Saucy Worcester


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As a stalwart distributor of quality import motorhomes in New Zealand, Auckland Motorhomes may now be under new ownership but Steve Vermeulen reckons this two-berth Auto-Sleeper Worcester proves it’s business as usual.

Saucy Worcester
Saucy Worcester

 

For those regular readers of this magazine, Des and June Wardell and their thriving Auckland Motorhomes (AMH) business will be no strangers, with a strong mix of both high-end and budget-conscious European motorhomes and caravans. I've reviewed numerous products from AMH. In fact, if my memory serves me correctly, an Auto-Sleeper Gloucester was the first motorhome I reviewed back in 2009.

The familiarity with the Wardells and, more recently, Kylie has been an aspect of this job I've enjoyed, so hearing the news of their impending retirement was almost as big as the generously dimensioned Auto-Sleeper Worcester I went to collect, on my most recent visit.

First thing first: it should be highlighted that Auckland Motorhomes - a company that has been such a fixture in this magazine and the motorhome industry in general - isn't going anywhere. It has been sold and will continue to build on the Wardell's foundations; existing customers can rest assured in the knowledge that it'll be business as usual. We'll keep you posted on the new owner as and when they get their feet under the desk, but at least they have an easy job with this quality Auto-Sleeper product.

Auto-Sleeper Worcester

Like the Gloucester I first reviewed, this Worcester floor plan is based on the durable and well-planted Mercedes Sprinter chassis, and boasts smart, contemporary exterior styling and tasteful timber and materials inside.However, the appointment of space in the Worcester is where the similarities end. The two-berth 7.2m Worcester offers no permanent bed, instead relying on a two single/fold-out double arrangement forward of the kitchen. But, of course, the gain in this instance is a much larger bathroom that occupies the rear portion of the home, prompting one to assess the importance of your requirements - I have a young family, so that rules the Worcester out. This variant is really targeted at couples who want the additional room for entertaining.

The interior has an open space with plenty of natural light available from larger windows than what you'd typically expect from a motorhome in this class. A nifty feature I noted was an opening window on the rear door, providing a little extra fresh air. Without a permanent bed arrangement, the kitchen becomes more of an open-plan living area, and there's the scope to spread out and enjoy the premium standard fixtures like the LCD television and dual-action window blinds/fly screens.

The seating and dining area is also vast. Of course, the obligatory, walk-through swivel-seating configuration from the cab is standard and there are two table options you can interchange to suit the occasion. In addition, there are full size, single seats at the aft end of the two main squabs, allowing the two single beds to remain made up while still have seating for two (if required) when not entertaining, making life a little easier.

If you do entertain a lot, you'll have to be fairly organised in the kitchen as bench area isn't as large as in similar models. However, a couple of dishes can be on the go at one time thanks to the additional space beside the 150-litre fridge/freezer, and the main workspace can be expanded with a discreet, pull-out extension. To be fair, the smaller kitchen design and additional room it enables is growing in popularity, features that are now being adopted by some Kiwi builders, based on local buyer feedback. Cooks are also afforded a full oven/grill and four-burner cooker. Water is heated by a two-way gas/electric system.

Outside, a recessed awning blends in seamlessly with the attractive exterior panelling - no bolt-on affairs to disrupt appearance or wind resistance here, thank you. But this model's most obvious benefit is clearly the bathroom, representing as good as you can get in a home of this size. You're not cramped at all, with a separate loo recessed out of sight from the living quarters, a full size shower and all the storage you could ask for throughout the space, including a significant wardrobe/airing cupboard that is accessible from the bathroom for towels, or just as you head out the rear door for jackets, etc.

Engine and power

From behind the wheel, the expansive glass area on the left-hand side of thevehicle is most notable, eliminating a lot of the inherent visibility issues that many homes have when turning across traffic.

Being based on the excellent Sprinter underpinnings, the drive and performance really is unsurpassed in the segment. With 122kW (163 horsepower in the old money) on tap as well as a mammoth 440Nm of torque, a strong, satisfying surge accompanies any stab of the throttle. It's a very efficient power unit, and the more traditional six-speed automatic transmission (not semi-automatic) is creamy smooth through the ratios. On a spirited drive to Kawakawa Bay along Auckland's East Coast, I was impressed with the stability through tight corners and the ample reserve of power.

Like all AMH products, the Worcester has its fresh water tank uprated to 140 litres, and a grey reservoir of 100 litres, so slightly longer stays are well catered for.

Without the permanent bed, the Worcester's hugely popular stablemate, the Gloucester - which is priced equivalently - will most probably continue as the volume seller here. But for those wanting that additional space and an opulent washroom, the Worcester retains all the qualities we've come to expect from the brand.

AMH's well-established business was built on the back of desirable models such as these, so it's relieving to know that service isn't going to change.



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