This is a great addition to the HymerCar campervan stable, bringing both rear and four-wheel drive to the range, which the Fiat Ducato cannot provide. And, compared to Fiat-based alternatives, pricing seems pretty good, too.
Berths: 2 Travel seats: 4 Base vehicle: Mercedes Sprinter 319 CDI Gross weight: 3,500kg Payload: 670kg
The HymerCar range of campervans has, unsurprisingly, been almost all Fiat Ducato-based until now (a brief dalliance with VW wasn’t very successful). And it’s also no surprise that the Grand Canyon S layout is based around a rear transverse double bed (and almost identical to the Ducato-based Grand Canyon – no ‘S’) as this design is almost certainly the most popular in Europe.
It’s the base vehicle that’ll be the driver behind stumping up the cash for a Grand Canyon S. And cash is important as the Sprinter-based model is considerably more expensive than its Fiat sibling. Other than brand loyalty, the stand-out item is the optional four-wheel drive, which is available with either manual or automatic transmission. The Sprinter’s design is aimed at off-road situations – great for those wanting a true go-anywhere camper.
Our test campervan came with the range-topping, 3-litre motor under the hood, mated to the seven-speed, torque converter-based automatic gearbox. These are options, but the cab comes very well equipped as standard, with air-conditioning, cruise control and ESP. No radio, though, but pre-wiring is present, complete with bedroom-located speakers.
The cab seats are multi-adjustable captain’s items so, once swivelled, they automatically become the best seats in the house. Cabinets are very nicely designed and executed – modern, but not in a way that makes the living area ambience feel too harsh.
The table, which stows flat against the wall, hinging up for use as a coffee and snack surface, is also well designed. Extend two support arms and the top flips over, doubling the size for full-blown dining. There’s no floor-mounted leg to get in the way, either, as a wall support does the job fine.
As is just about always the case with this layout, the kitchen is bijou and located partly across the side sliding door, which is approached by a nice ’n’ wide slide-out step. There are just two burners to cook on in a hob/sink combo that’s furnished with a pair of glass lids, helping to make the best of a lack of worktop. The compressor fridge Hymer fits is generously sized at 90 litres – and, as it runs on 12V only, it makes no inroads into your gas supply. Last, but not least, the low-level storage is drawer-based, which is very much best practice as getting at your galley stuff is way easier than crawling about groping into cupboards.
In my opinion the washbasin is bloomin’ daft. Why? A ‘basin’ in this context is a vessel designed to hold water. This one is a tip-up design, easy to deploy and made from a material that’s not a million miles from Corian. It’s good-looking, strong and nicely designed, but backless. Yes, folks, this ‘vessel’ does not hold water. The other dodgy thing here is the lack of headroom. If you’re over six feet tall you may be doing your own impression of Quasimodo while abluting. The toilet is the latest Thetford bench-type unit that sports a larger-capacity cassette and fits in here so much better than would a swivel-bowl sibling. Storage is sensible (cabinet and shelves) and there are two big mirrors. The shower is integral: a tap with pull-out shower head, a nylon curtain enclosing the tray.
‘Room’ is the important word here as the Sprinter is narrower than its Fiat Ducato rival, making it impossible to fit a transverse bed that’s six feet long. The solution is to graft on a side pod, akin to a kind of shallow bay window, that extends the bed’s length at the foot. The result is a 1.90m (6ft 3in) bed. The mattress varies in width in places but should be fine for two, as long as they’re not too large of frame. Overhead lockers surround the bedroom on three sides so there’s loads of space for folded clothes. However, and unusually, there’s no wardrobe, just a narrow slot with a hanging rail above the forward side of the bed.
Thanks to the higher bed there’s even more stowage space underneath and there’s a cupboard down here, too. In time-honoured fashion, the bed frame hinges up to allow loading of tall items from front or rear. Lashing rails are standard, but there’s a forward end, load-retarding partition available for 70 quid. The options menu also lists a large outdoor table and two camping chairs, which come stored in the rear boot area. It’s a very nice idea, but they are just strapped in, with nothing to stop them possibly damaging the floor and/or the surface of the cabinets they rest against. Soft stowage bags are really needed as part of the option.
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