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Small package, big fun

 

 Fun is essential to life but in a recession maybe we have to tailor the fun package to reflect the nation’s mood of austerity.

That doesn’t mean going round in hair shirts with long faces, it means lateral thinking. Fun time has to be as enjoyable as it was before, just in a different way.

People who like to get out into the back of beyond will know that taking a few home comforts can make all the difference. That’s why the routes from London to Cornwall are jam-packed with VW air-cooled campers – and the routes back have plenty of breakdown trucks bringing said ancient VWs back again.

For the price of an ailing dinosaur - big on retro chic, often low on reliability - you can get a different take on the everyday camper. It’s the Romahome R10 Solo, so called because despite being less than 13 ft long it manages to accommodate a 6ft 4in single bed.

Not being one to take other people’s definition of fun lying down, it was time to take a look at this lucky bag of goodies. It’s small, packed with delights, and is viable everyday transport. It’s best suited to single people or couples, especially those who like to get off the beaten track to walk, run, ramble, fish, or ride bikes.

In the latter mode, the R10 is spot-on. It will park anywhere you can put a supermini yet inside there’s a twin burner stove, sink with pumped water supply, electric cool bag, and a Porta Potti in its own cabinet if you’ve drunk too much tea.

Combined with the latest Thule folding bike rack it’s virtually the perfect companion on a day out. Better still, the Thule rack comes off, folds up, and sits inside when you go off on the bikes. Everything’s secure and the absence of an empty bike rack on the back makes it less obvious you will be gone for hours. On a small van like this, to which you can’t fit the conventional body or door-mounted bike carrier, the Thule is the perfect companion to a detachable tow hitch.

Our little Romahome had done a few miles because we chose to test a used model with a tow ball already fitted. After 49,000 miles it was as good as the day it left the factory four years ago and returning 50+ mpg on diesel, which isn’t bad considering it has everything, including the kitchen sink, and a raising roof that alters the aerodynamics of the Citroen Nemo base vehicle.

Raising the roof involves undoing one clip and giving a gentle shove, lowering it takes more care to ensure the fabric sides and PVC windows don’t become trapped but after a couple of goes it’s second nature. There’s an optional awning to extend the living area so three can sleep and the optional heater gives a warm welcome on the return from cold weather sojourns.

Everyday drivability means the R10, unlike larger motorhomes, isn’t a second vehicle with the consequent extra tax, insurance, and maintenance bills. Many same age large motorhomes will have done a fraction of the R10 test van’s miles, which proves the point on usability. It’s why many owners of big vans are downsizing and why the R10 makes a lot of sense.

 

 Thule bike rack folded

 

                                                                       

Car: Romahome R10 Solo 1.4 diesel

Does it fit your ego...

0-62 mph: n/a

Top speed: n/a

Bhp: 55 @ 4000 rpm

Torque: 75 lb ft @ 4000 rpm

 

...and your wallet...

Price: £23,040

Combined: 65.7 mpg (standard van)

CO2 emissions: 119 g/km (standard van)

Insurance Group: contact specialist motorhome insurers

Best bits: compact; clever.

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