RATHER handily, Autocruise had a 2006-spec Stargazer on its NEC show stand, so I was able to see just what had changed for the coming season’s all-new model.
Most obvious of all, of course, is the ditching of the square old Peugeot Boxer base vehicle for the bug-eyed new-shape model, but the interior layout has remained largely unchanged.
Externally, the new-shape Boxer has meant that Autocruise has had to give the increasingly dated-looking shape of the old conversion a thorough work-over. The result is a less fussy rear panel, with the gloopy upper body mouldings and ubiquitous Hella tail-lights of old giving way to a much simpler three-piece affair enlivened with smart new stack tail-lights much the same as you get on the very latest A-class Niesmann + Bischoff Arto. There’s also the curious provision of a vertically mounted LED high-level third brake light.
Inside, the popular parallel lounge settees have been retained for 2007, and while some may find the show model’s overwhelmingly brown colour scheme a little too much, there’s no denying the comfort those seats impart. Making up the bed is a simple matter of either plonking a sleeping bag on each single bed, or pulling out the metal-legged extenders from beneath each settee to create one gigantic double.
As before, the dresser is to your left as you enter, and little has changed, a fact that carries with it both good news and bad. The good news is that this still makes for a fine TV station, thanks to the twin power sockets and aerial point (although the show model had a cleverly-installed 15-inch flatscreen LCD TV fitted to it as part of a £900 show pack). The bad news is that the dreadful, cheap-looking and flimsy ox-blood plastic fittings inside the drinks cabinet are still there: really and truly, on a motorhome costing over £40,000 I’d expect better than this.
Out back, the end kitchen once again gets over the problem of its zero worktops by providing a good-sized folding wooden cover for the sink/drainer. Meanwhile, the corner washroom has retained its brilliant swing-out vanity unit, which can be pulled out in its entirety on a strong gas ram to create a completely separate shower compartment with a second frosted door folded across. What’s more, the toilet and washbasin can still be used when the shower is in use. It’s positively ingenious. MLC
Better-looking and vastly more contemporary in feel than before, the latest Stargazer rights most of the old models shortcomings.
Base vehicle: Peugeot Boxer 2.2 HDi (100bhp)
Price from: £40,195 on-the-road
Length: 6.40m (21ft 0in)
Width: 2.23m (7ft 4in)
Height: 2.79m (9ft 2in)
Gross vehicle weight: 3,400kg