Campervan review: Roadcraft S2

By: Bill Savidan


Campervan review: Roadcraft S2 Campervan review: Roadcraft S2
Campervan review: Roadcraft S2 The new Roadcraft S2 will appeal to outdoor activists. Campervan review: Roadcraft S2
Campervan review: Roadcraft S2 The Roadcraft S2 has retained the U-shaped rear lounge. Campervan review: Roadcraft S2
Campervan review: Roadcraft S2 Campervan review: Roadcraft S2
Campervan review: Roadcraft S2 Campervan review: Roadcraft S2
Campervan review: Roadcraft S2 Campervan review: Roadcraft S2
Campervan review: Roadcraft S2 Campervan review: Roadcraft S2
Campervan review: Roadcraft S2 The interior is pure TrailLite and the S2 aligns seamlessly with the rest of the TrailLite range. Campervan review: Roadcraft S2
Campervan review: Roadcraft S2 Campervan review: Roadcraft S2
Campervan review: Roadcraft S2 Campervan review: Roadcraft S2
Campervan review: Roadcraft S2 Campervan review: Roadcraft S2
Campervan review: Roadcraft S2 Campervan review: Roadcraft S2

The wildly popular Roadcraft Base Jumper has proved itself time and again. The recently launched S2 from TrailLite has already received its first award. Check out this review.

Recently TrailLite decided the Roadcraft range of campers needed refreshing. Once they decided to change motor vehicle brands from Fiat to Mercedes it turned from being a refresh to a totally new model.

Traditionally, developing new models – especially in campervan conversions – has been a laborious, time-consuming business of pattern making and trial-and-error component placement. This time around they decided to do something different.

New design

Mercedes-Benz provided computer drawings (data) for the Sprinter 'vans TrailLite planned to use. This data was fed into TrailLite's computer assisted drawing (CAD) programme, enabling their designers to create the new interiors on the computer.

Now they could see where to locate the water heater so the pipework wouldn't interfere with the sub-floor cross-members, without moving from their drawing stool. As well as saving an enormous amount of time (and money) the computer provided comprehensive, accurate data for the computer driving the machine that cut out the interior cabinet components, achieving accuracy within a millimetre.

The fact that the Sprinter body tapered from a wide base to a narrower roof, and curved outwards from front to back was no problem for the computer. Development time shrank from months to weeks and there was no need to build a prototype.

The first one built was the vehicle I was to review. And as soon as I completed my review the first customer took delivery of it.

The Roadcraft S2

The model reviewed – the Roadcraft S2 – is built on a Mercedes Sprinter 313 with a 95kW/305Nm turbo-diesel motor powering the rear wheels through a seven-speed automatic transmission.

TrailLite order the Sprinters with factory supplied extras that include a larger 180-amp alternator, electric sliding door with its own auto-retracting electric step and cab refinements that include a factory fitted reversing camera with in-dash screen, and an audio system that features a high resolution colour display, Bluetooth hands free and media streaming.

All the driving safety aids Mercedes have developed are included as standard.
When TrailLite's Shaun Newman introduced me to the Roadcraft S2 he explained the features that were important in the new model:

"We wanted to provide easy access to kitchen storage so drawers rather than cupboards were the preferred option," he says. "We looked at replacing the sliding door with a smaller hinged door but decided to stick with the slider as it offered a better indoor/outdoor connection with easy access and easy viewing. Electrically powering the sliding door removes the 'much loved in the campground at midnight whizz-bang' characteristic of the manual door, and makes it much easier to open and close."

Roadcraft _S2_14

Comfort was a high priority, too. Shaun explained, "We felt the twin settee berths were too narrow for a comfortable night's sleep so we fitted a pull-out sliding extension to the front edge of the settees, widening them by 100mm or so. The seat backrest pulls apart at a velcro seam to provide the cushion that fills the gap when the mattress is pulled forward on the widened bed.

