Peter BaberSee other motorhome reviews written by Peter Baber
The new campervan from Marquis Leisure was a hit with our judges in the Motorhome of the Year 2019 awards, but how does it fare in daily use?
Marquis Leisure has built up a very strong track record for bringing new motorhome brands to the UK, which it sells exclusively.
In the past few years, we've seen first Benimar and more recently, Mobilvetta - both Trigano subsidiaries, like Marquis - re-established in the UK through Marquis's 12-strong dealer network.
On the whole, these have been (initially) low-profiles and A-classes. But through sister firm Auto-Sleepers, Marquis is, of course, also known for van conversions.
So when Trigano launched a new venture building campervans, it seemed only natural that Marquis would want a piece of the action. And it did, launching two Randger campervans earlier this year: both four-berths with pop-up roofs.
And in case you were wondering, we should point out that the name is not an example of French people getting their English wrong. We are told 'Randger' should be pronounced like a nasal version of 'Roger' rather than our English 'Ranger'.
Of the two models, the R535 - with a side/end kitchen and even a small washroom - won over our Motorhome of the Year Awards judges. We took an R535 to South Lea Caravan Park, near Pocklington, for a spin to see why.
Yet none of this is obvious from the outside. In fact, because of its length and its fairly sedate exterior graphics - and especially because of its tinted windows - you could easily park this in your office car park and nobody would be the wiser.
Campervan roofs can be a little on the wobbly side at times. But even though our sojourn in this 'van happened to coincide with Storm Bronagh crossing Britain in September, the roof never once caused a concern.
That storm unleashed strong winds as it swept Britain; we slept in the roof bed on top, and heard the wind rattle the canvas and even shake the frame, but the roof as a whole felt beautifully secure.
In the morning, it was as good as new - more than could be said for some nearby caravan awnings.
On the road
We found it very smooth running, with a smart gearshift from the six-speed manual gearbox. The steering is also nicely weighted and the brakes felt pleasingly strong when they were required.
Underneath the bonnet sits a 1.6-litre, 125bhp engine; while you'll need to give the accelerator a bit of a shove if the 'van is fully laden and has four occupants on board, the impressive 320Nm of torque (236lb ft) comes in nicely low down at just 1500rpm.
If you're accustomed to the Ducato's cab, with its bulky central cupholders and busy dashboard, you'll find that the Talento's is a refreshing pared-down change of scenery.
There's one central screen for the radio and sat nav, and just one cupholder, which pops out beside the gearshift. Unlike the Ducato, however, the handbrake sits between the two cab seats, so it does partially obstruct the aisle.
It was pleasing to see a good level of specification in the Talento cab in terms of equipment. Our vehicle was fitted with cab air-conditioning, cruise control, DAB radio and more.
Lounging & dining
Okay, so the cream colour isn't necessarily the most practical, but it looks great and does brighten up the feel of the interior - although those tinted windows don't particularly affect the ambience inside in a negative way.
The soft-furnishings covers are also included for the cab seats, which is quite unusual in a campervan, and these co-ordinate well with the gloss-white worktops and 'Mole' soft-grey furniture.
All of the seats in the dinette/lounge are comfortable - even the single unit by the nearside door.
Pullman-style seating is extra sociable and, because you have two sliding doors, you can open up either side of the 'van to admire the view - although you do have to negotiate the low bulkhead running along the bottom of the offside opening, which houses the heating ducts.
The table is big enough for at least four dining places. The 'van also comes supplied with a freestanding table leg, so you could take the table outside; although you would also have to take camping chairs with you.
Because you can stow the table away in its own slotted place in the washroom, you don't have to spend all of your time inside with your legs cramped under a table. And, come night-time, a powerful striplight keeps the table area illuminated. You don't get any curtains, but there are effective stick-on blinds that you just need to attach to the tinted windows.
It's at the right height, too, and the lip of the opening for the rising roof doesn't get in the way of your vision.
There's a two-burner gas hob with ignition, and a sink that is fairly standard-sized for a campervan - although the inclusion of hot water makes washing-up so much easier. There's no oven, but you wouldn't necessarily expect one in a 'van of this size.
