840 fitted with manufacturer fitted immobiliser and Caravan Guard approved tracking system. UK travel only. Kept in secure storage at TD9 8ED. Motorhome owners – professionals over 50 years old with no claims or convictions in last 3 years. 4 years no claims bonus mirrored from car policy and 2 years motorhome driving experience. Members of motorhome club doing less than 5000 miles annually. £300 excess applies. Premiums include insurance premium tax at 6% and are correct at 14/01/2015.
**On-the-road, including VAT at 20%