Peter BaberSee other caravan reviews written by Peter Baber
Subtly stylish with a generous payload, can the cheapest Hymer caravan sold in the UK justify its price-tag – and the need for a hefty tow car? Read on!
But you can still expect to fork out close to £30,000 before they’ll let you tow it away (thanks in part to a £1700 delivery charge).
There’s an increased focus this year on the luxury end of the market, however. So how does the GL 470 stand up?
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Pitching and setting up
That said, the lightweight Al-Ko chassis – which comes with ATC and a wheel lock as standard – means you also get a payload of 170kg – which should be plenty for two.
The tourer’s retro, boxy shape almost harks back to the 1960s. It’s a split-personality van, too, because while it’s emblazoned with the word ‘Hymer’ on the front, you’ll also find the ‘Eriba’ name on the rear panel.
This is a reflection of the fact that, in its home market, both of the ranges that we know as Hymers – the GL and the more upmarket S – are branded as Eribas.
As a British buyer, you may sigh as you discover that the entrance door is still on the Continental side, but you’re sure to admire the alloy wheels and large external locker doors.
The cupboard at the bottom here is mostly taken up by the heating system, so there’s only a small space for boots, but right above it is a drawer with a perforated base, allowing the warm air to rise up and keep your gloves and hats warm.
At the front of the van are two long settees, and the whole of the interior is understated in the way that you often find with seriously upmarket products.
On our test model, the warm Trentino pear-tree wood furniture blended well with the suede-effect and miniature-spot design of the Stanley furniture.
There’s voile netting in front of all the windows to complement the blinds, although what appear to be curtains on each side are only there for decoration.
In the middle at the front you can choose whether to have another seat to create a U-shaped lounge, or to fit the chest that goes in here and that comes complete with a slide-out table.
Whichever option you go for, the corner seats on either side of this space are fully supported. You could easily squeeze six people in here.
The fold-away table can probably only cope with four for dinner, though. It may be light, but it is stored on the other side of the kitchen – not the most convenient location.
Behind the cushions at the front, a large windowsill houses two mains sockets, with a pair of corner shelves and speakers for the built-in stereo above them.
The area is well-lit in the day thanks to the large opening front sunroof, as well as a skylight surrounded by four LED lights for when it gets dark. Two spotlights should also help with night-time reading – though we’d expect four at this price point.
If the two of you lean back on those well-supported corner cushions, you’ll both get a view of the TV, which swings out from its bracket above the fridge.
The drawers behind them should easily house your full quota of pots and pans. The workspace on top is only average-sized, but you can turn around to use the sideboard, too.
Altogether these two well-lit areas come with four sockets.
Over the Thetford Aspire oven and grill there’s a dual-fuel four-burner hob, with an Amica microwave above, next to two overhead lockers.
The sink tap feels solid, and Hymer has cleverly designed the sink cover so that you can use the overflow space at the back even with the cover on.
The corner loo has a collection of cubbyholes around it for all your potions. There is a large shower with its own shelving and a separate rooflight and flyscreen, but only one drainage hole.
The large basin is nicely set off by a dark-grey brick-effect back wall and mirror behind it.
To the left of this as you come in is a huge wardrobe with a hanging area on one side and shelves on the other – all of which are heated.
It’s up to you to decide whether you keep the chest as a bedside table or not.
On our test model we struggled a little with the pull-out slats: they felt tightly fitted.
The five overhead lockers aren’t shelved, but running under all of them is a slim shelf that’s perfect for putting books and maps where you can easily find them.
The Hymer Nova GL 470 ticks all the boxes when it comes to a level of luxury that doesn’t shout at you.
It’s comfy to live in, with a high specification level and little touches that you probably would never have thought of but that make a difference – such as the heater under the coat rail.
But in the end, that luxury can’t disguise a very hefty price-tag and a weight that severely restricts your choice of tow car, even if you do get a good payload into the bargain.
- Superbly finished inside
- Comfortable seating – that converts into a great bed
- The washroom is huge
- There's a heater under the coat rail
- The price puts this van almost in a category of its own – of expensive but short two-berths
- You'll need to choose your tow car with care