Benjamin Davies

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Read the Romahome R40 review from the experts at Practical Motorhome

Design

Romahome’s origins were in making high-quality GRP mouldings for boats and that tradition shows in the R40’s beautifully moulded monocoque body. This handsome new coachbuilt shares many styling cues with smaller models in the brand’s range and it will certainly turn a few heads.

The ultra-white shell is double-skinned, with generous insulation between the interior and exterior mouldings. And the graphics help to enhance the R40’s graceful lines.

A key Romahome design cue is the rear entry door. The bought-in Dometic door offers good security features but what a pity it’s a completely different shade of white to the rest of the body. Black-framed windows and neat exterior lockers, however, do match the body style of the rest of the motorhome and add to its attractive looks overall.

Rear steadies are fitted as standard and there is an electric step with a courtesy light above it. However, this step does not automatically retract when you start the engine.

On the road

The R40 is built on the Citroen Dispatch van and is powered by a 2.0-litre HDi engine. The cab’s seating position is very car-like and it offered an extremely comfortable drive.

However, the 2.0-litre unit did not really have enough power to pull along the R40’s large body. And the six-speed gearbox, while smooth to use, needed plenty of pushing to keep the R40 on the boil.

The motorhome’s weight distribution meant that when starting on steep hills – and there are lots on the Isle of Wight – it was all too easy to spin the front wheels. So, the R40 may well struggle when 
it comes to driving off a slippery, grass pitch. The low ground clearance and long overhang don’t help and we often caught the bottom of the ’van when going over speed bumps – even at crawling speed. It posed a big enough problem with just two of us in the vehicle so we hate to think what would happen if all four of the belted back seats were in use and the garage was fully loaded.

Citroen’s standard rear-view mirrors struggle to provide 
a good view down the sides of the wide body and we’d consider fitting bigger mirrors. However, Romahome offers a rear-view camera and parking sensor 
set-up as a £330 cost option.

As is becoming the norm, the cab comes with a driver’s airbag, central locking, electric windows and a radio/CD player as standard, but cab air conditioning will add well over a £1000 to the R40’s 
on-the-road price.

Access from the cab area to the main body of the motorhome is unobstructed, but the cab seats do not swivel so they cannot provide additional lounge seating.

Lounging & dining

There are lots of exposed, but nicely finished, ivory coloured fibreglass mouldings on show in the living area. It is a styling signature of Romahome and an interesting twist of fashion that this look has returned to popularity.

Twin dinettes on each side of the central aisle provide great flexibility. Each can 
be changed into a single bed 
or even a pleasantly retro-looking sofa. Each dinette 
has a huge window next to it and, together with the large rooflight, these ensured not just good views but also 
a lovely, bright interior.

The twin tables are not all that sociable when four are dining but that was a trade-off we were happy to make in return for the flexibility of the R40’s layout.
If you are entertaining more than four for drinks, or even just a sociable conversation, the two sofas will provide sufficient seating space 
– although in that case there 
will be nowhere to place your drinks or snacks.

The sophisticated LED lighting system in the habitation area is somewhat ill-conceived. The lighting is controlled by an electronic panel that, in our test model, seemed to have a mind of its own. It is awkwardly positioned on the cab bulkhead, too, as the switch to turn it on is located above the rear door.

If you need to turn the toilet light on during the night you have to do the following: first, turn on the main switch at the rear of the ’van; then you go back to the front of the ’van to turn on all the rear lights via the control panel; then, back to the toilet to turn on the light. All this movement is guaranteed to wake your partner. But it doesn’t end there. You have to do it all again, in reverse order, before going back to bed.

Why? It’s at times like this that we hanker for old-fashioned but generally reliable things such as light switches, and we cannot help but feel that the average Romahome customer might just feel the same.

Kitchen

Full marks for this kitchen. 
It offers more worksurface area than some motorhomes twice its size. The Spinflo Triplex cooker comes with a three-burner hob over a combined grill and oven. And the 97-litre fridge/freezer and high cupboards provided us with all the storage we needed.

There was a good level of lighting over the worksurface, although by now you won’t 
be surprised to learn that you have to switch it on from the panel at the front of the ’van. 
The ceiling mounted turbo-vent (a £200 cost option) is a useful addition as it cleared all our kitchen smells and kept the rest of the ’van cool.

Sleeping

The twin-dinettes make up into two good-sized single beds, but if you are more than six-foot tall you will need to make use of the little fold-down extensions that elongate the beds into the cab area.
A decent-sized double can also be made up using all the cushions. And, while the made-up bed is not as comfortable as an island bed, 
it still provides a reasonably comfortable night’s sleep.

The double bed above the cab is well-lit, with spotlights and a small window, but headroom is limited and 
a ladder would have made access to the bed much easier.

Washroom

The spacious shower and toilet compartment is easily accessed through a wide roller door. The shower offers a powerful flow, but don’t take too long in there because the Webasto diesel water heater doesn’t have a huge capacity. It does heat up pretty quickly, though, so whoever is the second showerer of the day will not have to wait too long for the next tank of hot water.

We did have one gripe about the washroom: considering the high-quality of the majority of the R40’s GRP mouldings, the thin, bendy plastic used for the fold-up washbasin and bathroom cabinet is disappointing.

Storage

Large, moulded lockers line both sides of the ’van. There are two splendid wardrobes on slide-out rollers and most of the space under the seats is also available for storage.

However, there are no outside lockers for wet or dirty items such as barbecues and outdoor chairs.

Technical specs

Sleeps4
Travel seats4
MTPLM2595kg
Payload368kg
Length5.9m19′4″
Width2.1m6′11″
Height2.7m8′10″
Waste water64L
External Options
GRP sidewalls, Awning light, Electric step
Kitchen Equipment
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill
Heating
Webasto water/space heater

Verdict

Given a few more horses under the bonnet and a handful of normal light switches, this could be a fine coachbuilt for a couple who are keen on touring in an unusual and stylish ’van. And even more so if they are already Romahome devotees.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Well thought-out kitchen; surprisingly spacious washroom

Cons

  • Gimmicky electronics; engine needs more pulling power; excessive overhang
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