At the back, below the workspace, you'll find a 41-litre Webasto Isotherm compressor fridge, which we thought was perfectly adequately sized for a weekend away. That rear worktop area opens out to the back, so if you were parked up by the beach, it could quite easily double up as a serving hatch.
To the right of this, in the nearside rear corner, is a clearly designed control panel, a mains socket turned upside-down to make fitting a plug easier, a 12V socket and a second USB socket - the first is in the cab. You won't want for digital or electrical connections here.
Underneath the main worktop is what looks like three drawers, although the bottom one turns out to be a locker door covering the fuse box.
You might prefer to use the second of these drawers for storing clothes, but the top drawer is still big enough for most pans. There's a separate smaller drawer for cutlery. To the right are two large shelves for food storage, covered up by a tambour door and, to the right of that, a couple of shelves above a wine rack. Thanks to another curved tambour door, you can fasten this up when you are travelling or leave it open for display when you're on site.
There is a vent to let in some natural light, but at night, this area could do with a bit more illumination. You can twist up the washroom spotlight to allow in extra light, but this isn't really sufficient for reading.
The smaller, lower bed is made up via the table and an extra panel that's stored in the wardrobe. It's a bit of a faff, although a relatively easy process - if there are just two of you, you might prefer to simply use the roof bed instead.
To make up the lower bed, you also need three large infill cushions - you have to find somewhere to store them when the bed is not in use, which inevitably ends up being the washroom.
Despite these small niggles, we found that the lower bed was plenty comfortable enough once we had put all the relevant cushions into place.
You don't get completely sealed-off privacy in here, but there is enough space for even a tall user.
There are two cupboards underneath and to the side of the sizeable handbasin, which is lit by a spotlight. And there's a towel hook.
The handbasin tap doubles as an impressive shower, and there is a duckboard fitted at your feet. It might be worth remembering that there are no curtains or blinds on the rear window, so even with the tinted windows, you might want to put up one of the stick-on blinds to ensure complete privacy, particularly for night-time use.
One bonus is that the shower hose is so long that you can actually take the shower right outside and use it to wash down muddy boots if needed.
If you like to take a fair bit of clothing on tour, it does mean that storing it could be a bit of a challenge. The amount of storage space in the kitchen is rather good, though, so you could get away with using the second drawer in here for garments, as we did during our test.
There is, however, a wardrobe - it's located between the washroom and the dinette, and it's of a good height.
The other significant storage space you will find here is under the small seat by the nearside door; it would be useful for stowing walking boots on your return.
If you were to bring an awning, you would probably have to stow it in the aisle en route, and the same would apply to any outdoor furniture, too - but this is something that's fairly common in small campervans such as this.
And while the area under the rear-facing dinette seat cannot be used for storage, it's good to know that this is because it houses the water tank. Having an on-board tank makes travelling in the winter more comfortable.
Waste water can easily be offloaded through a tap under the rear nearside corner, although you'll probably have to lie down to reach it. Offloading fresh water is also easy, thanks to a clearly visible outlet just behind the driver's seat.
The heater itself is located under the forward-facing dinette seat. It's accessible via a small trap door.
|Layout||Camper with washroom|
|Fresh/waste water||68L / 59L|
|Leisure battery||75 Ah|
2-burner gas hob
The Randger R535 offers buyers an awful lot for the space it takes up and the price it costs. Particularly noteworthy is the availability of hot water: virtually unheard of in a campervan. The kitchen is great, too.
You could go wild camping in this vehicle with ease, which is partly why it romped home to win the Rising-Roof category in our Motorhome of the Year 2019 awards.
Our only reservation would be clothes storage; although it wouldn't be the first time this has proved to be a bit of an issue in a campervan. The same goes for storage of bulkier items.
That aside, this is a cleverly designed 'van that offers a great layout and lots of comfort on tour.
- The kitchen in this campervan is brilliantly designed given the small amount of space available
- There's plenty of room for four people to sit and relax in the dinette area
- If you're tempted by this model, check that there's enough clothes storage space for your needs