Join Date: Jan 2007
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As the owner of a Merc-based B630, I have to say I am very happy with it. The engine is smooth and powerful and the full-auto gearbox makes driving it a pleasure. It is very solidly built. I think so many more Fiat bases are used because they are cheaper to buy. The premium for a brand-new Merc-based Hymer is substantial.
The continentals seem quite happy with the Fiat base, but I guess they are less likely to use them on wet grass where the FWD would be a problem. Most aires and stellplatz are on hard standing. In the UK, the majority of CS / CL sites are in fields and as we go away all year-round I would not want a FWD Hymer. I think ours has more ground clearance than the Fiat / Alko versions and that can be an advantage on a CS.
The only downside to the Merc chassis is the lack of a double floor if you think that is important. I do not as the standard of winterisation on ours is perfectly good. The fresh water tank is inboard and the waste tank, whilst slung between the rear wheels, is insulated and heated by the Truma, as is the dump-valve housing. We have used our van in temperatures well below freezing with no problems whatsoever.