The 2016 Hymer Van 314 uses its space wisely. It’s easy to drive and park, and is best suited to couples. The high price is balanced by excellent build quality and strong residuals. And to see other Hymer motorhomes for sale, click here.
Fantastic double bed
Garage for storage
Washroom is extremely compact
Small hob, no oven
Far be it from us to query the German manufacturer’s choice of nomenclature, but the 2016 Hymer Van 314 is in fact a coachbuilt. It shares its name with a similar product that quietly disappeared from European dealers a few years ago: a Ford Transit-based compact, low-profile range that launched in 2006.
We’ve reported on the new Hymer motorhomes launched for 2016 here, and in this review we’re going to focus on the fact that Hymer is taking another trip with the Van, which is now riding on a Fiat Ducato base and badged 314.
At 5.45m, the 314 is close in length to a short-wheelbase Sevel panel van (5.4m), and 16cm shorter than a long-wheelbase VW T5 (5.29m). Because it can negotiate parking spaces less forgiving of larger units, the 314 will tempt buyers who prefer coachbuilt comfort levels in as small a package as possible. For the past few years, these customers have been nudged towards panel-van conversions featuring fixed beds and fully equipped washrooms, as well as a raft of compact low-profiles breaking the tape at just under six metres.
At half-a-metre shorter than many of its near rivals, though, the 314 offers something genuinely different. And unlike most of the competition, it’s not a budget ’van – the base price at launch is £42,250. Hymer is marketing the Van 314 as a replacement vehicle for the second family car and, at first sight, this may not be too fanciful a notion.
Thanks to pairing the Ducato base with a lightweight Al-Ko chassis, the Van 314 has an all-up weight of 3500kg with a huge payload – just shy of 1000kg. The rear garage even has a maximum loading capacity of 350kg.
Hymer is marketing the Van 314 as a replacement vehicle for the second family car
Entering through the offside habitation door, you find yourself in a space that is compact but not cramped. A bench seat forms a half dinette around the lounge table, which features a sliding section to include those in the rotated cab seats.
Daylight floods through a large rooflight above the lounge, and side window and cab windows. Artificial light is provided by LED lights on the B-pillars, and a spotlamp above the bench seats.
Opposite the lounge is a small kitchen with an integrated cooker and sink under a glass lid. There’s no oven or grill, so cooks are restricted to two gas rings, but a compressor fridge beneath will keep perishables fresh. Extra work surface is provided by a hinged flap, but with the lounge table in such proximity, this may not always be necessary.
Of all the areas in the ’van, the compact nearside washroom posed the greatest design challenge. Behind a space-efficient tambour door resides a basin, vanity unit, shower and toilet. It’s no mean feat, although the basin is actually more of a tip-up shelf and the shower tray doubles as the washroom floor. Dressing in this area may challenge some users, but a full-feature washroom here is impressive.
At the rear is a transverse fixed bed, which you access using a wooden ladder that hooks onto the bed frame. The cold foam mattress offers good support. A reading light is at the nearside end, while natural light enters windows at each end of the bed, and a centrally mounted rooflight.
The double bed is a good size: 2m x 1.45m (6’7” x 4’9”).
There’s more storage available in the 314 than you’d first imagine. In addition to the rear garage there are four overhead lockers, cubbies in the roof of the cab and a clever slide-out storage rack in the kitchen, which also houses a small waste bin. A wardrobe is under the bed, with a door at the rear to access the garage.