Born-again Home-Car might just make a bit of a mark in the UK if it can build on products like this – but it faces the toughest of competition right here in the mainstream.
Impressive build quality; good-sized washroom; comfortable and flexible bedroom
Compact washroom, with a lack of usable workspace; relatively poor standard specification
Welcome back to Home-Car, the Belgian manufacturer that’s currently undergoing something of a renaissance over here. It’s created a portfolio of models that’s increasingly in tune with British buyers’ expectations, as well as built up a growing retailer base.
Offerings for the 2011 season include this, the Devotion, a four-strong range based on the Fiat Ducato. Official prices start at a fiver less than £40,000, but that’s for the 100bhp engine versions and doesn’t take into account the VAT increase due on January 4; we think buyers will more likely go for the 130bhp variant, (add £1550).
We were able to look over the twin-single-bed Devotion SB from Coventry-based Midland International Motorhomes, one of some 20 Home-Car UK outlets. The price was £42,995, which included the important option of the 2.3-litre engine upgrade and more.
Build quality certainly seems impressive: the ’van’s structure comprises a roof in hail-resistant GRP, polyester side walls that seem equally adept at avoiding stonechip damage and more, and double floor construction. The latter isn’t as deep as some rivals’, although it does offer extra storage options. The Devotion’s other key distinguishing feature is its low-profile front with panoramic roof windows.
Inside, the flooring is in a tough Novilon (a kind of vinyl linoleum-type material) that actually feels soft and even warm to the touch, which may partly explain why carpet overlays are a £195 cost option. UK-sourced (and therefore superior quality) upholstery is complemented by a cherry finish to the furniture.
If a good washroom is a priority, give this Home-Car further investigation. For a start, it’s very generously sized, and you get a full-size shower cubicle. There’s also a swivel-bowl toilet and fixed handbasin (round, stainless steel) and not too many of the mirrors that so many others rely on to create an illusion of space.
As for the beds, they’re set at a good height, supremely comfortable and you could change them to a transverse double if required. The kitchen is what you’d call compact – worksurface is apparent by its absence. Still. you get a three-burner hob and sink (all in stainless steel) and a medium-sized fridge.
Buyers can go for the £1295 Comfort Pack that includes a passenger airbag, cab air con, cruise control and central locking. There are also factory-fitted options that include some of the things you might expect as standard in a vehicle like this: cab blinds (£325), cab carpets (£70), flyscreen door (£150) and a Truma C6E electric heating system rather than the standard gas one (£290). There’s an overcab option for every Devotion model (£1889).