The La Strada Regent L has a comfy lounge, a drop-down bed inside a solid roof, a good kitchen and a full-width end-washroom. And it is less than 6m long, with a user-friendly MTPLM of 3500kg.
Whether you opt for it over its rivals probably boils down to whether you think having all that on a Sprinter base is worth more than £64,000.
Not so sure about the Regent L? It may have been the most popular La Strada layout among Brits, but there are other options available from Webbs.
That applies even if you want to stick with a Sprinter base vehicle: the Regent S is the same length as the Regent L, only it swaps the drop-down bed for overhead lockers, and instead you get a transverse bed at the back and a central washroom.
Go for the Fiat Ducato-based Avanti range, and along with a much more reasonable price around the £50,000 mark, you get a choice of five layouts.
There’s the Avanti M, a transverse-bed model based on the 5.41m-long medium-wheelbase Ducato.
The Avanti L and XL are two transverse-bed models based on the long-wheelbase version at 5.99m (the former with a bed that folds up to make more space in the boot).
Then there are three models based on the extra-long-wheelbase at 6.36m: the Avanti EB, with fixed-single-beds at the back; the Avanti C with a rear-transverse-bed and a separate shower cubicle in the washroom; and the Avanti F, which includes a rear-transverse-bed and a drop-down bed similar to the one in the Regent L. Only some of these models were on display at the launch.
In Germany, La Strada also makes the Nova, a two-strong range based on a longer-wheelbase Sprinter than you get in the Regent. But this has not yet made it to UK shores.
The Mercedes-Benz base vehicle is a good drive
The habitation door is on the UK nearside
It has a well-specced kitchen
Items could fall down the side of the bed
Like the classic Italian film with which it shares its name, the La Strada brand has gained a cachet in Britain, even among those who may not be totally familiar with it.
The German company’s long absence in the UK market ended last year when Webbs Motor Caravans took it on. So is the hype all worth it?
Here we are reviewing La Strada’s Regent L. It’s one of two ’vans built on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, and both have an £80,000-plus price tag. This example is £64,876 OTR, £82,651 as tested.
Such a price seems all the more surprising if you look on the outside. The large roof may house a bed, but it makes the ’van look top-heavy, even if it does drive superbly, thanks in part to the seven-speed automatic gearbox fitted to our model.
The plain ‘Regent’ lettering on the back is very utilitarian. But notice the sliding door: it’s on the ‘right’ side for UK driving. Last time La Strada was in Britain this layout was so popular that it has kept the orientation.
The Regent L is a two-berth, and our test model had heated cab seats, cruise control and a stereo.
The sliding door is on the ‘right’ side for UK driving!
Further back you’ll also find two travel seats, one of which becomes apparent after you drop down the extension to the L-shaped sofa. This ’van could serve as a day-to-day transport vehicle, too.
That L-shaped seat may be a squeeze for three people, and the ‘L’ part of it isn’t the sturdiest seat we have sat on (although you do get a fine view).
But if there are just two of you using this La Strada motorhome, this same L-shape is a lovely area for one of you to sprawl in, while the other sits on one of the swivelled cab seats.
The optional leather covers can be removed for cleaning – very practical. The pedestal table is not particularly big, but it is sturdy. The whole area is impressively lit by four LED lights.
Although this is a van conversion, its designers have found space to include a table on the outside of the storage unit by the sliding door, so you can eat outside if you want to. Because the table is next to the extending step, you might only need to take one extra seat with you to use it.
On top of this unit there’s a small cupboard that looks suspiciously like a CD rack (remember them?) with a control panel close to hand above it.
There’s a larger cupboard within the unit itself, with a panel (which is tricky to remove) that gives you access to the battery.
Heading backwards, things improve further. You get a three-burner hob in the kitchen, integrated with the sink, and a Cramer oven – quite unusual in a Continental ’van.
The workspace isn’t generous in the Regent L’s kitchen, but you can use the area on top of the peninsula unit by the door as a fallback.
The large cupboard opposite the sink turns out to be a wardrobe – a good-sized one, in fact. But there is room to store pots and pans in two drawers next to the oven (one of which includes a bin).
For food storage there are two lockers above the AES fridge – part of the optional Comfort Pack that was fitted to our test model – and a small shelf with a sensibly perforated metal bottom for tins and jars.
There are also two large overhead lockers fronted by frosted plastic sliding doors – which, along with reducing overall weight, allow the kitchen to be nicely illuminated at night.
The kitchen may seem a little cut off from the lounge area by the partition at the front, but the latter features a useful shelf: it has the second function of being a support for the pull-down bed in the roof.
The La Strada Regent L’s rear washroom comes with a separate shower cubicle and can be partitioned off – again, this is somewhat unusual in a van conversion.
The whole room looks bigger than it is thanks to the enormous mirror above the tambour-doored cupboard on the other side.
Once the bed has been dropped from above, you will find it to be super-comfortable thanks to the adjustable springs that feature in the base. It comes with a window either side, too.
There’s an opening on both sides of the bed, though, through which you can clearly see the space underneath. We thought that books, Kindles and glasses could all fall through if you weren’t careful.
However, one Regent L owner told us that the slits provide perfect ventilation – even on a hot, stifling August night in Greece this bed is airy and cool, with no need for the occupants to use the optional air-con.
You might just be surprised at the position of the spotlights here – they’re in the middle of the roof, rather than at the front. It does mean that you have to do a touch of gymnastics if you want to make use of them for reading, but in this position they illuminate the rest of the ’van.
|Shipping Length||5.93 m|