Read all about the Marquis County Devon in the Practical Motorhome review

Design

The Devon is based on the Mercedes 3.2-tonne SWB Sprinter chassis. We like the 5.94m-Devon’s understated graphics, but the ’van looks tall and, sometimes, a bit top-heavy.
Not so popular is the ’van’s payload, which comes in at just 232kg on the manual-gearbox version. Take away the 32kg required for the automatic gearbox and you’re left with just 200kg; very little if you’re planning to tour for any longer than a weekend. Most will have to upgrade to the 3500kg chassis, particularly as it only costs an extra £1295 to do so. This will take the payload up to a much-more practical 500kg.
Externally, there’s a useful wet locker low down behind the nearside cab door, useful for storing muddy levelling ramps and hoses. Just above this is a locker door to access the large storage space beneath the nearside sofa.
Both the fresh- and waste-water taps lie just behind the offside rear wheel. The fresh tank is filled via a specially connecting water hose which comes with the ’van; while this is useful at times, it’s frustrating at others: sometimes you can’t fill the water tank using the borne pump – it would be nice to have the option of removing the socket.
The gas locker is located on the offside of the ’van. An electric step, cab and accommodation central locking, a full-length awning and a key-fob operated awning light all come as standard.

On the road

The County Devon’s soft suspension means the ’van bounces on winding country lanes.
Key to the 2010 County Devon is the new Euro V-rated Mercedes engine; Mercedes claims that the latest unit decreases both fuel consumption and carbon emissions over the last incarnation. We found the gutsy 163bhp engine more than adequate for powering the 3200kg vehicle; fuel economy came in at around 26mpg.
As you’d expect on a ’van with such a prestigious badge, the Mercedes cab offers a high level of specification; from the supportive and easily adjustable chairs to the numerous cupholders and excellent-sounding stereo. Our test vehicle came fitted with cruise control and air-conditioning, both available as part of one of two Anniversary Packs. This pack – which costs £3250 – also provides you with a superb five-speed automatic gearbox, over the six-speed-manual standard version. The driving position is excellent, with all-round visibility assisted by a rear view through the kitchen window. We also liked the Devon’s tight turning circle.
Marquis is rightly proud of building on a base vehicle that offers a tremendous amount of safety features: among others, ESP (electronic-stability programme), ABS (anti-lock braking system) and ASR (acceleration skid control) all come as standard. The Sprinter’s renowned RWD also enabled us to come and go from a wet, grassy pitch with no wheel spins.

Lounging & dining

Both of the Devon’s cab seats swivel to create a spacious lounge area at the front of the ’van; the addition of the large, freestanding table (also ideal for al fresco eating) quickly turns it into a suitable space for six to dine in comfort. There’s also a small table that can be slotted into a bracket at the cab end of the nearside sofa. The cab seats can also be set low.
The sofas are also comfortable, thanks in part to the addition of four shaped bolster cushions which, when positioned at either end of the seats, allow you to lean up against the wardrobe, fridge or cab chairs to relax. There’s also a small, fold-down extension to the front of the fridge unit – ideal for holding a laptop or larger TV (there is also an aerial socket here).
We appreciated the inclusion of the small, drop-down TV – which has Freeview built in, and a DVD player – which folds down over the passenger cab seat, and is viewable from both sofas. It runs on 12V, too.

Kitchen

The Devon’s kitchen is well appointed and offers lots of workspace, thanks in part to the extendable unit that pulls out above the fridge. While this unit is useful, it does impede access to the table.
That aside, the rest of the kitchen is well thought out. The Spinflo oven is full size, and has an electric hob ring alongside its three gas ones.
Storage space throughout the kitchen area is excellent; there are two transparent-fronted lockers up above – both with lips to stop tins from falling out when they’re opened – a dedicated cutlery drawer, and a large, double-sized cupboard below the sink. There’s also space below the oven to store pots and pans. Above the sink is a Brabantia kitchen-roll holder; however, there’s no waste bin provided.
The standard-fit microwave is located at a sensible height above the 86-litre Dometic fridge. Unfortunately, the fridge doesn’t come with automatic energy selection, and there’s also no extractor fan above the hob, which is a shame in such an otherwise-well-specified kitchen.
We like the inclusion of a drinks cabinet below the microwave; it came fitted with four crystal wine glasses. There is, however, no dedicated storage for wine bottles.

