Thursday, 4 July 2019

IH 630 RL. 4 Years on. Last Review. Goodbye April!

We have finally come full circle with our first PVC creatively called April. After  living with a much larger motor home and "downsizing" to a camper, we were apprehensive to say the least. However all has gone so well! We have been very pleased with the freedom a smaller camper has brought and everything we have needed has fitted in with locker space to spare.

Over 4 and a half years we have covered 27 800 miles and been to 18 countries. The driving and travelling has been very comfortable. The under slung gas tank has only been filled 4 times, we mostly stay on sites. Fuel consumption has been fine, we had a long range fuel tank fitted but honestly we haven't needed it. The solar panel on the roof means the van stays charged up in the summer without the need for an electric hookup.

 Our worries about the big sliding door letting in flies has been  unfounded, we find if we leave the roof lights open "little critters" usually fly in have a sniff around and fly out. At night we put down the window fly screens and that usually keeps the mozzies out. In the Baltics we used a plug in mozzie fighter and apart from a few challenging "swots" we survived. An air con unit is not needed, we just open doors and windows. Satellite TV, not really needed and hardly used. We survive quite happily with a Kindle and the odd DVD for rainy days. In the UK and Northern France TV reception has been fine but then we don't watch much TV.

April, parked in St Petersburg, a brilliant drive. Camping in the Phlogiston Hotel in the suburbs of the city. A fabulous trip through Belguim, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to Russia and back.

We loved the colour of our van but practically speaking dark grey tends to keep the heat in and the bugs love it. On the plus side April matches our Skoda Yeti and looks good on the drive. Oh and black marks don't show.

Another worry was the lack of storage space...we thought. This worry has proved totally unfounded. There has been more than enough room for everything we want to carry, although we did have a good cull of essentials. The boot at the back holds a table, chairs and a BBQ. We were pleased we had paid for the back pod which has worked really well for us. It has also meant no nasty draughts at the back of the bed. There is good storage under the seats and even a secret locker that took us two years to discover.

In the shadow of a cruiser at Corfu dock. Another great trip to Greece via Italy including a week on Corfu.

The sleeping arrangements in the van have been perfect for us. The huge bed is really comfy and we have just added a mattress enhancer which rolls up for storage under the seats with a duvet. We carry winter or summer duvets depending on the season. We have never been cold at night and the heating is very effective. The beds can also be made up as two singles.

Our comfy bed.

Loads of storage.

A really spacious seating area.

Cooking facilities are plentiful with a full oven and grill, 3 gas and one electric plate in the hob. The electric hotplate is I think an unnecessary luxury we turned it off and it has hardly been used. Lots of storage in the oven with a pan drawer underneath. Worktop space is very limited and the sink with pull up tap though workable, is a bit fiddly. Big enough to wash a pan in though. I was initially concerned the fridge would be too small but its been more than adequate with space in the freezer compartment for a couple of chops. The freezer can also be removed. We carry an electric cooler box for wine and beer too, this has worked well.

The bathroom is OK for size but with a drop down sink not my favourite place. On the positive side the sink does lift out for easy cleaning. On the negative side if you leave the tap up and forget to drop it before running water you get a wet midriff and floor. Plenty of mirrors and storage space for bits and bobs. We have tried out the shower but not really used it much. The table stores in the shower room and the shelf in the bathroom fills up with water so needs emptying after the shower is used. The toilet is fine and I prefer the bench style loo.

Lighting and heating has been very efficient. We are very economical in our use of gas but we do stay mainly on camp sites. We have been warm and toasty at night.

Overall, April has been a great van and we have enjoyed having her. Our only niggle has been lots of minor warranty work which should not have been necessary. Everything has been fixed but it has taken a bit of effort on our part, to ensure we did get full value for money. To be fair IH did not quibble over any warranty work

We Liked:

  • The back door pod.
  • The big sliding door.
  • Easy drive we could take this van anywhere.
  • Storage.
  • The massive comfy bed.
  • Good customer service direct from IH at Leeds
We disliked:
  • Drafts at the front of the van around the fridge area
  • Lack of work top space in the kitchen.
  • The fact the kitchen tap had to be raised each time it was used.
  • Drop down sink in the bathroom.
  • Warranty niggles due to lack of care with the initial build.
We would have liked:
  • The ariel removed in the wardrobe, to give more hanging space.
  • A fix for the droopy carpet in the overhead locker.
  • Less of the IH decor, everywhere you look.
  • A better place for the fire extinguisher rather than over the sink with the glass lid.

All good things come to an end and it is time to move on. Whoever gets April next are getting a fabulous little van ready for the next adventure. 

We are off to pick up our new arrival a Vantage Neo who we will christen Krystal. More excitement to come.

To April's new owners we hope you enjoy her as much as we have.