Review: Starline B680 and B690


The two new entrants by Hymer come with luxurious interiors, plenty of storage and is road-ready for your next adventure

There has been a marked increase in the number of luxury motorhomes on offer to New Zealand buyers over the past three years. So, it is interesting to see SmartRV raising the stakes by introducing a new motorhome range to this market.

Star Line

The StarLine B680 and B690 are integrated motorhomes built by Hymer, the company who created the Hymermobile style of integrated motorhome nearly 50 years ago. They are built from stem to stern in their factory at Bad Waldsee in southern Germany.

Mounted on Mercedes-Benz chassis, with a three-litre turbo diesel 190hp motor driving the rear wheels through a seven-speed automatic gearbox, they represent all that is good in Hymer motorhomes.

Star Line -690-Floor -Plan

Less rake on the windscreen gives these StarLines a stately rather than chic appearance. While the standard body colour is white, other colour options are offered.

Three windscreen wipers rather than two and a large cluster of headlights provide clues that these motorhomes are something out of the ordinary.

Star Line -B690_Cab -from -driver -side

Looking down over the driver’s side is a Fiamma five-metre electric awning. Just behind the driver’s seat is the locker housing 2x9kg LPG bottles. The habitation door is amidships, and at the rear, there’s a large garage locker door.

With a loading capacity of up to 450kg and a super low floor, the garage is easy to load through large doors on both sides of the vehicle and is high enough to accept a full-sized bicycle.

Star Line -B690_Panel

As you enter, to the left is the Hymer panel that monitors the batteries and water tank levels, an Alde central heating control panel, and switches to operate the windscreen blind and the steps.

A handy feature is the Waeco switch panel that activates all 230-volt power points so they automatically obtain supply from the inverter if the plug is pulled on the grid supply. Nestling into the cabinetry beside the entry is a 24-inch LED TV on a lockable swing arm.

Interior

Star Line -B690_Lounge _1

The first impression of the interior is one of understated luxury. The dinette that includes the cab seats and the side settee is upholstered in Tortora leather.

It seats five around a large elegantly shaped table that can be rotated through 360 degrees and adjusted both vertically and horizontally. There are different floor levels in the cab and the dinette, so the cab seats ‘power adjust’ to serve both driving and dining levels.

Bedroom

Star Line -B690_Bed _1

The fold-down bed located over the cab is as good as any I’ve seen. Once the safety strap is disengaged, the bed is easy to lower and raise, either manually or electrically.

The default bottom stop position is around a metre off the floor making the bed easy to get in and out of. Fitted with a multi-zone cold foam mattress over a cup-slatted bedframe sleeping comfort is assured.

Star Line _Bed -singles

Side and front curtains lower with the bed and another pair closes off the rest of the motorhome for privacy.

The safety net provided will come in handy should young children use the bed. The bed is unobtrusive in the raised position and can be left made up when raised.

Kitchen

Star Line _Kitchen

The kitchen is tucked into the corner behind the dinette. It has a ‘solid-surface’ bench top with an unusual sink that has straight vertical sides made from the same material as the bench top.

The three-hob LPG cooktop with a two-piece glass lid is mounted left of the sink. Storage is excellent with half a dozen drawers below the bench and a couple of cupboards above, plus a dedicated home for a Nespresso coffee capsule machine that lowers to bench height for ease of use. An attractive acrylic splashback protects the wall behind the bench top.

At the end of the bench are two narrow pull-out pantries with shelves fitted with fiddle rails to hold the contents in place.

Bathroom

Star Line -B690_Shower

Hymer has opted for a split bathroom with the shower stall kerbside and the toilet and vanity compartment opposite.

This compartment door swings through 90 degrees and closes off the bedroom from the rest of the motorhome. The corner mirror plays tricks creating the impression the bathroom is much bigger than it is.

It has a lovely ambience, the result of a careful combination of medium dark timber here, indirectly lit ivory walls there, and with a smidgen of silver railing highlights thrown in.

Understated luxury with all the essentials: cabinets and cupboards for personal things, hooks for towels and clothes, a heater outlet and, of course, a toilet and handbasin.

Opposite is the shower, looking modest in appearance by comparison to the bathroom. However, it is a decent size and has an opaque shower door for privacy.

Fitted with a one-piece wooden duckboard on the floor and clothes drying racks beneath the roof hatch in the ceiling, it is both useful and practical.

Main bed

Star Line -B690_Drop -down -bed

Like the bed over the cab, the main bed has a cold foam mattress over a cup-slatted bedframe for ultimate comfort.

Steps either side of the bed make it easier to get into and out of bed. There is a cubbyhole on each side for personal items and a shelf in front of the side lockers for resting your morning cup of tea.

There are lots of places to put your clothes and other bits and pieces: a couple of overhead lockers, space under the mattress, drawers at the foot of the bed, and a tall narrow cupboard beside the bathroom.

Opening windows each side plus a large roof hatch over the bed keep the bedroom well aired. And to keep you up to speed in the digital age, there are a 230-volt power point, a USB port, and a 12-volt power point above the bedhead.

The twin single bed option (the B680) has similar appointments to the B690 except the three drawers under the island bed are replaced with five additional overhead lockers. And there is also storage under the foot of each bed: kerbside has shelves and driver’s side, a wardrobe.

The twin single beds can be converted to an enormous double bed. It is a great option but it is more difficult to get into the big bed because the centre infill cushions block the twin singles access steps. Instead, a ladder is used to provide access.

Verdict

Star Line -B690_Entry -door

The StarLine B680/690 are certified self-contained ready to head ‘off-grid’ on adventure holidays.

Fitted out with the latest Alde heating system, a large 160-litre Dometic fridge/freezer, and all the other essential items for the task at hand, it promises to be a most enjoyable experience.

Starline B680 and B690 Specifications

Vehicle make/model Hymer Starline B680 and B690
Engine 3L turbo diesel
Transmission 7-speed full auto
Berths Four
Approx. overall length 7970mm
Approx. overall height 3000mm
Tanks

170L fresh
140L grey

Gas 2 x 9kg LPG bottles
GVM 5300kg

Price (as reviewed): $279,900

Pluses

  • Large uncluttered rear garage, low floor, good height
  • Fold down bed over the cab
  • Lovely kitchen, adequate bench space, plenty of storage

Minuses

  • Untidy shelf between dashboard and windscreen

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