Sleeping

The Devon’s spacious double bed is created by extending the slatted bed bases underneath the sofas to meet in the middle; the sofa cushions are then laid flat to fill out the space. To get the flattest sleeping surface you need to reverse the base cushions so that the knee rolls are to the outer edges of the bed, but you can still feel them when lying down.
The gas heating controls – located on the space heater beneath the wardrobe – are within easy reach of the bed, allowing you to easily warm the ’van without having to get up. The gas hot water controls are located by the accommodation door (as are the electric heating controls).
All the windows, including those in the cab, have concertina blinds. The curtains on the lounge windows aren’t just decorative, either; they pull across to block out light and provide extra insulation.

Washroom

Key to the Devon’s washroom is a swing-wall shower unit. This allows you to create a separate cubicle by swinging the whole wash-basin unit across to meet another plastic door; the resulting cubicle is roomy.
There are three plugholes in the washroom floor, which allow for quick, easy draining of shower water, but you’re still likely to get wet feet if you want to use the basin after someone’s had a shower – it would be useful to have a shallow duck board here.
The swivel Thetford toilet is flushed electrically, and has a separate flush tank. There’s no window in the washroom, but there is a rooflight and two large electric units. A blown-air heating vent provides warmth.
There’s an array of quality furnishings including a loo-roll holder, toothbrush-mug holder, hooks and a towel ring on the door. There’s also a very useful Brabantia pull-out airer that runs the entire length of the washroom.

Storage

We’ve already mentioned the limitations on payload, but if you can work within these parameters, storage is good. The Devon provides an impressive amount of storage space for a ’van shorter than six metres. The main storage area is underneath the nearside sofa; this can be accessed either externally, internally by lifting the seat up, or internally via a locker door in the front of the seat. There is also some space underneath the offside sofa, an area which also houses the gas-bottle locker.
There are five lockers above the lounge area, all with positive-locking catches; the space in both nearside lockers is slightly compromised by the recessed awning, and one of these also contains the dedicated crockery rack. All the other lockers, however, are roomy and feel sturdily built. Aside from the main locker over the cab, there are also two smaller versions to either side.
Clothing storage space comes courtesy of the half-length wardrobe in front of the washroom; it has an automatic light and there’s a drawer beneath, too. Both table units store away within the wardrobe when not in use; dedicated clips keep them in place.
Washroom storage is limited to a small, mirrored vanity unit and a tiny shelf behind the swing-out wall.

Technical specs

Sleeps2
Travel seats2
MTPLM3200kg
Payload200kg
Length5.94m19′6″
Width2.26m7′5″
Height2.85m9′4″
Waste water71L
External Options
GRP sidewalls, Omnidirectional TV aerial, Electric step
Kitchen Equipment
3-burner gas hob, Oven, Separate grill
Washroom
Thetford C-250 toilet
Heating
Truma Gas/Electric heater, Truma Electric/Gas water heater
Security
Alarm

Verdict

The Devon is a well-made ’van; it’s built on the best-specified motorhome chassis currently available, with numerous safety features. However, more needs to be offered inside, given the price tag (no AES fridge or cooker extractor fan, and heating system is a bit poor). The 200kg payload is poor, too – the £1295 chassis upgrade to 3500kg is almost essential for two adults to tour in comfort. With it, the Devon starts to make more sense. Those who can live with its specification shortfalls will be rewarded with a prestigious ’van that shouldn’t let them down.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Drop-down TV that runs on 12V as well as 230V; swing-wall shower

Cons

  • Basic, small-ish fridge; location of crockery rack
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