Dethleffs greatly increases the standard spec for its Globeline in the UK, making the pricing look surprisingly competitive – especially considering the rear-wheel drive Mercedes Sprinter base that will be a key part of the appeal. As well as the sophisticated cab, though, it’s the attention to detail and quality of this motorhome that shine through.
Price from: £70,990 Berths: 3/4 Travel seats: 4 Base vehicle: Mercedes Sprinter Length: 6.96m Gross weight: 3,500kg – 4,100kg
Mercedes and Dethleffs have a joint history, on and off, that goes back to the very first motorhome that the brand imported to the UK in the early 1980s. More recently, the Globeline name was used on a low-profile based on the previous-generation Sprinter.
And now the two Teutons are together again with this latest Globeline T 6613 motorhome, although the fact there’s just a single model makes it look like a toe in the water compared with Hymer’s almost wholesale adoption of the three-pointed star.
You also might not have expected Dethleffs to have opted for the rear-wheel drive Sprinter, when several rivals have gone for the front-drive version. But it seems that the company has benefited here, in the UK at least, as the rear-wheel drive Mercedes is not subject to the new higher rates of VED (road tax) applied to other motorhomes. And that’s before you consider the advantages of traction on some surfaces and the suitability for towing.
But the Globeline T 6613 motorhome is not the leviathan you might anticipate. Indeed, at under 7m long it is a good deal more compact than many Mercedes-based motorhomes. And it’s available on a licence-friendly 3,499kg chassis, too, although the test vehicle was optionally upgraded to 4,100kg.
This test Globeline, which was supplied by Travelworld, also came with the Style Package comprising a metallic black cab, chrome grille, colour-coded bumper, flush-fitting habitation windows and coachbuilt body in silver. Further upping the ante was the Assistance Package, which includes the seven-speed automatic gearbox, adaptive cruise control, Attention Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, automatic wipers and High Beam Assist.
Those two packs combined add £6,000 to the price (and reduce payload by 43kg) but you’d probably not want to be without either, for this is a classy motorhome that can wear its near-£80k price tag without that looking over-ambitious.
Part of that, of course, comes down to the star on the front, a feature often liked by motorhomers and one that has always carried a substantial premium. In the past, however, it’s not always been easy to justify the extra expenditure. Now, from the moment you get behind the wheel, it’s clear that this is not your average light commercial chassis.
The leather steering wheel with cruise control, radio and Bluetooth switches, along with digital air-conditioning can be taken as read.
Where the latest Sprinter excels is in the tech on offer. All UK-market Globelines get the 10.25in MBUX central multimedia display with sat-nav and reversing camera, while the clarity of these displays is as pin-sharp as you’d expect in a Mercedes E-Class saloon.
Keyless starting and Crosswind Assist are further standard features, but it’s not just about having all the latest toys. On the road, the standard 143bhp seems entirely adequate and there are 163 and 190bhp options to consider. The slick 7G automatic gearbox has long been a feature of Merc-based motorhomes and continues to impress with its changes that may be heard (in terms of a change in engine note) but are rarely felt, while this new-generation Sprinter seems tauter than before, retaining a comfortable ride quality but without lean and wallow.
It’s a smooth, refined drive that you can enjoy all the more because it’s matched by an impressive lack of creaks, groans or rattles from the Dethleffs’ living area.
The Aguti captain’s chairs with tilt/height-adjustable squabs and the reach/rake variation of the steering column mean that a comfortable driving position should be achievable for all. Press the engine start button and the message ‘step extended’ will flash up between the super-sized speedo and rev counter, emphasising the thoroughness of Dethleffs’ conversion. It’s just a pity that the step doesn’t then auto-retract.
The extra-wide habitation door does, however, make for easier loading before you set off on your travels and, although the door is linked to the Mercedes remote central locking, I was surprised to see that this door has only one locking point.
What won’t cause any such negative feelings is the impression of comfort and quality inside. The layout might be as predictable as beer at the Oktoberfest, but the execution is in a different league to some rivals. That starts with an L-shaped lounge seat that offers more support for your legs and more comfort for your back (by virtue of softer, slightly pillow-like backrests).
The cab seats turn easily, too, to join a sturdy table that slides fore/aft and side to side, while Roman blinds add privacy at the large side window and the opening overcab sunroof and deep window in the door allow plenty of daylight into the area.
Artificial lighting is impressive as well, with backlit sections at the side of the overcab being particularly attractive, but the shelves around the cab roof are of limited practicality as their lips are so shallow. A three-pin mains socket is located up there, where you might expect USBs and some directional reading lights.
