Benjamin Davies

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The Practical Motorhome review of the two-berth Marquis County Devon

Design

The Devon is based on the Mercedes 3.2-tonne SWB Sprinter chassis. All our testers liked the 5.94m-Devon’s understated graphics, but thought it looked slightly top-heavy.

Not so popular was 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. Paying an extra £1295 to upgrade to the 3500kg chassis gives you 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.

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

When we first drove the County Devon (September 2008 issue), we commented on the Mercedes-based ’van’s “rather soft” ride. This doesn’t seem to have stiffened with time.

Key to the 2010 County Devon is the new Euro V-rated Mercedes engine found under its bonnet; the German company claims that the latest unit decreases fuel consumption and carbon emissions over the last incarnation. All our testers found the gutsy 163bhp 
engine more than adequate for powering the 3200kg vehicle; the 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, through 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 (as at June 2010) – also provides you with a superb five-speed automatic gearbox, over the six-speed-manual standard version. All our testers liked the driving position and 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.

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 sofas themselves 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).

Our testers 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; we found that the 100Ah leisure battery had plenty of power left even after we’d watched a film. The sound 
is rather tinny, though.

A new upholstery fabric, launched at the NEC Show in February, replaces that which was fitted in our test ’van; 
the latest ‘Gatsby’ colours 
are fitted as standard, with 
the ‘Leya’ range available 
as a no-cost option.

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.

One other niggle was the location of the dedicated crockery locker, which is situated above the nearside lounge sofa.

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.

Our testers liked the inclusion of a drinks cabinet below the microwave; it came fitted with four crystal wine glasses. There is, however, no dedicated provision for the storage of 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 Auto-Sleepers’ trademark 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.

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
Payload375kg
Length5.94m19′6″
Width2.26m7′5″
Height2.85m9′4″
Waste water53L
External Options
GRP sidewalls, Integral awning, Omnidirectional TV aerial, Electric step
Kitchen Equipment
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas with electric hot plate, Combined Oven/Grill, Microwave
Washroom
Thetford C-250 toilet, Separate shower cubicle
Heating
Truma Electric/Gas Blown air heater, Truma Electric/Gas water heater
Security
Alarm

Verdict

There’s no denying that the Devon is a well-made ’van, but we can’t help feel that more needs to be offered inside, given its price tag. And we keep coming back to that 200kg payload – the £1295 chassis upgrade to 3500kg is almost essential for two adults to tour in comfort.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Handsome; well made; compact dimensions make it easy to drive in town

Cons

  • Small standard payload; chassis upgrade is more or less essential; short on standard kit
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