Nick Harding

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This A-class wins our 2020 Motorhome of the Year award for Best Innovation. Nick Harding checks it out

Overview

A trip to the Brownhills mega-site on the outskirts of Newark, Nottinghamshire, is usually rewarding. I was there in the run-up to Christmas, so, while key staff took time out to serve a free festive lunch to valued customers, I was able to sneak in and take a closer look at this new-for-2020 model from Rapido.

One of the best motorhomes of the year, the M96 is an award-winner, scooping the Best Innovation prize in our Motorhome of the Year Awards 2020, with the judges noting that it's "packed with clever features that make it a very deserving winner". 

Rapido has established itself as a producer of premium motorhomes. Hardly surprising, then, that it's turned its attention to the Mercedes Sprinter as the base for the newest sub-range, called simply M (near-twin sister M66 has twin single beds).

Design

Needless to say, it's made the right way, with GRP bodywork, Styrofoam insulation and a double floor. Beyond the Mercedes cowl, it's all on an Al-Ko chassis extension, too.

On the road prices start at £87,800, but my guess is, you're looking at those tempting uprades and are more likely to budget in excess of £100,000.

For the record, this example has an uprated chassis (to 4500kg) and engine (the 188bhp unit), and nine-speed automatic transmission. The latter cost £2290 and £2200 respectively, but it's easy to consider them must-haves.

There's also the £4490 Pack M. Think Mercedes MBUX multimedia system - the 10.25in touchscreen dominates an otherwise slightly austere dashboard, but gives you sat nav, DAB radio, reversing monitor, semi-automatic cab air conditioning and more. In addition, you get an adjustable steering wheel with controls, electric parking brake, fog lights, automatic headlights, crosswind stability, keyless starting, a kitchen extractor, a thermal windscreen blind, and an electric window for the passenger door.

It's a popular floorplan, with two double beds - rear island, forward drop-down double - and central kitchen and washroom. Clever design (did someone say innovation?) has all of this in a vehicle just 7.54m long that never feels cramped.

Lounging & dining

The lounge only features short settees to complement the swivelled cab seats, but those inward-facers can switch to forward-facing single seats for travel if required. What's really clever here is that heating is ducted up through the table leg - no cold knees in the evening!

Kitchen

The kitchen is space-efficient, thanks to its L-shape and other design aspects.

Sleeping

The wider-than-average double bed is thanks to a cutaway angle to the wardrobes either side. The bed itself has height adjustment of some 30cm should you wish to optimise storage in the garage below.

Washroom

The washroom comprises a shower cubicle on the offside and a toilet room nearside, with the door for the latter combining with sliding panels for privacy. The shower has full plastic wall linings, although the drainage is just a single, small plug-hole.

The toilet room has a swivel-bowl toilet and handbasin; the basin is a tad shallow and there's no window here, but it's otherwise typical of the quality and practicality throughout.

Equipment

Of course, there's more, such as the heating outlet and shower fitting in the garage, the sliding mirror in the toilet room, and central locking for kitchen drawers. All of the overhead lockers are concave, to enhance the feeling of space.

From the options, you could consider anything from a switch to Alde heating (Truma's Combi 6 is standard), to alternative interiors (including leather upholstery), or a mattress topper. But, whatever your final spec, the M96 is a winner as far as we're concerned.

Technical specs

LayoutRear island bed
Sleeps4
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Length7.54m24′9″
Width2.35m7′9″
Height3m9′10″
Engine (capacity)2200
Fresh/waste water132L / 110L
Leisure battery100 Ah
Secondary leisure battery100 Ah
Kitchen Equipment
2-burner gas hob
Washroom
Thetford C-250 toilet, Separate shower cubicle
Heating
Truma Combi heater

Verdict

A highly attractive blend of quality and style - plus innovation - that demonstrates Rapido is perfectly at home at the top end of the market. As is the way at this level, there's scope for you to dip into a pretty extensive list of optional extras to make sure a motorhome like this really is the one of your dreams.

See the full list of Motorhome of the Awards 

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Conclusion

Pros

  • Feeling of space
  • Design innovation
  • A number of options and upgrades

Cons

  • Basin a little shallow in the washroom
  • Shower has just one, small, plug hole