Small changes can make a huge difference. Rapido's 880F has been stretched for 2019 and is all the better for its extra few centimetres, says Nick Harding.

Overview

Big lounge, big beds - that's the theme for Rapido A-classes in 2019. The 880F is not strictly a new model for this season, but it has been stretched by some 10cm. 

Inevitably, there's a bit of a price stretch, too. As ever, the starting cost needs to be scrutinised. For example, you'll be hard-pressed to find an 8F series Rapido without the £3,600 Select Pack - the usual bundle that's too tempting to miss. You might want an engine upgrade from the standard 130bhp, too. 

Comparing specifications and deciding exactly what you want is part of the fun of buying a motorhome, but layout is paramount. 

We viewed this early example at Nottinghamshire-based Brownhills, one of seven Rapido dealers across the UK. Plus, it should be noted, a further 150 or so dealers are spread throughout Europe and beyond (there's one in New Zealand, for example).

Design

By Rapido standards, the floorplan is quite routine (the firm is not afraid to offer innovation) - rear island bed, pull-down double over the cab area, large front lounge, and central kitchen and washroom. All squeezed into a body that's only just over 7m long.

First impressions count for a lot, and the 880F manages a smart enough exterior (those alloys are from the option list, though), thanks to upmarket pointers such as flush-fitting windows and coach-style electric mirrors. Bodywork is solidly all-GRP, with Styrofoam insulation.

As with so many A-class imports, the habitation door is on the UK offside, and the non-driver is the beneficiary of the sole cab door.

On the road

As a member of Rapido's six-strong 8F series, the 880F is based on all-Fiat Ducato running gear.

Lounging & dining

Inside, this 880F has the Castello furniture finish and Denver soft furnishings. Up front, you'll find the usual Continental-style lounge.

That forward-facing double travel seat can be made L-shaped for on-site use; you'll find it pretty easy to seat five around the fixed pedestal-leg table which has a hinged top, making access to and from the lounge much easier.

Kitchen

The main kitchen unit, on the nearside, houses a three-in-a-line gas hob, with the oven set low, below a cutlery drawer. There's more storage at the upper level, and an extractor unit. Other neat touches include a smart towel holder and a rack for spice jars.

Across the corridor is the 149-litre Thetford fridge/freezer, with a tambour-doored locker above for the retractable TV mount.

Sleeping

The pull-down double bed is manually operated. Like the island bed, it has a Bultex mattress on a slatted base. There's a rooflight overhead and lighting on both sides.

The island bed at the rear of the 880F is flanked by wardrobes and ledges, with lockers overhead and neat paddle lights.

Washroom

A sliding door seals off the back of the 880F. Beyond are the separate shower cubicle and washroom, en suite to the island bed.

The step-in shower cubicle has folding doors, and the panelling supports a handy wire basket and the riser bar.

On the off-side, the toilet room boasts a rather stylish handbasin. Not the deepest, perhaps, but it has a proper metal swan-neck tap.

Other practical features include under-basin locker storage, toilet roll and towel holders, a coat hook, and - very Rapido - a sliding door/mirror vanity unit with elasticated retainers. Another overhead locker has a mirrored door.

Storage

The generous garage will certainly be a reason to buy. This model includes a shower attachment and lashing points, with access on both sides. And you can optimise storage space by raising the island bed by up to 30cm.

Technical specs

LayoutRear island bed
Sleeps4
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload435kg
Length7.04m23′1″
Width2.35m7′9″
Height2.89m9′6″
Fresh/waste water120L / 120L
Leisure battery100 Ah
External Options
GRP sidewalls, Electric step
Kitchen Equipment
Thetford Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Oven

Verdict

The A-class sector seems to get more competitive each and every year. Rapido's 880F certainly isn't short of rivals, but it's equally certainly up there with the best at this price. You'll have plenty of homework to do on the budgeting. The Select Pack is a must, though. 

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