Smove boasts superb style, detailing, and build quality, with some features we’ve rarely seen before. This is one of the very best low-profile motorhome ranges in today’s market, but beware the options list.
Berths: 2 Travel seats: 2 Base vehicle: Fiat Ducato Al-Ko Gross weight: 4,500kg Payload: 1,480kg
N+B’s brochure describes the four-model Smove (pronounced ‘smoove’) range as “a completely new kind of vehicle”. It’s more like the lovechild of a high-end liner A-class and a more modest low-profile. And the result is very, very interesting.
It’s the roof cap that first draws the eye as – with its black centre and silver frame – it compliments the Fiat nose and gloss black grille. Meanwhile, the roof cap has raised sides that hide things such as rooflights, satellite dish and solar panel from view. It’s a superb design – both from aesthetic and practical points of view. As you might expect, under the skin is pretty good as well: double-layered alloy with an extra-thick floor brings increased rigidity and, it’s claimed, superior insulation.
The Chassis Pack provides climate control, front foglights and LED daytime running lights. It’s the Multi-media Pack that brings the DAB/DVD/CD, which also has sat-nav and acts as the display for the reversing camera, which hides under the N+B fleur-de-lis badge until you engage reverse. Fancy? Yes, and practical, too, as grime is kept off the camera’s lens. One hatch lid reveals everything to feed, water and drain – all neatly grouped, frost-proofed and heated and locked away when not needed.
The kitchen bucks the trend - the unit’s main worktop is bang up-to-date – a very ‘Smove’ design, with an all-over black glass top that incorporates gas hob and stainless-steel sink. There’s also quite a bit of usable preparation area in front of the two burners. Below are three drawers that appear large, until you open them, then discover that it’s merely the fronts that are big. Diagonally opposite, the fridge is a tall-and-slim model from Thetford – one of the latest with a large bottle drawer in its base.
No rear seatbelts, so lounging and dining is easy and the twin sofa layout makes the whole space feel uncluttered. It’s bight and airy, too, thanks in part to the expected overcab sunroof, but also partnered with an electrically operated unit from the options list. There’s seating for five, while the adjustable table is plenty big enough for good dining for two or more. The TV has a home next to the habitation door, sharing space with management panels, all nicely concealed behind doors. Right at the base of this unit, a handy drawer seems spot-on for some shoes. Press a button on the kitchen unit and it and the kitchen drawers are locked electrically.
To the washroom… On the right, a bi-fold locker door opens to allow the toilet to slide out for use and it’s this locker that lives beneath the kitchen. The rest of the washroom appears conventional, albeit in fine fashion, with a generous basin – cupboard beneath – a couple of mirrors, shelves and good lighting. That’s not quite true, however, as the basin does the same trick as the loo, swinging away out of sight and into a cavity to the rear. Now there’s a wetroom with nothing but the doorway needing protection from splashes. This is taken care of by a bi-fold screen. What’s left is a simply massive shower – surely the biggest ever in a motorhome of this size. Clever mechanisms and good design conspire to create a truly great set of ablutions. And, with the en suite-creating washroom door swung across the aisle, there’s a decent changing area with access to two wardrobes – one conventional, the other beneath the foot of the offside bed.
Steps lead up to single beds that are wonderfully long – 6ft 7in for the longest, in fact. A high-quality mattress supported by the Froli plastic multi-spring support system should give a great night’s sleep.
A central mattress section creates a semi-double bed – remove it and both sleepers have a surface for water glass, specs and book. So, all told, the bedroom is a pleasant place to be, although it suffers from the same problem as many of the type: the beds are set high to allow room for a properly tall garage beneath, which means sitting up in bed needs care so you don’t hit hit your head on the overhead lockers.
Life support is pretty standard fare at this level, with a heated technical double floor cosseting the water tanks and Truma’s Combi providing the heat to do it. The standard-dress Smove offers a decent 480kg of payload on its 3,500kg chassis, but all those options (and their contents) will add a significant amount of weight when fitted. Excellent payloads can still be maintained, but only with chassis upgrades. The price list gives weights for all the options, so calculate this and check your licence; you will need to have the C1 category to drive this example.
If you enjoyed this review, you can read the full version and more in the January 2017 issue of MMM magazine.