THERE were several motorhomes exhibited at the NEC show that proved once and for all that you don't have to spend mega-bucks in order to net yourself a quality motorhome, and one of the most impressive cases in point was Roller Team's fascinating Auto-Roller 200.
Priced at a fiver under £26,000 on-the-road, the 200 somehow manages to transcend its positively bargain-basement sticker price by clever use of Ford's slick new 2.2TDCi Transit 350M as a base vehicle. No, the front bumper isn't painted. No, there aren't any alloy wheels. And no, the equipment list isn't exactly overwhelming. But look at what you do get - a gigantic parallel lounge, a corner washroom that somehow manages to stretch to a separate shower compartment, a decent-sized kitchen and one of the very best base vehicles in the business. The low-profile body even looks great, for heaven's sake.
Now, we're not going to pretend that the Auto-Roller feels impressively opulent inside, because it doesn't. The plastic roof locker stays look and feel cheap (as do the roof locker handles). The shower cubicle warrants just a thin curtain in lieu of the usual folding or sliding door. The kitchen's three-burner Smev hob lacks spark ignition and there's no oven at all (although, there is a spark ignition Smev grill). And the sliding bed base isn't actually attached to the seats themselves.
And yet, having said all that, keep that lowly price in mind as you check out the generally excellent cabinetry, the electric flush swivel toilet, the shower cubicle whose sealant and storage space shame some motorhomes costing twice as much, and the simple, but sociable lounge. The seat cushions are a bit thin, but they're perfectly comfortable and can easily accommodate up to six adults. The beautifully made cab looks the part, too, and extends to electric windows and twin airbags.
There's an awful lot of storage space beneath those long settees, too, while the lack of an oven in the kitchen simply opens up more cupboard space. It could use a little more in the way of work surfaces, although you could bring the TV station into service if necessary, while refrigeration is taken care of by an old-style Dometic 80-litre fridge with an in-built box freezer.
Cheap, then, the Auto-Roller 200 may be, but its price is matched by its innate cheerfulness and, in places, its unexpected quality. Amazing
Roller Team Auto-Roller 200
Base vehicle: Ford Transit 350M 2.2TDCi (110bhp)
Price from: £25,995 on-the-road
Length: 6.22m (20ft 5in)
Width: 2.30m (7ft 6.5in)
Height: 2.70m (8ft 10in)
Gross vehicle weight: 3,500kg
Travel seats: 2, including driver
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