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
There are lots of exposed, but nicely finished, ivory coloured fibreglass mouldings on show in the living area. It is a styling signature of Romahome and an interesting twist of fashion that this look has returned to popularity.
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.
Full marks for this kitchen. It offers more worksurface area than some motorhomes twice its size. The Spinflo Triplex cooker comes with a three-burner hob over a combined grill and oven. And the 97-litre fridge/freezer and high cupboards provided us with all the storage we needed.
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.
The spacious shower and toilet compartment is easily accessed through a wide roller door. The shower offers a powerful flow, but don’t take too long in there because the Webasto diesel water heater doesn’t have a huge capacity. It does heat up pretty quickly, though, so whoever is the second showerer of the day will not have to wait too long for the next tank of hot water.
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.
The twin-dinettes make up into two good-sized single beds, but if you are more than six-foot tall you will need to make use of the little fold-down extensions that elongate the beds into the cab area.
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.
Large, moulded lockers line both sides of the ’van. There are two splendid wardrobes on slide-out rollers and most of the space under the seats is also available for storage.
However, there are no outside lockers for wet or dirty items such as barbecues and outdoor chairs.