With German build quality and lots of clever design touches the Regent is an impressive van conversion. Not cheap, but impressive!
La Strada Regent L 2008
THE latest version of the Regent seems to have made a good marriage with the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter base.
The medium wheelbase chassis used featured the 150 horsepower version of the Sprinter’s 2.2-litre turbo-diesel, driving the rear wheels through a slick six-speed gearbox.
Other power units and even a proper automatic gearbox (with torque convertor) are also available.
Aside from rather conservative styling, everything about the latest Merc is improved.
Better brakes, lighter clutch action – even seemingly better quality switchgear – all help make this high-quality base more of a pleasure to drive.
Handling, too, is better – sharper and more responsive, while still retaining the comfortable ride for which the Sprinter is known.
In the living area, the Regent’s take on the high-top panel van conversion is very different to the norm.
The highlight of this conversion is a drop-down double bed, descending from the tall roof to offer instant slumber-space come sundown.
Upfront, swivelling cab seats join a compact L-shaped lounge-diner that also makes a compact bed, more suited to the kids.
A step up to the rear sees you in the well-equipped kitchen that included an oven and grill and loads of storage.
Here too, lurks the – rather modest – wardrobe, complete with removable shelves that can make it an alternative folded-clothes cupboard.
The second pleasant surprise in this unusual ‘van is to be found in the washroom.
Running right across the rear, the Regent’s brilliant ablutions include a separate shower compartment. The stainless steel washbasin benefits from a cleverly angled mirror above that gives a full-length view, while practical storage space is equally impressive.
There’s no rear access to the interior, but open the back doors and you find not only the gas locker and toilet cassette, but underfloor storage space for your outdoor chairs and the like.
Come bedtime and it’s a simple matter to lower the bed, and furniture is strategically placed to form the steps leading upstairs.
A degree of agility is – of course – required for Regent owners to get the best from this ‘van.
The Regent is a high-quality conversion from a respected manufacturer, packing an awful lot of motorcaravan into a relatively small space. It’s not cheap, but Merc enthusiasts will love it.
Tardis-like and well made, this high-top camper packs plenty into a small space. Fans of German engineering should queue here.
This review first appeared in the April 2007 issue of Which Motorcaravan. To subscribe to the magazine, click here.