The layout here is a classic one that will suit couples who occasionally take extra guests (grandchildren, perhaps). The fold-up travel seats (now with Isofix) add versatility to a design that majors on comfortable single beds, a well-equipped kitchen and an excellent washroom. A lack of external storage space for outdoor gear will be a downside for some.
Base vehicle: Peugeot Boxer Price from: £54,995 Berths: 4 Travel seats: 4 Length: 7.34m Width: 2.20m Height: 2.82m Gross weight: 3,500kg
The recipe is a simple one – take a proven, mass-market model and add more equipment – and it’s one with which Marquis Leisure has an ultra-successful track record. The Majestic range is claimed to be Britain’s best-selling dealer special edition motorhome range.
There are 13 models in the line-up, all of them low-profile coachbuilts, mirroring Elddis’ Autoquest, Accordo and Encore ranges. This 185 is a rebranded Autoquest with more equipment and, in this form, is exclusive to Marquis, although other dealers have their own variations on the theme. What no-one else can match is a network of 13 branches around England for sales and service.
The model tested here majors on the classic format of fixed twin beds and an end washroom and it has some detail changes this season, not least the adoption of the latest Euro 6.2 (otherwise known as 6d) Peugeot Boxer cab.
It’s not hard to see why a Majestic costs a little more than a standard Autoquest. Before you even step inside you’ll have spotted the metallic silver cab, the alloy wheels and the Dometic roll-out awning.
Of course, this special edition has its own look, too, thanks to a different graphics design and, if you look closer, you will spot the external shower and barbecue points, too, and a look onto the roof will reveal the solar panel fitted as standard.
Even more important for some buyers will be the standard-fit 165bhp engine, rather than the usual 140bhp unit. Both are now 2.2-litre BlueHDi motors requiring AdBlue to meet the latest, most stringent emissions standards. As well as offering 30Nm more torque than the lesser engine, it’s up by 5bhp and 20Nm over the previous equivalent 2-litre diesel of the 2016 to 2019 Boxer.
On the road, the new unit seemed smooth and, despite the newness of the test vehicle, we couldn’t fault its performance. Apart from the addition of a stop/start system, though you might be disappointed by the lack of new tech, and the fact that the cab interior looks much as it did when this generation of Peugeot van first arrived in 2007.
There’s still no automatic option for this Peugeot base vehicle, either – in fact, the list of optional extras on any Majestic is shorter than a politician’s apology. No options are listed!
That’s thanks to a kit list that includes a reversing camera with constantly running display where a rear-view mirror would usually sit, a DAB radio with sat-nav and Bluetooth, cruise control, driver and passenger airbags, automatic lights and wipers, a leather steering wheel and a GPS Tracker and alarm.
There is no crosswind assist system or lane departure warning and the rather limited adjustment of the steering column may be an issue for some drivers.
Undeniably, though, the Majestic is better equipped than most Peugeot-based (or Fiat Ducato) rivals. I did notice some conversion noise while driving on country roads and, while its spec has been improved, there is a lack of external storage.
There are flaps for loo servicing, the leisure battery and hook-up, and the gas locker (where we stowed hose and mains lead instead of a second cylinder), but there is no external loading facility for the under-bed or under-seat lockers.
The habitation door (complete with bin, window and flyscreen but not linked to the remote central locking) is centrally located with just an internal step to aid access as this is a lower frame chassis. The door can be held open on site by a magnetic catch and, unusually, is hinged from the rear.
Step inside and turn left into the lounge area and you’ll see a classic British side settee lounge and it all looks rather plush. There are knee-rolls to give the settees more shape, plus armrests and scatter cushions.
Large windows, a push-up Heki rooflight and an overcab sunroof ensure there’s loads of daylight and, when the sun goes down, there are directional reading lights in each corner plus mood lights over the top lockers. Blinds are the simpler pull-down type and in the cab there are not just fitted Remis blinds but also long, lined curtains for a cosier look, too.
The cab chairs rotate easily to make a comfortable lounge for five or six (the offside settee is a touch narrow for two adults) and a raised floor here ensures there are no differing seat heights. That said, the settees’ height favours those with longish legs.
Despite the open-plan lounge, however, this is not just a pure two-berth.
Elddis was one of the pioneers of offering fold-away travel seats hidden under sofas and there are now six models in the Majestic range with this feature. Better still, the latest Aguti chairs seen here now come with Isofix for child seats. Stowed, you’d not know they were there, but unfolded they add versatility to the 185, even if it is at the expense of a little storage. And they’re not just for kids – despite being quite slim, they could be used by adults and have a decent amount of legroom, especially on the nearside, although shoulder room is slightly compromised by the way the settee bases fold up alongside.
