Hymer isn't the only manufacturer that has gotten off to a quick start in turning the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter into a gear-hauling adventure camper. Germany's La Strada has built its flagship Regent S into the third-gen Sprinter platform. The new camper van rolls as a smart, sleek two-sleeper with a bathroom and convertible rear bedroom for carrying bikes, surfboards and other large sports gear. It'll soon come in all-wheel drive, making for a fully capable adventure rig and base camp.

The more we look at camper vans, the more we realize how the subtle, little alterations can really make a big difference. The Düsseldorf Caravan Salon was absolutely packed with reasonably priced camper vans with similar layouts and features, but many individual models managed to stand out thanks to these types of subtle but substantive differences.

The 19.4-foot (5.9-m) Regent S was one of them, offering its own interpretation of the very popular foldaway rear bed, seen on the Hymer Grand Canyon S, Volkswagen Grand California and plenty other Euro-market camper vans. Such side-folding bed designs are useful in clearing out space for carrying bikes and other tall cargo in back. La Strada's Regent S design is a little more neatly integrated than average.

The folding section of the 78 x 57-in (198 x 144-cm) bed has an under panel that matches the interior furniture and trim, so when it folds against the side, it fits in like the final piece of the aesthetic puzzle. Instead of a white mattress sticking out like a sore thumb, you end up with a seamless rear wall. It's a minor improvement, but when you're trying to feel at home inside the cold metal of a van, minor improvements can help.

Moving forward in the van, the kitchen block and wet bath are located across from each other just fore of the transverse rear bed. The kitchen packs in a triple-burner stove right next to the sink, giving it a little extra cooking power over the two-burners more common in compact campers. A 65-L compressor fridge/freezer sits at standing height to the right, offering easier access than an under-counter fridge. Five soft-close drawers and upper cabinets fill out the kitchen area.

The Regent S dining area includes a two-seat bench with adjustable seating, a removable tabletop and swivel driver cab seats. The fold-down storage compartment above the driver cab stows away to open up plenty of headroom and living space.

The Regent S comes standard with a Truma Combi 4 heat/hot water system, 100-L fresh water tank, 70-L waste water tank and 100-Ah gel battery. It benefits from standard and available Sprinter technologies like MBUX infotainment with voice control, Distronic adaptive cruise control, parking assistance and active lane keeping assist. Base price slides in at €66,900 (approx. US$77,450) with the 161-hp 2.2-liter CDI diesel engine. La Strada also offers the larger 188-hp 3.0-liter diesel engine (€3,975) and will add the AWD option (€13,365) as soon as Mercedes starts delivering Sprinter 4x4s.

The model on show in Düsseldorf packed a long list of add-ons, including a 7G-tronic auto transmission in place of the standard manual, parking package with 360-degree camera, 100-watt solar system, upgraded climate control, awning and larger 150-Ah battery, boosting the sticker price to €100,174 ($116,000).

Source: La Strada

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