The Lunar Landstar was unveiled during the October 2014 show at the NEC. Such was the intense level of interest from prospective purchasers, it was difficult to get close enough to photograph it.
This isn’t surprising really, because at the time, the market was crying out for a UK volume van converter to get behind the three-pointed star.
The motorhome layouts were carefully thought out, both in form and function, which would have been a major factor in them remaining unchanged throughout the whole production run.
The Landstar RL features a nearside kitchen, and an offside washroom and wardrobe, all ahead of a palatial rear lounge fitted with two very long, inward-facing sofas.
EW – as the initials suggest – has a full-width end washroom. Moving forwards, the wardrobe is on the nearside and the kitchen straddles the central aisle. The forward lounge has a full-length offside settee and a shorter (extendable) nearside one.
In both layouts it is possible to sleep either as two singles, or in a palatial all-over double bed.
In addition, both layouts have a separate walk-in shower compartment within the washroom itself.
Space and water heating is provided by a Truma Combi boiler that will run on LPG or 230V electricity, or both for a shorter ‘warm-up’ time.
Unusually for an upmarket panel van conversion, there isn’t an underfloor gas tank, but there is dedicated storage for a pair of 6kg propane ‘exchange’ cylinders. The conversion also adds double-glazed acrylic windows to each side, but retains the standard Mercedes single-glazed glass ones at the rear.
These lack the thermal insulation of the former, but offer the advantage of heated rear windows and optional wash-wipe. A distinct advantage for drivers of the RL, but pretty useless for those piloting the EW.
Standard specification includes the 313 chassis, 129bhp CDI engine and a well-equipped interior, although the huge uplift provided by the extra-cost ‘S Edition’ would have made it difficult to resist.
Both of the Landstars are dedicated two-berth Clubman style conversions, and as a result, are without travel seats in the rear. However, some prospective purchasers might occasionally wish to carry a passenger, and their only easily achievable option would be to change the single cab passenger seat for a double one.
In 2019, Lunar Caravans went into administration and never fully resurfaced under the stewardship of its new owners, which was a pity.
However, all of the interior fittings were bought in and the body, plus the mechanicals, are ‘pure’ Merc, so there shouldn’t be any worries about the availability of spares in the future.
What to look out for in a Lunar Landstar
Mercedes Sprinters are seen as the gold standard commercial vehicle, but have not been without some niggles. There are more failures reported online for 2016 models than for the rest over any two-year interval. The reason for this is unclear. Perhaps they simply sold twice the number they usually did?
Most common problems concern the bodywork – failing paint adhesion and corrosion – so check, especially around the wheel arches. Next most common is engine management, often a faulty NOx sensor or dual particulate filter. M-B has issued some recalls, so make sure these have been carried out.
The interior is appealing and very well put together, something we always look for in the best campervans. These are unlikely to have suffered the wear and tear associated with children, so walk away from any that aren’t pretty close to immaculate.
As always, insist on a recent habitation service and a gas safety check. The real Achilles heel of the Landstar is the low payload on 316 EW ‘S Edition’ models. For example, with my partner and me aboard, an automatic version would only have 225kg ‘dry’ – not practical.
However, it is possible to replate the 316 Sprinter to a much higher MTPLM without mechanical alteration. In that case, all drivers would then need Group C1 on their licence. Younger drivers can achieve this by undertaking a course of tuition and a practical driving test.
What we like about the Lunar Landstar
- Premium base vehicle with long-lasting mechanicals
- Practical, well thought out layouts
- Uncluttered, stylish interior
- ‘S Edition’ ticks all the boxes
What we don’t like about the Lunar Landstar
- Very low payload on some variants
- Lunar Landstar on LWB Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
- Built 2015-2019 in Lostock Hall, Preston, UK
- Five-door all-steel panel van
- Overall length: 7.12m (23’ 4”)
The RL (by a gnat’s whisker), but we would be happy with either layout. The 316 Automatic preferably. And the ‘S Edition’? Definitely!
What to pay for a Lunar Landstar
Previously, very rarely available under £50,000, although prices are beginning to soften. Nearest new equivalent will be the Auto-Sleeper M-Class when it begins production, and the slightly shorter IH 690 RD, at around £100,000.
Extra-cost S Edition adds…
- Tenorite Grey metallic paint
- 316 chassis
- 158bhp CDI engine
- 17” alloy wheels
- Power-close side door
- Wind-out canopy awning
- Mercedes Anti-theft Protection
- Mercedes Driver’s Pack
- Two armrests on cab seats
- Improved fabrics and decals
- Carbon-fibre effect dash trim
- Extractor fan
- Dual-fuel hob, separate oven and grill
- Avtex multimedia system
- USB sockets
- Solar panel
- Fresh-water tank heater
Or you could try…
UK converted Mercedes high-tops will be hard to find. Try Auto-Sleepers’ premium panel van conversion range on the Ducato/Boxer, especially the Warwick XL and the Kemerton XL.
Alternatively, see what Gentleman Jack made of these:
- Auto-Trail F-Line: these ‘vans come with an upmarket interior and unobstructed underseat lockers.
- Vantage rear-lounge models: these ‘vans have ingenious design details throughout, with varied and practical kitchen storage.
- Auto-Sleeper Symphony & Symbol models: these were built on the five-door incarnation of the Boxer and fitted with a stylish GRP high-top.
If you’ve enjoyed reading this article, why not get the latest news, reviews and features delivered direct to your door or inbox every month. Take advantage of our brilliant Practical Motorhome magazine SUBSCRIBERS’ OFFER and SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER for regular weekly updates on all things motorhome related.