Berths: 4 Travel seats: 4 Base vehicle: Toyota Proace Gross weight: 3,100kg Payload: 600kg
This comes from the newly created Lunar Campers, formed from the acquisition of respected and highly experienced campervan specialist, Wellhouse Leisure, by independent British caravan and motorhome manufacturer, Lunar. It’s an outfit that is currently developing a whole host of new models, including the VW T6 Caledonia, the revised Terrier on the facelifted Ford Transit Custom and a new camper based on the Renault Trafic.
Of course, a major part of the appeal of the Lerina comes from its Proace base vehicle. Built in France alongside its Citroën Dispatch and Peugeot Expert sister models, this new van debuted in 2016 and was said to be the only all-new light commercial vehicle in its class (the T6 Volkswagen, for example, just being an update of the T5).
The Proace claims more than just a pretty face, though. Inside, its fascia design and cab layout give the impression of a good-quality MPV, with no utilitarian feel to let the side down. It rides comfortably, too, and seems well finished. Crucially, the Toyota is low enough to give the Lerina a car-park-barrier-beating 1.98m overall height, even with the addition of the pop-top. And using the Medium version of the Proace keeps the camper within an easy-to-park, under-5m overall length.
A glance at the little campervan in profile also reveals a wheels-at-each-corner stance (especially at the rear), which must be a factor in the Lerina’s excellent on-road behaviour.
Power comes from a pair of 2-litre Euro VI diesel engines – a 120bhp unit with six-speed manual gearbox (priced at £42,000) or a 180bhp version with automatic transmission (£44,250). For comparison, the cheapest diesel-powered VW California Ocean is now £56,597…
The Lerina’s advantage over key campervan rivals isn’t just in terms of price, though. It comes as standard with air-conditioning, remote central locking, cruise control, tinted windows, plus 17in alloy wheels and a 7in multi-media screen with DAB radio and sat-nav. A stop/start system is included to save fuel and reduce emissions and there’s keyless entry, just as you find on many a new car.
More surprising is that the automatic version – definitely the one we’d go for – comes with paddles behind the steering wheel, so you can change gear manually when the mood takes you. And the main gear selector is not the usual lever but a rotary switch on the centre console – more intuitive than it sounds and very easy to use.
The camper conversion uses the classic side kitchen floorplan but incorporates the top-quality fittings that you’d expect if you’ve ever examined a Ford Terrier (a past Campervan of the Year). The roof is from German specialist, SCA, and features a 1.87m by 1.01m roof bed sitting on plastic springs for superior sleeping comfort. The Schnierle sliding seat system is a fully crash-tested design mounted on floor rails for ultimate versatility and fitted with Isofix mountings for child seats. And the furniture – finished in gloss white – comes from Italian maker, Tecnoform.
The kitchen features a Dometic two-burner hob and sink combination, with a useful area of worktop alongside. A small 25-litre front-opening compressor fridge is fitted, with a drawer above, and the galley also provides storage for a portable chemical toilet. The standard spec includes a 100W solar panel and Eberspächer 2.2kW diesel-fired heating, too.
On site, the cab seats both swivel and the rear bench can be positioned in the optimum position, either to maximise floor space or storage in the rear boot. A free-standing table with tripod base is provided, while bed-making is a simple matter of folding the rear bench to make a flat 1.88m by 1.09m double bed. Importantly, sufficient standing room remains in front of the bed to get undressed.
If you’re after a well-priced, good-to-drive camper to act as a daily driver, then the Lerina is a modern, generously equipped newcomer that looks set to make significant inroads into a burgeoning market. A five-year conversion and base vehicle warranty is a further big plus.