"It doesn't sound much but it makes a big difference when turning over in bed at night. Water and interior heating are provided by a single diesel powered unit that is very efficient, compact and quiet and careful attention has been paid to insulation and ventilation. This is definitely a 'four seasons capable' RV."

Other changes

Attention to detail is not confined to the interior of the S2. In a first for TrailLite, the swage lines of the metal bodywork have been moulded into the fibreglass exterior hatch lids and frames so that they blend seamlessly into the bodywork.

And there is no need to take your keys with you onto the beach when you go swimming, either. Entry to the S2 is code-controlled by a keypad. These are thoughtful changes that say a lot about TrailLite's strive for perfection.

At first glance it appears the Roadcraft S2 has forsaken features that appealed to the outdoor activist; the outdoor shower, the roof rack, the ladder and the bike rack, but they are still available as extras should you need them. This slight change of emphasis reflects how TrailLite sees the Roadcraft S2.

The interior now is pure TraiLite and the S2 aligns seamlessly with the rest of the TraiLite range. Whether the buyer is a first-timer, an outdoor activist or a downsizer, the design objective is that they enjoy a TrailLite experience in the Roadcraft S2.

Lounge

Roadcraft S2 has retained the U-shaped rear lounge because it offers more laid-back seating options than straight twin settee arrangement. The rear doors still open providing access to the massive storage facility under the settees, but you can't walk between the settees and exit the campervan through them.

The layout has provided another novel storage option. The floor between the settees has been raised 100mm so the table can be housed underneath.

The U-shaped lounge converts into a large double bed at night, and as mentioned above, the settees are long enough to be used as single beds, if preferred.

The light coloured cabinets are finished in oyster linea laminate, with walls of a hardwearing vinyl finished board in a similar off-white colour to the roman blinds and the padded vinyl ceiling. Colour is introduced by the bold red-striped fabric on the seat cushions. There appear to be six large overhead lockers, but in fact there are only five as a switch panel and the house radio occupy the front one on the driver's side.

An RSE TV with built-in DVD and Freeview matched with a manual Winegard satellite aerial complete the entertainment offerings.

Kitchen

Up front the kitchen is surprisingly well equipped for what is a relatively small motorhome. A Thetford Triplex oven (no separate grill) and three LPG hobs has a range-hood above plus an adjacent roof hatch that clears the air if the side door is shut. Opposite, the 12-volt only Webasto-Isotherm 130-litre fridge is at eye level so it is very easy to view the contents.

There is a surprising amount of kitchen storage and workspace too. Below the fridge is a large cupboard that could well serve as a pantry. The cover over the rectangular sink is flush with the bench top so although the hob top interrupts the bench, it looks to be usefully long and unobstructed. Underneath are two deep cupboards, a dedicated cutlery drawer and a bin beneath the oven. Overhead are two small lockers. A quick check revealed four power points, two with RCD protection as well as one 12-volt outlet.

The nearby small room continues the Roadcraft tradition of doubling as a drying room and ablutions facility. The toilet, hand basin and shower share the room in an efficient layout that allows one to go through the motions, as it were, without frills and frippery.

Roadcraft _S2_10

The verdict

The Roadcraft S2 is not all about luxury, however. Those who prefer to travel 'unplugged' will be re-assured to find a large 260-amp/hr house battery supported by a 140-watt solar panel and a 300-watt inverter with generous water tankage (90 litres for fresh and 105 litres for grey) located under the floor.

The new Roadcraft S2 reflects nearly all of the original features that so appealed to the outdoor activist users who enjoyed the first rendition with enough TrailLite flavour to keep their followers happy.

For more information, contact the sales team at TrailLite on 0800 872 455.

Thumbs up

  • The quality of the fit out – wonderful.
  • The electrically operated sliding door that does away with the whizz bang noise and the automatic retracting step.
  • The freedom camping equipment sized tanks, batteries and solar panels.

Thumbs down

  • I would have liked a separate shower. Might have to wait for the long wheelbase version for this.

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