One of the best improvements in motorhome design and manufacture recently has been the contribution from the (mostly European) base vehicle manufacturers which have, in some cases, developed a special production line just for motorhomes.
In the more specific cases of van conversions, the advent of vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van was a game changer and continues to be.
Take one of the latest models – a 416CDI Sprinter, which Horizon Motor Homes has used for its Acacia motorhome. It comes with a 120kW 2.2L turbodiesel that drives through a super-slick seven-speed auto gearbox. In addition, the vehicle has a GVM of 4490kg, which gives it a very impressive load capacity. Finally, there’s its external length of 6.96m (22ft 10in), which gives Horizon’s Clayton Kearney and his design team plenty of internal space to play with.
LAYOUT & DESIGN
The Acacia’s layout offers a double bed across the rear, a nearside kitchen, mid-offside bathroom cubicle and a front dinette that also utilises the front swivelling seats. As a bonus, the two forward-facing dinette seats behind the table can be used for legally carrying passengers during transit.
In the rear, the east-west fixed bed has advantages and disadvantages. The asset being that, in this configuration, it takes up slightly less space, as well as offering a considerable amount of under-bed storage, which is accessible from inside and via the rear doors. The bed length (1.78m/5ft 10in), however, won’t suit taller occupants but there are alternative layouts available to solve that issue.
BEDROOM & STORAGE
The bed is surrounded by windows on all three sides and lockers above, thus ensuring a good amount of storage space. Reading lights are fitted all round, so there should be no problems deciding which way to sleep.
The kitchen bench takes up all the space between the van’s sliding door and the bed and it actually intrudes into the door space as well. But that’s not a negative, rather, it’s an effective use of space.
Built into the kitchen bench are a stainless steel sink, three-burner cooktop (sans grill), an amazing six drawers and three cupboards. I suspect if you want a grill or oven, one less drawer would result. There are no overhead kitchen cupboards in the Acacia; instead, the space has been effectively used for an electrical switch panel, a mounting point for the flatscreen TV, a very handy open shelf and both 12V and 5V USB-style charger outlets.
The rest of the kitchen facilities, including a Waeco 136L compressor fridge with microwave above (at a user-friendly height) and a generous amount of cupboard/wardrobe space, are found on the opposite side of the walkway.
THE BOTTOM LINE
For the most part, Horizon Motor Homes has concentrated its attention on van conversions, not coach-built motorhomes. There are not many manufacturers that do this and I reckon that Horizon has created a bit of a niche for itself. It shows through in the development of a motorhome like the Acacia, which offers a very practical and user-friendly layout, despite being built within the confines of a van.
- Easy driving motorhome
- Lots of windows
- Good-sized kitchen
- Good electrical setup
- Plenty of storage space
I would have liked…
- A longer bed
- More time to play!
The full test appears in Caravan World #535 March 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!