Andrew McPhee

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It looks sleek, but find out how the Rapido 992M performs in the tough Practical Motorhome review

Design

Rapido’s mid-priced 9M A-class range sits alongside the likes of the Hymer B-SL, but offers more for your money – in particular, the Mercedes chassis. This 992M has an island-bed layout, and it’s worth noting two similar ’vans in the range: the 992 MH is identical but with a 4.6-tonne MTPLM, with twin rear-drive wheels; and the 990M has shower and washroom in alternate positions to this floorplan, creating an en-suite bathroom, but with a smaller kitchen.

We appreciated the 992M’s smart, grey paintwork – even after seven days on the road in inclement weather, the ’van still looked clean. Its stylish, sleek A-class lines appeal, too, and make the ’van appear longer than its 7.4m.

We toured during the colder months, and were grateful for the Rapido’s level of winterisation. Its internal, 100-litre fresh-water and insulated 100-litre waste water tanks were well protected from frost, and its Styrofoam-insulated walls, roof and floor helped keep us warm during freezing nights.

On the road

Our Rapido 992M had Mercedes’ 2.2-litre, 150bhp unit. The engine’s excellent low-down torque meant there was little changing down required on inclines and the 150bhp engine enabled us to cruise comfortably at 120km/h.

The driving position is excellent, and the six-speed gearbox works well in town. The new generation Sprinter comes with a fully automatic gearbox similar to that fitted into Mercedes cars. The cab offers excellent all-round visibility, and on the road there were no rattles from the living area, but engine and road noise made it hard to talk at normal levels when driving at more than 50mph.

Lounging & dining

Although the L-shaped lounge (with single side seat) has an enclosed feel – we would be prepared to sacrifice the travel seats for facing sofas – it’s also neatly separated from the kitchen, with good views of the slide-out TV from the comfortable cab seats. These swivel effortlessly, thanks to the drop-down handbrake. Lighting, both natural and electric, is plentiful, thanks to that large windscreen and numerous halogen and ambient lights.

The inclusion of a large, fold-out table, which swivels and slides, means there is plenty of leg- and elbow-room for five to eat in comfort once seated. But the size of the table means that access to the cab seats is somewhat restricted when other diners are seated.

Kitchen

Due to the space dedicated to the rear bedroom, the 992M’s kitchen is relatively small. First to suffer is the amount of work-top area: it’s necessary to employ every inch of the available surface when preparing a substantial meal. This is due, in part, to the inclusion of a second sink which, although useful for rinsing glasses, seems unnecessary in a kitchen of this size. We also noted a dearth of storage space in this area.

Otherwise the kitchen is of a high standard. The three-burner hob is a decent size and allows you to cook using multiple pans simultaneously. The 150-litre fridge with separate freezer is standard, and UK models also get a 30-litre oven with grill.

Sleeping

Two large beds make up the 992M’s sleeping quarters: the main island bed at the rear of the ’van, and a drop-down double at the front. Both are roomy enough, even for two tall adults, and provided us with a very comfortable night’s sleep. The front bed drops down low, allowing easy access and plenty of headroom once you’re in.

It’s the rear island bed arrangement that appeals most: shut the door which divides the front and back areas of the ’van and a real bedroom area is created, complete with two small wardrobes and a headboard behind the bed. Ambient lighting around the area creates a relaxing space, and classy fittings (including good-quality curtains) increase the home-from-home atmosphere. A TV aerial point in one of those wardrobes is a welcome addition, but a real minus-point for us is the lack of a mains electric socket in the bedroom area.

Washroom

One highly unusual feature of this ’van is the shower-room/toilet layout. The two facilities are positioned either side of the accommodation corridor: the shower-room can be accessed from the main body of the ’van, but to use the Thetford you must walk through the bedroom.

From the point of view of size, the washroom offers lots of room in which to move around, but those over six feet tall are likely to find the need to stoop while taking a shower.

Although we found the toilet room extremely cramped, our test ’van was an early model, and Rapido assures us that this room has been enlarged by several centimetres in later production models.

Storage

Kitchen room aside, storage space abounds in this ’van. There are masses of cupboards in the main body, and a spacious, two-door heated garage provides room for a number of bikes – although, with a vehicle payload of only 270kg, the amount of kit that can be carried will be limited.

Inside the ’van, we were somewhat concerned to notice that, when open, the overhead lockers touched the halogen lights above, causing the wood panels to heat up to a worrying degree. Rapido assured us that this was a problem unique to this early 992M and that it would be fixed on later models.

Technical specs

Sleeps4
Travel seats4
MTPLM3500kg
Payload270kg
Length7.4m24′3″
Width2.31m7′7″
Height2.86m9′5″
Waste water100L
External Options
GRP sidewalls, Electric step
Kitchen Equipment
Thetford Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Combined Oven/Grill
Washroom
Thetford C-250 toilet, Separate shower cubicle
Heating
Alde water heater, Alde wet central heating

Verdict

Rapido aims to provide a luxurious touring environment with its A-class ’vans, and the 992M offers that in spades.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Attractive appearance; quality of fixtures and fittings; impressive level of winterisation.

Cons

  • Separate washroom and toilet room may deter some buyers; no mains socket in bedroom.
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