Rear-wheel drive means a relatively high floor, so the cab, lounge and kitchen are all on the same level and there are both external and internal steps as you enter. Headroom is impressive, though – 2.03m in the galley and 1.88m under the optional drop-down bed in the lounge.
A simple TV bracket is mounted high on the washroom wall and this can slide out towards the aisle but doesn’t lower. Either 22in or 32in TVs are listed as factory options and Isofix is available for the rear travel seat.
Wall hooks in the galley are useful for hanging implements on while you’re cooking, but not tea towels so close to the hob – they can go on the rail on the front of the oven. It’s a Thetford Duplex unit here (a combined oven and grill), mounted below the XXL cutlery drawer as one of the many upgrades to Globeline spec for the UK.
There are twin 230V sockets on the front of the kitchen unit, too, which could work well in conjunction with the worktop flap at the end of the galley – the wide door here means it’s still easy to pass by.
Other features include a bin inside the large shelved cupboard next to the oven and a second drawer under it. There’s also a deeper drawer under the fridge, perhaps for pots and pans, while the top locker could accommodate cereal packets and the like with its shelf extracted. The fridge itself is a slim model with a generous 142-litre capacity, a bottle drawer and automatic energy selection.
It’s not a big space but what room there is, is well used, with details like the sink cover adding practicality. The Virginia Oak furniture mated to high-gloss top locker doors and silver table and worktop edging gives a typically modern Dethleffs vibe to the interior but it’s the superbly finished upholstery in tones of grey and a mix of tweed and suede-style materials that is perhaps the defining touch to the contemporary décor.
As this is a sub-7m motorhome, it’s expected that the shower and toilet will be in the same compartment, but there’s no fear of becoming entangled in a shower curtain here, nor any gimmicky swing-wall device to employ. The toilet and shower share floor space but, as a wooden duckboard slots into the tray when the latter isn’t in action, there isn’t really much of a downside to that.
And there are plenty of upsides to this ‘little room’. The shower itself is a decent size and has twin drains. More expansive still is the leg and shoulder room on the cassette toilet, but do check out headroom if you’re tall – it reduces to 1.86m as you step up into the washroom from the galley area.
Storage for toiletries, etc, is adequate and stylised Dethleffs ‘D’ logos form neat towel hooks, while a basket for gels is found in the shower. A roof vent lets out the steam and there’s a clothes-drying rail in the shower, too.
You go up two steps to bed at the rear in this classic singles-over-garage format but, before you do that, you’ll pass a tall (1.37m drop from the rail) and super-slim (just 24cm wide) wardrobe alongside the fridge. There’s a second, much broader wardrobe (still with a decent hanging height of 86cm) under the offside single bed and this can be accessed by the usual door, or the whole bed can be hinged sideways on gas struts.
The equivalent area on the nearside is not as deep and is fitted out as a shelved cupboard, while coats can also hang on more ‘D’ logos on the side of the washroom wall.
Unusually, there’s no storage under the bedroom steps, just servicing access to the fresh water tank, but there are top lockers along the back wall and open shelves for nicknacks.
Unfortunately, the lockers over the head of the beds prevent comfortable sitting up to read or enjoy a lazy breakfast – just as they do in many rivals. But we couldn’t fault the comfort of the seven-zone mattresses on slatted wooden staves. Sizes should suit most couples, too – a generous 1.93m long on the nearside and a still-adequate 1.85m (over 6ft) on the offside, where there’s also an unobtrusive cut-off corner at the foot of the bed.
There’s also the usual central cushion (1.07m long) between the twin beds, allowing for loads of shoulder room at night. Or, you can extend this area to 1.50m with a slide-out panel and slot-in cushion. Now you’ll need a ladder to get into bed but you can use the area as a 2.11m-long transverse double.
A ladder is also required to access the optional drop-down bed over the lounge. No seats need to be adjusted before you turn the key to lower the bed electrically and it’s still just possible to sit underneath – more awkward, perhaps, is limboing out through the habitation door. The lowerable berth is another single but longer and wider than either of those in the stern and with a decent amount of headroom (58cm) and its own touch-to-operate reading light. It’s worth remembering that the electric bed weighs a substantial 55kg.
If two berths aren’t enough but three will do, the standard lounge bed may be sufficient. This uses a couple of large extra cushions to convert the lounge into a short (1.66m) single bed in which your feet go onto the swivelled passenger cab seat.
One of the key reasons for choosing a twin bed layout like this is the garage below – here measuring 1.21m high and 95cm wide. Two full-sized loading doors serve this huge space, which also houses the switch for the electric waste water emptying valve.
There’s a full chassis extension underneath to support the garage area and payload is very generous on this 4.1-tonne example, but you’ll still need to watch rear axle limits as well as the effects on handling of too much mass back here combined with a fairly long rear overhang.