The Randger R499 represents a great opportunity to buy a popular type of campervan at a price that's competitive in contrast to other options. With lots of kit, two double beds and four travel seats, it warrants a place on any buyer's shortlist.
Base vehicle: Fiat Talento Price from: £41,995 Berths: 4 Travel seats: 4 Length: 4.99m Width: 1.96m Height: 2.03m Gross weight: 2,960kg Payload: 531kg
Campervans like this are nothing new – but they are enjoying a level of popularity not seen since the VW Type 2’s heyday in the 1970s. Volkswagen’s own California Ocean leads the way but prices now start at a not unsubstantial £56,884, while Mercedes’ Marco Polo is from a heftier still £59,075 – and it’s easy to take either to £65k-plus with a few options.
What about something closer to £40k? Well, you could buy secondhand – or that’s where the Randger comes in, with a £41,995 list price – and the opportunity to save £4k off that, at time of writing, if you buy an ex-demo model.
As with other Marquis/Trigano imports, you’ll get the same kit in every Randger, in the usual one-spec-fits-all policy (just choose from three exterior colours). That means plenty of kit – 17in alloy wheels, air-con, cruise control, ESC with Traction Plus and Hill Assist, and a DAB radio with 7in touchscreen, Bluetooth and sat-nav. Power comes from a 1.6-litre twin-turbo diesel engine offering a more-than-adequate 125bhp.
With its contrasting black pop-top lid and black alloys, the R499 makes a statement, but, in contrast, the conversion is rather predictable. There’s a rear-hinged, manually raised roof and the floorplan – with side kitchen and rear bench seat – is exactly as you’d anticipate.
Like many other campervan makers, French marque, Randger, turns to RIB (another Gallic brand) for that seat/bed unit, so this is a well-tested design. It comes with height-adjustable headrests and two seatbelts but not Isofix (for child seats) and its proportions best suit those with longer legs. Its seat runners give around 200mm of fore/aft movement and, with the seat in its forward position, rear passengers will feel much less remote from the cab and boot space is increased, too.
Up front, you’ll find that both cab seats swivel. Then, for dining, the table is retrieved from the boot and clipped to the front of the galley. Four people can all (just) reach, but the table works better for two in conjunction with the rear bench.
Side kitchen campers may all look much the same but it’s the details that make all the difference. Here, those details start with the very automotive trim panel in the rear nearside and plenty of artificial lighting – essential due to the dark tinted windows in the rear. The galley seems well thought out, too, with practical storage and very solidly constructed furniture. The use of tambour doors also makes for easy access to your stuff whichever position the seat is in, although you can’t get to the fridge with the bed down.
The roof bed is the wider of two double beds, with a one-piece mattress and near-6ft length. The lower bed unfolds in the usual RIB fashion, to make a flat double that’s 1.86m by 1.11m.
Rear boot space is enough for compact outdoor chairs, wellies, mains lead, etc, below the mattress and bedding (and more) on top, or you can fold this section of bed flat against the rear seat backrest to create full-height storage that’s at least 650mm deep.
Completing the Randger’s spec is Webasto diesel-powered blown-air heating. The base vehicle is a Fiat Talento – a derivative of the excellent Renault Trafic. It may not have the following of a VW but remember that the Italians dominate in the world of larger motorhomes. And just think of the money you’ve saved...
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