Coachcraft Sandpiper

The new model 750 C class Sandpiper emerged onto the motorhome stage last month. It’s a large, roomy motorhome which, viewed from the outside, is streamlined but has an impressively solid presence. This model is built on the new Mercedes Benz Sprinter cab chassis which has a redesigned cab and a host of new features, including ESP (Electronic Stability Program), the latest generation, dynamic handling control. The new Sprinter comes with two engine options. The 515 has a four-cylinder 110kw (150 hp) engine. The 518 has a V six-cylinder 135kw (184hp) engine. Both are turbo diesel, are well above the EU4 emission control limit, and are coupled to five-speed fully-automatic touch-shift transmission with manual mode. The cab of the new Sprinter is longer and slightly higher, and the wheelbase is also 150mm longer than the previous Sprinter 416 model (the motorhome length is now 7.5 metres). Coachcraft has built the new model to a width of 2.26m, a slight reduction over the previous model. “The layout has not been compromised,” says Doug Sheldon of Coachcraft Motorcampers. “This width better suits the motorhome to some of the narrower New Zealand roads.” The Sprinter, still based on the traditional hot-dip galvanized sub-chassis, has been constructed “inside out” which is a building technique where the interior is fitted before the outer body shell is added. Doug says that Coachcraft uses vacuum technology to produce a strong, well-insulated fibre-glass (GRP) clad body which has a high-gloss finish. I walked around the outside and noticed the generous amount of locker storage. There is a large rear boot and smaller lockers behind the passenger and driver’s doors. In the middle of the driver’s side is another locker which, as an option, can be used for a slide-out barbecue. A clip-on table (stored in boot) fits between this and the side entry door. In the centre of driver’s side is a locker for a 15m electrical lead, and a gas locker containing three 4kg gas cylinders. Three lighter cylinders can be more easily handled, especially by women. The introduction of diesel cabin heating instead of gas has reduced the amount of gas needed on board. I was please to see an external shower, which in my opinion is a very useful feature; and although I didn’t see the vehicle at night, I imagine the two external wall lights, one above the door, would provide good security lighting. Step inside and the first impression is one of space. The extra length possibly contributes to this, as does the large amount of window space, a ceiling height of 1.98 metres and two hatches – a very large one over the dining area and a smaller near the bathroom.  All the opening windows, the main door window, and roof vents are double-glazed and have flyscreen/blind combinations. The layout with its clean, uncluttered lines also contributes to the spacious feel and so does the décor with its pleasing combination of silver, grey and white colours (other colour combinations are available). The dining/bed area at the rear takes up about a quarter of the space and, with large windows on the side and back walls, affords excellent views to the outside. The two side windows open so there is a good free-flow of air. The rear “wrap-around” lounge comprises long side single beds (up to 2m) and a decent sized table (900 mm x 660mm) to which a smaller coffee table can be added or used on its own – a clever bit of designing. Under the overhead lockers that surround this dining/lounge area runs a padded, lip-edge shelf which would be handy for frequently used items without having to open cupboards all the time. All the cabinetry and tables in the Sandpiper are made of lightweight, 15mm laminated Euro-Ply. Between the seats a slatted base pulls out to fill the gap and make up a large bed which can be 2.2m by 1.5m to 1.9m in size. Even with the bed made up, there can still be room to sit on the front parts of the seats. A concertina curtain closes off this area from the rest of the motorhome. The rear lounge can also be used as single beds. Personally, sleeping in a luton does not appeal because I’m not much good on ladders, especially in the middle of the night, but as luton beds go, this one is high and spacious – the ceiling height is 0.7metres. Single halogen reading lights are placed one at each end and I couldn’t really work out whether this was a good or not-so-good idea. But doubles at each or either end are also available. And so to the kitchen. I didn’t cook in it but it certainly looks friendly enough. On the right side of the bench is inset a stainless steel sink with drainer, with a three-burner Cramer hob to the left, and below this is a stainless steel grill/oven with a rotisserie. This does not leave a lot of room for bench space but a fold-up flap helps. There are three drawers for storage, two overhead lockers and one at floor level.  All have push button closing devices. On the opposite side of the kitchen area is a hutch-dresser/cabinet which affords more bench space and is further extended by a fold-up flap. Below this is a slide-out pantry and two drawers. The top one has shaped spaces for crockery (included as standard). At the back of this bench is a roller shutter door which hides the flat screen TV storage. Above it is a two-door cupboard with lead-lite glass doors, and behind the lower drawers, accessed from the doorway, is a slide-out double-bin rubbish drawer. Moving forward on the passenger side between the hutch unit and main entry door and the passenger seat, is the fridge-wardrobe unit. Below the fridge is a shoe locker which is accessed from both the inside and the doorway.  Above the fridge is a drying cupboard warmed by air from the fridge outlet. The microwave oven is alongside this, above the three-quarter length wardrobe situated between the fridge and the passenger seat. The aluminium ladder to the luton is clipped across the front of the luton acting as a goods restraint, when travelling, or kiddy restraint for sleeping children. Between the kitchen unit and the drivers seat is the bathroom. In this new model of Sandpiper, with its greater length, the bathroom has been made larger. As in the earlier model, the shower cubicle is separate and the bathroom is fitted with a Dometic vacuum toilet and a fold-down wash basin. The floor area between the toilet and the shower has been extended for your added comfort. Lighting throughout is halogen and fluorescent supplied by two 90-amp hour batteries. These are charged by a smart charger (an optional twin 80w solar panel kit is available). I was also pleased to see that the control panel for all the electrics is above the side door and easy to get at. Powered by its 2.2-litre turbo diesel motor, the Sandpiper moves along without effort. And it has been fitted with large enough external side mirrors, which together with a very large rear window, makes backing and other manouevres easy to handle. All up, I thought the Sandpiper had a lot of class. Specs Base: Mercedes Benz Sprinter 515/518 Engine: 2.2 or 3-litre turbo diesel Tare weight: around 3900kg Gearbox: five speed auto External length: 7.5 metres Internal height: 1.98 metres Gas: 3 x 4kg gas bottles, steel gas-bottle locker Lighting: 12 volt Freshwater: 2 x 85-litre tanks Grey water: 135 litre tank Hot water: Truma 14-litre, gas/240v Fridge: 150L Dometic auto energy select Heater: Eberspacher diesel Hob and Oven: Dometic Microwave: Sharp Toilet: Dometic vacuum Driving cabin: Double airbags,radio/CD Front cabin air conditioning
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