Practical Motorhome reviews the 2014 Hymer B 798 SL, a four-berth motorhome that provides liner-class luxury and style for an A-class price

Overview

German giant motorhome manufacturer Hymer uses 'B' or 'B-class' to denote its premium A-class range; its lighter, more affordable A-classes are badged Exsis-i. This distinction helps the B-class stand apart from the rest of the pack. Hymer says its B-class has been the biggest-selling motorhome series in Europe, with 55,000 units sold in the last 30 years. However, it also offers a two-strong 'SL' range, a cut (and around £22,000) above the standard B-class.

At this £100,000 price point, the Hymer B 798 SL variants aim for buyers of expensive luxury liners: discerning motorcaravanners who use their vehicles a lot, requiring good performance in challenging climates, often off-grid. Buying an SL means plenty of change from competitors' luxury liner A-class four-berth motorhome prices.

There are two models, both with tag axles: the 778 SL, with fixed twin single beds, and the 798 SL, with an island bed, which is on test here. Based on a Fiat Ducato paired with an Al-Ko chassis, the 798 SL is 8.5m long, features a storage double floor and is fully winterised. Our test vehicle had been upgraded to a 170bhp 3.0-litre engine with a Comfort-Matic transmission; with this and other options, its maximum weight was 5000kg with a 596kg payload.

Design

The exterior of the Hymer B 798 SL is pleasing, with sweeping graphics, flush-fit windows and that trademark ‘Hymer’ grille. The quality continues indoors. Just inside the offside habitation door, there’s a cocktail cabinet, with space for four wine glasses, above an upmarket control panel. The front lounge has an exceedingly high-quality feel, thanks to plush leather lounge seats and beautifully finished cabinetwork, which all combine well with the fabrics and soft furnishings.

Kitchen

The nearside kitchen in the Hymer B 798 SL is compact but brimful of considered design touches. Cooks have the use of three gas burners, a combination oven and grill, and a tall fridge with separate freezer. Ivory locker facings coupled with granite-finished work surfaces look the part, as do the spice rack and flush-fit sink that flanks the cooker.

The optional solid worktop, flush-fit sink and designer tap in our test vehicle are just some of many pleasing refinements in the Hymer B 798 SL’s kitchen.

This motorhome kitchen’s vertical storage unit is something straight out of a loft apartment, while the drawers can be centrally locked – far more reassuring than relying on a catch to stop things flying out in transit. Simply flick the switch under the kitchen worktop to lock the kitchen units.

Sleeping

Sleeping arrangements in the Hymer B 798 SL motorhome are taken care of by a queen-size fixed double bed, flanked by wardrobes and with storage cubbies at the foot as well as incorporated into both sets of steps to the bedroom. Headroom here is excellent, with a felt finish to the bedroom ceiling.

This main double bed has electrically operated headrests, as well as fabric pockets on either side for storing knick-knacks. The Hymer B 798 SL is a superbly versatile four-berth A-class motorhome.

Two extra berths are available in the front lounge via an easily deployed pull-down double bed that measures 2.5m wide. With these two sleeping options, two couples could travel together in the Hymer B 798 SL. Alternatively a couple of friends could drop in and stay in the spare bed for the weekend.

Washroom

You'll discover further design ingenuity in the washroom, which is split across both sides of the vehicle. On the offside, accessed via a tambour door from the bedroom, a designer basin and tap combination is located alongside a swivelling toilet with a circular ceramic bowl.

There are several storage options here. The stand-out one is the under-sink cupboard that takes a roll of toilet paper and feeds it to the user through a letterbox-sized opening.

LED lighting options in the washroom include task lights, vertical ambient lights and strip lights, which two mirrors disperse, making the space feel bigger than it is in the Hymer B 798 SL. On the nearside, the circular shower compartment is fully lined with moulded plastic and it has glass doors. A square showerhead and a drying rail for wet clothes complete the specification. Lots of quality cabinetwork and a distinctive designer basin sets the template for the Hymer B 798 SL’s washroom. Note also the smart mixer tap.

Storage

Storage is excellent, with overhead lockers, cupboards and a large garage under the rear bed. A wet locker is located to the right-hand side of the axle, on the offside, while a locker with a removable shelf can be found on the nearside, just behind the passenger door. The offside lounge bench-seat box also offers storage and can be accessed via an external hatch.

Equipment

The Hymer B 798 SL starts at £100,190 OTR, and the version we tested would cost £112,630 (summer 2014 prices). It sleeps four and there are four belted travel seats inside.

The base vehicle is the Fiat Ducato 3.0-litre turbodiesel, which has 177bhp. It's 8.53m long (27ft 11in), 2.35m wide (7ft 8in), 3.15m (10ft 4in) high. The MTPLM is 5000kg and the payload is 596kg. You can carry plenty of water on board because the tanks hold 190 litres of fresh water and 175 litres of waste water. There's a 160Ah battery and two gas bottles at 13kg size.

Technical specs

Sleeps4
Travel seats4
MTPLM5000kg
Payload596kg
Length8.53m27′12″
Width2.35m7′9″
Height3.15m10′4″
Waste water190L
External Options
Electric step

Verdict

The 2014 Hymer B 798 SL promises liner luxury for A-class money, as we proved in our review. It's ideal for full-time motorhome travel, or for anyone joining the happy band of retired Brits touring southern Europe in search of winter sun for several months each year.

Specifying sensible but necessary options pushes the price over £110,000, but you’ll drive off in a top motorhome with sky-high comfort levels.

Conclusion

Pros

  • There's a comfortable lounge with room for six
  • There's a top quality finish throughout
  • This motorhome has lots of storage
  • It is fully winterised
  • A large, queen sized, fixed double bed is fitted

Cons

  • At 8.53m (27ft 11in), will it fit on your drive?
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