As these comments are subjective and are my opinion of this particular model - they of course will differ to others I am sure.
I purchased this vehicle in a private sale in Germany tracked down through www.mobile.de, a German internet web site. It was first registered April 2001 and has been downgraded to a 3.5ton chassis (although no changes were made to effect this, so it can easily be reinstated and I have all the original paperwork and decals that I believe are needed). (The reason this is commonly done in Germany and France is due to the fact that in Europe vehicles over 3.5ton are restricted in their speeds and also where they may go, and I believe when. It had 10,280km on the clock when I collected it to drive it home in October 2002.
The drive from Ülm in southern Germany to North Devon, went very well, the vehicle drove smoothly and without any mishaps along the way. It handles easily and has a great turning circle. Bear in mind that I am a woman, was on my own when I bought this motorhome (I had only gone on holiday to stay with friends!) and so my daughter flew out to do the navigation bit for me. As I had not driven a LHD vehicle for over 14 years (then only a car) and not driven a motorhome for over 8 and never driven in Europe.... so when I say it drove well, I mean it did. I had been anxious (probably an understatement but with my daughters encouragement and navigation all went better than I could have hoped. (Thank you Kerry).
Ours has the manual gearbox but considering how difficult I used to find our previous Hymer (on a Talbot) I was very worried with the long journey regarding my foot on the accelerator. For anyone not knowing the problems with the Talbot, suffice to say that I used to have to keep my other foot underneath my heel to support the driving foot, a dangerous way of driving to me).
This Starline 640 has what Hymer call the 'Bar Version'. This is an optional extra on this model. We were very lucky in that the previous owner had many other options fitted, like long range diesel tank, larger water tank, roof a/c, alarm, awning, omnivents, extra vents, CD/Radio, safe, extra leisure batteries, rear steadies, solar panels etc., etc
My comments now after almost a year are these:
1 The Bar Version - this was something I had wanted, now I am not so sure - why, you may ask? Well the table is ALWAYS there, and although that in itself isn't a problem, it would be nice if it had a sort of piano hinge down one side and you could fold it down…. Also IF the 3rd bed is being used with the infill piece, you are unable to put the steps up to the bed in place.
2 Bathroom - excellent really pleased with this, plenty of storage space, in beneath the sink, in a bathroom cupboard behind the mirrors and also 2 small cupboards which are handing behind the Thetford for cleaning gear. The shower works very well and with the folding doors gives more space in the bathroom throughout the day, making the shower less of a wasted space. Would prefer the older Thetford as it had a larger holding tank, but this is progress (so they say!)
3 Bed - there isn't anything that can be said about these beds, they are excellent, leave them made up and just pull them down to get into bed. We are lucky in that another option that was fitted was a vent over the bed, which is well worth considering. There are beds of this type that are lower, which would be nice but this is adequate and so much better than an overcab. The mattress is comfortable and it has slats beneath so it has at last overcome the problem the earlier Hymer had of condensation. Anyway buying a used Hymer of the ear 1990 - ? Check under the mattress in the A cab bed…
4 Kitchen - This model has loads of space for storage - BUT - I hadn't had a rear kitchen before and I don't like it - there is nowhere to put down dishes when you have the sink in use and the hob is hot…. Somehow they need to design a small shelf (it can be done) beneath the drawer and between the pull-out locker, this would then give you the space needed. Having said that, there is a small low locker the other side of the fridge which is extremely useful to use for this. The fridge is set up at eye level, with yet another pull-out cupboard beneath with a waste bin it (I keep my water in there for drinking). There is also an omnivent in the gangway here which is very useful, although I think, had it been me, I would have installed it in the bathroom! I also have an oven (another option fitted), this is fitted below the sink and is low, but I at least prefer this to one of those fitted high as being only 5'1" I couldn't have seen in it.
5 Wardrobe and Storage - the wardrobe is a double sized one and there are overhead storage lockers fitted all around the van, so definitely no shortage of space. There is storage available access from in/out for under the long settee.
6 Outside storage - on our vehicle we have 2 outside storage drawers, one for 40kg and the other for 20kg (the smaller of which we carry a second spare cassette in) and the larger houses the water hose, tools, boots etc., (to be honest that is HIS domain and I am not exactly sure what is in it, but it IS tidy).
7 GAS - We had had fitted 2 x 26ltr (13kg) refillable gas bottles by MTH Autogas (Richard Cecil - 01594 563538 - Forest of Dean) which are brilliant. No more running out, and no more lifting of bottles out… these stay permanently in your vehicle, and just like filling up with diesel, you got to an Autogas (garage/depot) and fill up with gas. So simple and infinitely easier. The bonus, should you sell you van, you can take these with you to your next one)
8 Leisure Batteries - we have two of these - 90amp/hr - plus the main vehicle battery, these work and in combination with 2 x 75watt solar panels keep us topped up without any worries whilst off hook-up.
9 Roof a/c - works a treat when on hook-up, but to date haven't needed it too much but definitely wouldn't be without it for those days when it is hot.
What I would like added:
There are a few things, and one I have just ordered and a few we are considering:
1 Sat-Nav - I have just ordered this and am awaiting delivery, I have opted for the new Ipaq 2210, Tom-Tom with Holux Bluetooth. A review will come at some time
2 Tow-bar - We bought a Smart to tow and this vehicle didn't have the towbar so to date we haven't. We are now wondering whether it is worth it, this tour to Europe may make the decision clearer for us
3 Air ride - We do seem to sag a little and going on and off ferries have hit the chassis bit (I think that is what it is there for!) but we are considering fitting this before we go off to Europe
4 The larger fridge/freezer seen more commonly now on this class of motorhome, but generally the larger ones. So much more useful that an extra cupboard… I think.
Things we have and haven't used or are not happy with:
1 Bike rack - have removed it to date - but are thinking of putting it on for Europe - if we use them fine, if not we will remove it permanently.
2 Satellite Dish (Kathrein) - we have not got on well with ours. Neither has anyone else to date.. It does work, because we have got it to work, BUT only 4 times in all. We have a manual Kathrein (on the vehicle) and we are going to RoadPro who are the agents to get it checked out. They seem to think it is us…well it could be ….but not for want of trying, and others trying to.
SO MY OVERALL CONCLUSION - this vehicle is well made, well built and we are pleased with it. It drives very nicely and is a comfortable home away from home.
Carol Weaver © 2003