When you’re asking £65,000 for a 6.5-metre coachbuilt and taking on the big guns from Swift and Auto-Trail you need something special.
The fit and finish is remarkable and there’s a sense of quality first, price second about things like the thickness of the GRP on those side walls.
Of course, the three-pointed star on the front not only increases the price (by around £5000 over a Fiat) but it heightens customer expectations, too.
The cab in the IH J220
We don’t think they’ll be found wanting here; everything about the J220 feels sturdy, built-to-last.
And there’s a bespoke storage box behind that flap in the offside skirt.
But the rear boot tells you the most about this ‘van. Where other motorhomes of this layout suffer from a lack of storage for your outdoor gear, the IH has a big lockable and illuminated compartment behind a full-width hinged panel with gas strut assistance. It really makes a difference.
Inside the J220 looking back
A real forte of the ‘van is its lighting. Just tap the three switches on the bulkhead behind the driver and you get ceiling lights, cab lights and roof-level mood lighting, each dimmable by simply holding your finger on the button.
There are reading lights too (a quartet of them), and more LEDs in the kitchen area with a switch by the door as you come in.
Its long settees just crying out for you to put your feet up with the Sunday papers – here, the J220 combines one of Britain’s best-loved layouts with a bit of typical IH pizzazz.
As ever, though, it’s the IH details that count as much as the décor – the corner shelves for your drinks and the neatly concealed 15-inch flatscreen TV/DVD.
While the J220 is both unashamedly two-berth in its on-road and on-site accommodation, there’s plenty of room to entertain.
You could comfortably seat eight in that lounge and four place settings might just be squeezed onto the tables. Yes, the tables are plural, though they appear as one when joined together. Both store in the luton and the legs both go in the wardrobe, but if it’s just a snack then one table will do.
The washroom in the IH J220
There’s no need to keep your cooking simple, though. The Smev cooker may eschew the fashionable mains hotplate but it does come with four gas rings and a combined oven and grill.
You’ll not find a washroom like this in any mass-produced motorhome. It may lack a separate shower, but just look at the style.
From the blue backlit cupboards above the Dometic toilet to the oval stainless steel shower curtain ring in the ceiling, and from the porthole-style mirrors to the tempered glass accessories and stainless steel basin, this washroom takes the mundane and turns it into something special.
IH J220’s fridge
At night-time you simply have a choice of two 1.92m (6ft 3.5in) settees that pull out slightly from the walls to create single beds with a central aisle or you can join the twin sofas together in the middle to enjoy a 1.48m (4ft 10in) wide double bed.
With the under-seat space providing more useful stowage, there should be plenty of room on board for most couples’ chattels.
The J220 has pretty much everything the motorhomer needs for comfortable living. Top quality and bespoke build, plus a Mercedes chassis, costs a bit more but the J220 is worth the extra.
For more information visit www.ihmotorhomes.com
Price: £61,995 OTR
Base vehicle: Mercedes Benz Sprinter
Engine: 2.2 CDI
Travel seats: 2
Insurance cost: £303.75*
*Motorhome insurance cost based on 2010 IH J220 valued at £61,995. Fitted with manufacturers alarm/immobiliser and approved tracking device, kept at home at TD9 8BD. Motorhome owners – professionals over 50 years old with no claims, convictions or health conditions 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 7000 miles annually. £250 excess applies. European cover £15 extra, European Breakdown £42 extra. Premiums include insurance premium tax at 5% and are correct as of 14.04.10.