Niall Hampton
Editor

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With a popular layout, generous storage and a refined and distinctive finish, the Hymer B PremiumLine 704 is a luxurious couples 'van – read our review

Overview

The last time we reviewed a Hymer B-Class (the 798 SL), we noted that 55,000 models of this type had been sold over the previous three decades. Figures like that suggest that Hymer’s core A-class offering has a strong following, so why not introduce a new variant of it to broaden the appeal? 

So into the mix for 2015 came the B-Class PremiumLine, a new nine-strong line-up that sits neatly between the two B-Class and four B-Class SL models, with launch prices starting from £73,860 OTR. The USP of the PremiumLine range is elegant interiors and impeccable on-the-road manners, clearly targeting well-heeled couples for whom comfort and refinement is king. Body lengths range from 6.55m to 7.79m and five models sport the popular fixed twin single beds floor plan – the largest of which, the 7.79m-long 704, is on test here. 

Design

With its raked front, sleek lines and reasonably uncluttered exterior, the B-Class PremiumLine is a pleasing-looking vehicle. Our test ’van sported the optional Sierra Grey metallic exterior (£2990; Carrara White is the standard finish), and sharp-looking 16in alloy wheels (£990). Coach-style mirrors, for superior visibility, hang just behind the A-pillars while at the rear, a one-piece moulded panel features an automotive light cluster, bookending an extruded Hymer logo above the numberplate. A high-level brake light sits above another Hymer logo, this time with a chrome-effect facing.

Hymer’s proprietary PUAL system is used for the habitation construction, a method the firm pioneered in the late 1970s. The polyurethane sandwich side panels have Styrofoam insulation and aluminium skins, with the roof and underfloor faced in hard-wearing GRP. A technical double floor carries warm air vents from the Truma Combi 6 heating system, so the pipework running in this 12.5cm-deep cavity is therefore protected from frost when touring in extreme temperatures.

On the road

Based on the Fiat Ducato teamed with a lightweight Al-Ko chassis, the 704 is typically powered by a 2.3-litre 130bhp turbodiesel mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. Our test ’van, however, was supplied with a 177bhp 3.0-litre unit with ComfortMatic transmission, both available as cost options.

With an all-up weight of 4500kg, this larger engine offers a better power to weight ratio than the 130bhp version, although it’s worth noting that there is a weight penalty for this and the automatic gearbox. Independent suspension for each wheel courtesy of Goldschmitt coil springs makes for a comfortable ride with assured handling.

Lounging & dining

Stepping up via a double electric step and entering through the Continental-friendly offside habitation door, which is a generous 70cm wide, the B-Class PremiumLine 704 follows a familiar European A-class layout, with an L-shaped front lounge below a drop-down bed, a nearside L-shaped kitchen, a split midships washroom and twin berths over a rear garage. Hymer does this layout very well, and the 704 certainly offers plenty of ‘wow’ factor in terms of styling, fit and finish.

The lounge seating group in our test ’van had comfortable upholstery in Pebble leather, a £2690 cost option, with matching Aguti cab seats. This was paired with the standard Palatino Apple cabinetwork scheme (a lighter finish is available). With the cab seats rotated, five seating positions are available around the lounge table, which can be moved laterally courtesy of a catch underneath. The nearside single seat can be removed during transit to offer legroom for the person sitting closest to the wall.

LED lighting in the underside of the drop-down bed and the rooflight surround, plus natural light from the large nearside window, lends the lounge an airy feel. This is augmented by pleasing mood lighting above the overhead lockers.

Kitchen

Although compact, the kitchen in the 704 scores practicality points and is tastefully finished. Granite worktops combine well with the dark woods and gloss cream locker and cupboard facings; the drawers underneath the deep sink have articulated handles plus central locking to keep them securely closed during transit.

A cooker with three gas burners and one electric hotplate sits above a separate oven and grill – a £750 UK-friendly cost option. Opposite is one of the latest fridge designs: a narrow unit from Dometic with a 142-litre capacity plus 15-litre freezer compartment. There’s no microwave, but you could fit a small one in the cupboard above the fridge, although this isn’t fitted with a power socket.

Sleeping

A pair of single beds is the sleeping accommodation’s main attraction. These are accessed via three steps and both feature cold foam mattresses resting on Froli springs. The two beds can be made into a spacious double by inserting a filler cushion; a retractable ladder can then be pulled out from the unit between the two twin beds to gain access.

In use, the beds are comfortable and there’s enough headroom for users to sit up. An array of secondary lighting in the bedroom means you’ll never struggle for illumination for night-time reading.

A drop-down transverse double bed is located above the lounge. Although manually operated, it's superbly engineered so doesn't require huge strength to lower and raise it. An electrically operated mechanism can be specified as a cost option.

Washroom

The Hymer B PremiumLine 704’s washroom is split across the vehicle. The shower compartment resides on the nearside, with the toilet and vanity unit opposite. The toilet compartment’s wooden door can be latched in its ‘open’ position to shut off the front of the ’van from the rear, creating a private dressing area.

Inside, you’ll find a corner vanity unit with a half-length mirror, with a cupboard at chest height on the left above the swivelling toilet. Opposite, the shower compartment is accessed via a tambour door that cleverly slides back on itself to save space; a moulded unit offers storage for gels and soaps and there’s also a hanging rail for drying towels and wet clothes. Wooden duckboards were fitted to the shower tray, as a £145 cost option.

Storage

With a 1100kg payload, you’d expect a wide choice of storage in the 704. Provision includes 10 overhead lockers, two wardrobes and three shoe cubbies in the bedroom, plus two pull-out apothecary racks in the kitchen. The large rear garage is accessible from both sides of the vehicle. There are also two storage compartments in the double floor, ideal for keeping valuables out of sight, and one of them is heated.

Technical specs

Sleeps4
Travel seats4
MTPLM4500kg
Payload1100kg
Length7.79m25′7″
Width2.25m7′5″
Height2.9m9′6″
Fresh/waste water160L / 140L
Leisure battery95 Ah
Gas tank size13kg
Number of gas tank compartments2
Kitchen Equipment
Dometic Fridge, 3-burner gas hob, Oven, Separate grill
Washroom
Separate shower cubicle
Heating
Truma Combi heater

Verdict

With nine models to choose from, at a wide range of lengths with a choice of sleeping arrangements, the PremiumLine certainly occupies the ‘sweet spot’ in the B-Class portfolio. The 704 is a well-designed and specified motorhome and will leave buyers wanting for little, especially if you shop from the extensive options list. Add in Hymer’s bombproof build quality and excellent residuals and this ’van will be a wise investment for years of refined touring. And to see other Hymer motorhomes for sale, click here.

Conclusion

Pros

  • There's a good range of storage options
  • The optional Sierra Grey metallic exterior is a refreshing change
  • You can shut the front of the ’van off from the rear, to create a private dressing area
  • It's winterised

Cons

  • The kitchen is pretty compact
  • Habitation door is on the UK offside – this is less of an issue if you tour mostly in Europe
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