Fine-looking, comfortable motorhome matched to a fine base vehicle – but it’s not the best in the class.
Looks; comfort; engine; comfortable beds; lovely washroom; kitchen storage
Slightly tight feel to lounge; not much kitchen worksurface
The new Mercedes chassis offers a greatly improved base for those who want maximum power, a quality feel and – let’s be honest – the prestige of the three-pointed star on the grille.
This luxurious end-washroom, fixed-bed floorplan is for those who will brook no compromise on comfort.
All the improvements to the base vehicle and even this new layout are eclipsed by Rapido’s stunning new exterior shape, however.
Looks are important at the upper end of the market but so is performance. The standard 2.2-litre engine’s output is similar to that of the old 2.7 CDI engine, but the optional 3.0-litre V6 delivers an unnecessary but nonetheless desirable 184bhp. Optional beige ‘Boston’ leather adds comfort to the captain chairs in a cab trimmed with wood-effect plastic. The distance from steering wheel to windscreen is 1.04m.
There are two slide-out storage trays: one in front of the rear nearside axle and another just in front of the offside entrance door, each of which holds 50kg of pitching kit.
The gas locker is in the usual A-class position below the driver’s seat and there’s a tall ski locker (1.98 x 45 x 70cm) at the rear offside.
The lounge is not as open as the 996M’s with its facing sofas, but even with two rear travel seats in place there’s room for four to dine comfortably, or to watch TV – there’s a ratchet-arm flatscreen TV mounting in a locker just above the end of the kitchen.
The L-shaped kitchen follows Rapido’s most popular generic shape, with the combi boiler stored underneath the corner. Storage is first-rate, and there’s a deep, slide-out drawer (with space for six wine bottles) plus another below the large cutlery drawer and the hob.
This ’van is likely to be bought as a luxury two-berth, but it can accommodate more. Both fixed beds have comfortable mattresses. A strong gas-strut on the end-corner bed base provides access to the battery compartment and the electronic control unit. The washroom is a real show point not least because of the wood-effect flooring that reduces the glare of an all-white space and adds warmth. There’s a two-door, 6ft-tall circular shower, plenty of room around the toilet and an attractive white washbasin with ample space around it.
There is no contesting this motorhome’s luxurious layout, smart looks and excellent base vehicle (even though airbags are not standard) but the competition is tough. The Rapido 999M looks strong, but it is not an out-and-out class leader.