For dining, a free-standing table is retrieved from a convenient locker by the door. At 840mm by 470mm wide, it’s rather slim to be comfortably reached from both sides if people are sat on both of the opposing sofas.
New this season is the Whale CompleteHeat system, which is underslung (freeing up space inside) and offers a 4.3kW output on gas and mains power.
It is simple to operate and claims to provide hot water in just five minutes. With outside night-time temperatures hovering around freezing, I noticed that no heat was being directly pumped into the lounge as there are currently no heater outlets there. That said, the washroom and bedroom areas were kept sufficiently toasty.
The front of the 185 doesn’t just offer a lounge and four-person travel but also a bedroom.
It’s an easy transformation, too, without using the table or those fiddly caravan-style pull-out slats. Here, the seat bases just extend into the centre where they meet, and then you just need to flip the Ozio cushions over to create a flat mattress.
The resultant bed is very long as it stretches across the full width of the motorhome. It’s less than 4ft wide and narrows further towards the offside, so pillows need to go to the nearside. A concertina division screens off the front bed for privacy although the division leaves no floor space as it runs alongside the bed.
Of course, the front bed is not the main sleeping area in this model, which has two permanent single beds towards the rear.
These are mounted low for easy access and sit on either side of the door to the rear washroom.
With this type of arrangement there’s no option to convert them into a double bed but there’s plenty of room to sit up in bed and each side has a reading light, shelf for a glass of water, etc, and a padded headboard.
Not only that but this Majestic gets upgraded Hypnos mattresses, which are yet another extra compared to the standard Elddis Autoquest.
The twin beds are not identical in length – the nearside bed is over six feet long while the offside is slightly less than six feet long (5ft 10in), and, as each is sandwiched between a wall at each end, it would be advisable to try them for size if both of you are tall.
It’s worth noting, too, that there is no ventilation panel between the bed and the side wall, which did feel cool on a winter’s night.
At the foot of the nearside bed, over the table locker, is a TV point, as well as 12V, 230V and USB sockets, although no telly or supporting bracket is provided.
A TV positioned here would also be in prime position for viewing from the lounge when it has been turned through 180 degrees.
Over each bed is a trio of large top lockers but under the beds you’ll not find the large space for outdoor chairs, etc, as much of the offside bed base is contains electrical gubbins, water pump and wheelarch, while the opposite side is home to three drawers and the gas locker.
The galley faces you as you enter and it sits between a single bed and a sofa on the offside, with a splashguard to protect your duvet at one end and a flip-up worktop extension at the other.
In between, you’ll find all the bells and whistles you expect of a British motorhome – mains hotplate and three gas burners, a separate oven and grill, a fitted microwave, two 230V sockets and even a two-way extractor fan in the ceiling.
There’s no fancy illuminated splashback or draining board.
There is a 95-litre three-way fridge which requires you to select gas, 12V or 230V power manually and press an igniter button if using the propane.
On test – and we suspect this may be a one-off issue – we noticed the kitchen sink was slow to drain.
Alongside the fridge is a bank of long, slim drawers, topped by a wider shallower one – none of them is fitted with a cutlery holder but there’s plenty of room here for all your utensils.
Up top, next to the microwave, you’ll find plate and cup racks.
This Majestic was my home-from-home during the February NEC show, staying at the Caravan and Motorhome Club’s Chapel Lane site and, after long days at the show cooking was not really on the agenda but, in normal circumstances, I’d have been very happy to rustle up my meals in this motorhome.
As it was, coffee and croissants in the morning was all it had to provide.
Much more important on this test was the spacious end washroom, which also acts as a changing room, thanks to its size and the inclusion here of a surprisingly generous wardrobe.
Behind the swivel cassette toilet, the hanging space here is 700mm across with a drop from the rail of 1.15m, so accommodating a variety of casual clothes and work gear for the show was no problem at all.
On the other side of the room the spacious shower was equally welcome, although it does only have a single drain so waste water takes longer to drain away.
Showering here was a pleasure with plenty of warm water via the water-saving showerhead and a convenient shelf for my gel.
The shower cubicle was also roomy enough that I could fling my arms around in here without elbowing the walls and the alternative of having to walk over to the campsite’s shower block each morning never even crossed my mind.
There’s no high-level storage in here but two towel/robe hooks are fitted and there’s a cabinet for your toiletries under the basin, as well as a large mirror behind.
Water capacities are 100 litres for fresh and 70 litres for waste, with both underslung tanks being heated so certainly good enough for most British camping situations.