Benjamin DaviesSee other motorhome reviews written by Benjamin Davies
Read the Romahome R40 review from the experts at Practical Motorhome
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
However, there are no outside lockers for wet or dirty items such as barbecues and outdoor chairs.
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill
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.
- Well thought-out kitchen; surprisingly spacious washroom
- Gimmicky electronics; engine needs more pulling power; excessive overhang