Lizzie Pope
Digital Editor

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The definitive Hymer Nova LuxusLine 465 review from the experts at Practical Caravan – can great build quality make up for a lack of kit?

Overview

Hymer's return to the UK caravan market after a three-year break brought three Nova LuxusLine models, one of which was this, the 465. From the outside it is instantly recognisable as a Hymer, with its house graphic of three horizontal bars.

It looks strong and well finished and is backed by a two-year parts warranty and another for six years against water ingress. But £23,000 is a lot of money for a 5m-long van, so how does it compare with Britain’s finest?

Pitching and setting up

Hymer’s construction uses closed-cell polyurethane-foam panels joined by cast aluminium sections, which create the characteristic rounded corners. The bodyshell is basic but well finished.

The single front window and half height gas locker moulding are typical of British vans of the 1980s, but we can forgive Hymer because the engineering is so good. This is typified by a huge gas locker door, which lifts high for clear access.

The Al-Ko chassis has an AKS 3004 stabiliser and Big Foot corner steadies, which help keep the van from sinking into damp pitches. Al-Ko’s Secure wheel lock is standard, but not its ATC trailer-control system. The dual-fuel Truma Ultraheat heating system is competent, but out of step with luxury UK models that boast Alde or Truma Combi systems.

Hymer’s UK offerings come with an ‘Autark’ (translation –‘independent’) pack of equipment, including a 95A battery and automatic charger. Its 1600kg MTPLM is high but the MiRO is only 1275kg, in line with British rivals whose payloads are less than the Hymer’s 325kg. This makes it a van for experienced caravanners who can safely tow up to 100% of a car’s kerbweight.

Lounge

The interior feels spacious for a 2.3m-wide caravan. That’s thanks to clever design and helped by seat dimensions markedly different from those in British tourers. The bottom cushions are 10cm shorter and the backrests 10cm higher, which creates more floor space and more comfortable seats.

The table is permanently fixed in the cosy U-shaped lounge, but its top, wider thanks to the seat size, slides in two directions to ease access to the seats around it. There’s no central chest or occasional table, but there are small shelves in the front corners. A TV bracket and DVD/CD player are well placed by the main door.

Pleated window blinds would be preferable to the simple rollers fitted, but they can be covered by the net curtains. The lighting is varied: a ceiling globe, two corner spots and six downlights.

Kitchen

The kitchen is compact, but a mirrored shelf pivots to reveal extra workspace over the bed. Illumination is excellent, with nine downlights. Daylight and ventilation come via the large rooflight, and there’s an extractor fan above the hob.

The equipment is basic: there’s a 96-litre Dometic fridge and a three-burner gas hob, but no microwave. A combined oven/grill fitted for the UK market is space-hungry, leaving little storage area. Those who value roomy kitchens should see Hymer’s larger 545. The third model is the LuxusLine 541.

Washroom

This is a wet room with a shower and toilet. The basin is outside with mirrors and cupboards above it.

Spray from the shower is controlled by a curtain, instead of a folding door, and a window provides the ventilation, rather than a rooflight. The Dometic toilet has a ceramic-lined bowl, which should keep its sheen.

Beds

The fixed bed is large at 2m x 1.45m, narrowing to 1.1m at the foot. Its mattress is built to be firm enough for bad backs, but is also well-ventilated and comfortable. Windows all round offer lots of light and ventilation, but some may prefer a headboard – and we would like to see shelves for our morning cuppa.

The front seats convert to a 2m x 1.3m double bed, using the table for support. While well shaped for seating, the cushions make for an uneven bed.

Storage

The 465 has roof lockers with positive catches all round, a double-door wardrobe and extra cupboards under the TV stand. The front seat bases offer plenty of space, but there’s no front access or support for the lids, so cushions have to be removed first.

The base of the fixed bed is cavernous, while the mattress is easy to lift and firmly supported. In addition, a huge 1m x 0.4m external hatch eases access from outside.

Technical specs

Berth4
MiRO1275kg
Payload325kg
MTPLM1600kg
Interior length4.97m
Shipping length6.98m
Width2.3m
Awning size939cm

Verdict

The kitchen isn’t the only compromise here. Compared to British caravans costing £4000 less, the Hymer comes up short on kit. Still, the Nova LuxusLine 465 typifies the brand’s sturdy construction and refined finish.

Inside it is spacious and comfortable, which may justify the £23,000 price tag for some. Hymer’s reputation tells us they will be satisfied owners.

Conclusion

Pros

  • The fixed bed is large with a supportive mattress
  • It comes with a two-year parts warranty and a six-year warranty against water ingress
  • It is well engineered and finished, with a generous payload
  • Storage is excellent
  • The interior feels large for a mid-size van
  • It's light and airy inside

Cons

  • A microwave is not fitted
  • The exterior is dated
  • The kitchen is quite compact
  • It’s pricey for a van with so little equipment
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