Best Ultimate A-class: Le Voyageur LV 7.8 LU motorhome
This stylish A-class carries off a hint of luxury with two lounges and loads of top-notch detailing throughout. Meet What Motorhome's choice as the Best Ultimate A-class in its annual awards, Le Voyageur LV 7.8 LU...
There seems to be a small but growing interest in A-class motorhomes with a rear lounge. Whether you’re looking at the more affordable end of the sector, where Roller Team’s Pegaso 745 sits alone, at the middle ground in which Rapido’s 9094dF excels, or at the very top end where Carthago’s Liner-for-two and Frankia’s Plus models have become well established, it’s not hard to see the appeal of the concept, especially where generous external storage has been incorporated to make up for the loss of under-bed space.
After all, you’ve got the drop-down bed in the cab, which is an A-class staple without the compromises of a lowerable bed in a low-profile – and some of these latest rear lounge designs just feel oh-so-spacious.
The latest model to join the sector comes from Pilote Group’s upmarket Gallic brand, Le Voyageur, and it actually reinvents a design that was popular for its parent company back in the early 90s.
This, however, is a much more prestigious beast, albeit with a sense of style that is wholly different from the usual German brands that compete in this £100k-plus niche of the motorhome world. Fancy a bit of French chic? Well, the LV 7.8 LU has it by the camion load and there’s A-class expertise going back to 1981 to back it up, too.
The really important bit in this design, though, is at the back. Someone at the Angers factory in the Loire valley clearly has an eye for style, for this is not your typical end lounge. In fact, it’s not like any other we can remember.
Built around an octagonal table that’s large enough for four hungry gastronomes, is a settee that replicates the tabletop’s shape, creating a five-sided sofa that looks perfect for convivial evenings with friends or family. It’s not as big a lounge as in Carthago’s Liner-for-two (last year’s Ultimate class winner) but the area feels more spacious once the table has been folded in half, and there’s plenty of room for two to relax.
Neat corner wardrobes are also incorporated here and they automatically illuminate and pull your shirts and skirts towards you when you open the doors – clever.
The pièce de résistance in the lounge, though, is the TV Pack. As well as the 32in Teleco full HD screen, this includes an automatic 85cm satellite dish and decoder, wall-mounted Jehnert speakers and amplifier and, coolest of all, an electrically rising bracket that sees the telly appear – James Bond style – from the end of the galley.
The lounge also hides a secret – a good-sized garage below. It’s up to 1.19m high (across a minimum of 43cm wide), reducing to 74cm tall under the lounge seating. There are upper and lower tie-downs to secure your bikes, plus 12V and 230V sockets and a full-width LED strip light.
Unlike its top-end rivals, the Le Voyageur also has a lounge at the front, adding versatility to the design and making it much more practical if you ever want to carry more than two people on board. It’s not the usual half-dinette – instead, the cab’s swivel Aguti captain’s chairs turn to face individual forward-facing seats, thus creating a roomy four-person lounge. Each of the mini-dinettes has its own table that can be stored away safely for travel.
It’s not long before you start to notice all the top-notch details throughout this motorhome. The stylish net curtains and voiles, the provision of USBs and mains sockets, the vast array of lighting (much of it dimmable), the soft trim on walls and ceiling and the superbly finished, double-stitched leather upholstery.
As you wander through the vehicle, you also notice another positive – the flat floor from cab to rear lounge. There’s lots of use of white in the décor, in the kitchen area especially, and the Dune cabinetwork also helps with the bright, spacious feel. There are backlit details everywhere, too, from kitchen drawer fronts to ceiling panels and around the coat hanging area in the doorway. You won’t ever feel claustrophobic in this motorhome.
In the centre of the layout, the galley impresses with its domestic-style cooker hood, its generous worktop and the neat sink lid that reverses to become a plate drying rack. But the real star here is the storage – and not just the quantity but the way it’s arranged. You’ll discover an array of slide-out sections, from a large cutlery drawer to a huge pull-out compartment that incorporates two bins and a rack for eight bottles.
There’s a deep drawer for all your pans and a further slide-out rack for a quartet of wine bottles, as well as one for tins, and most of these drawers are locked for travel by a single key (a buzzer sounds if you forget it and drive off).
And don’t be put off by the photos here that show a two-burner hob – a three-ring cooker is available, as is an oven or microwave.
The main bed is the drop-down one in the cab – a conventional transverse double as standard. The option you want, though, is called Duo Bed. This lowers electrically before extending rearwards to create a 2m-long bed in which you can sleep lengthways (easier for access without disturbing your better half).
The forward bedroom also gets its own en suite, with the toilet door closing off the whole front area. The toilet cubicle has backlit mirrors hiding plenty of practical storage and, opposite, there’s another star feature – a super-sized shower with sensible central drain, shelf for gels, rail for your flannel and a large roof vent.
And we still haven’t finished with all the great stuff in this motorhome. There are outside lockers for gas (larger 13kg cylinders) and batteries (upgradable to lithium), as well as storage in the full-width double floor.
There’s Alde heating, a built-in fresh water hose on a reel, an inboard waste water drain valve (where it won’t freeze) and a facility to top up your fresh water (a whopping 200 litres) when you can’t get close to a tap. And the mains lead is mounted on a reel, ready for use, too.
Asked to pick a star of last October’s NEC show, we chose this Le Voyageur and longer experience of the model has only made us more convinced that it’s a worthy winner here.