AT around £10,000 more expensive than Devon’s Renault-based models and over three feet longer, the Sapphire is most definitely Devon’s flagship model. At 6.94m (22ft 8in) long it is also unusually large for a high-top van conversion.
Based on the new Mercedes Sprinter, in long-wheelbase form, the Sapphire comes with a wide range of options – right up to a V6 diesel and torque converter automatic. Even the relatively modest Sprinter 311 base vehicle of the show model was described by Devon MD Peter Gowland as “the quietest van I’ve ever driven.” Fans of the three-pointed star will need little convincing that Teutonic build-quality is worth the extra expense.
With all that space to play with, Devon have come up with a layout that is unique in a high-top conversion – but would be nothing out of the ordinary in a low-profile coachbuilt. Chief amongst the Sapphire’s features is a longitudinal double bed at the rear with the bathroom alongside. The 6ft 4in double sits on a slatted base and covers a huge storage area that’s accessible through the twin rear doors. Above the bed, the LED lights have a dimmer switch, while full-height curtain can shut off the whole bedroom/bathroom area for privacy and a mirror is positioned for the lady motorcaravanner to sit on the end of the bed and apply make-up.
The corner washroom has a swivel cassette loo and a fold-down basin. A tambour door makes for easy access and there’s just enough space for showering.
Further forward, the L-shaped kitchen includes a Cramer three-burner hob, placed in the corner to free up extra worktop space adjacent to the mains socket – perfect for the kettle. Also fitted are a Dometic cooker hood, Waeco 65-litre compressor fridge and a Smev oven/grill, while the screen between bedroom and kitchen has a folding panel that creates lots more useful worktop for the chef.
The front of the vehicle boasts full leather trim – on both cab seats and the L-shaped settee. There’s a flatscreen TV as standard too, positioned for viewing in the lounge but removable so that it can be clipped into place in the bedroom too. A directional TV aerial is also fitted, as are cab blinds and concertina-type blinds in the living area. Carpets are fitted in the lounge but the galley area has a more practical vinyl floor.
The Sapphire takes Devon into new territory on both size and price but the Mercedes chassis will be the winning feature for many.
Base vehicle: Mercedes Sprinter LWB
Price from: £43,296 on-the-road
Length: 6.94m (22ft 8in)
Width: 1.99m (6ft 6in)
Height: 2.74m (9ft 0in)
Gross vehicle weight: 3,500kg