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Discoverer 4

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Words and photography Mark Samuel

Updated Discoverer 4 from Motorhome-World.

A weekend excursion to the Outdoor Expo at Kam’bati gave us the ideal excuse to try out the upgraded edition of Motorhome-World’s Discoverer 4. This model is the quintessential ‘go-to guy’ in their fleet.

I took my brother along on this motorhome review trip. Naturally the space in the living quarters of the Discoverer 4 is a little limited for two six-foot-plus guys. But it’s all well planned, configured and laid out, and shows a true understanding on the designer’s part of what makes a motorhome ‘work’ from a living-space perspective.
As I tap away at my keyboard, brother is whipping up some breakfast, and the rain outside is pattering on the roof and side walls – so inside isn’t a bad place to be. I can see the other campers at Kam’bati through the huge rear dinette windows, and they are the epitome of misery as they pack away their soaking tents and groundsheets. When we’re ready to up and leave, with tummies full of pancakes, it’ll be a simple case of unplugging the power cable, picking up the little access step and driving away. What a pleasure!
Discoverer 4

Mr Bus Driver

Settling in behind the steering wheel of one of Motorhome- World’s larger motorhomes is a fantastic feeling: you’re high up, and the elevated seating position, combined with the big windscreen, means you can see far and wide – and that’s a great asset when touring through game reserves where the grass on the roadside has grown tall.
Although the Discoverer 4 is larger than a big SUV or even an oversized double-cab, it’s by no means difficult to drive. Obviously you need to be aware of the dimensions, specifically the two rear corners, when you’re reversing or driving through traffic. Also, don’t drive into any shopping mall’s covered parking area, because you’re not going to fit.

What’s new?

Those familiar with motorhomes will most likely know this model. But since we last reviewed a Discoverer 4, a few things have changed.
First, the manufacturer has done away with the painted cupboard frames, and the furniture now has an all-wood finish. Where possible, rounded, solid wood corners have been added to the bottom of the eye-level cupboards and to the vertical edges of the furniture. The doors on the top cupboards are also closer together, which means that the vertical dividing pillars can no longer be seen. Basically, it’s a lot easier on the eye, and more in line with international design styles. Smooth-sliding telescopic ball-bearing runners have been fitted to the drawers – and this really adds a heightened level of elegance.

Immediately noticeable is the new bathroom door, which is aluminium-framed, with a translucent white Perspex fulllength inset.

All cupboard and hatch door latches boast a bigger push-button that’s more comfortable to use: once clicked into the ‘out’ position, it’s also easier to grip in order to open the door.
Edging, counters and tabletops feature better-flowing curves; both the front and rear dinette tables are slightly oval, which makes climbing in and out of the seats less of a squeeze.
The motorhome is homologated for four people, and the two rear seats have been reshaped, making them without doubt more comfortable for long road journeys. They’re also a bit wider – or is the tactful term ‘generously proportioned’? Now they have three-point safety belts, instead of the old lap-belts, which is a big step forward from a safety perspective.

A new fold-out (instead of slide-out) method is used to convert the front dinette into a double-bed. However, this bed is still quite short, and if you’re tall, like us, you’ll need to lie diagonally. This isn’t easy if there are two sharing the bed. I had the pleasure of stretching out on the rear double bed.

The bathroom, with basin, mirror and shower, boasts a new Thetford C250 flush toilet. This model has a cassette with an extendable carry handle, and the waste tank has wheels! A new Fiamma Turbo roof vent is mounted above the rear dinette, which can be set to move air in or out.
Infused paper honeycomb technology, the latest of its kind, has been used in the construction of the tables, kitchen tops and smaller cupboards, and this has meant a saving in weight, allowing, in turn, a reduction in the tare. Because of the extensive use throughout of natural materials, like wood, there can be slight fluctuations in the tare figure from model to model. A standard Discoverer 4 varies between 2850 and 2950 kg, which means a payload of around 650 to 750 kg. And yes, you can drive this motorhome with a standard light motor vehicle driver’s licence, with a B or an EB code.

Solid performer

So what makes this one of my favourite locally made motorhomes? Simply put, it’s the build quality, mainly. Even on the most corrugated of gravel roads, I never once felt like the motorhome was going to collapse behind me and fall off the chassis. Sure, as with any motorhome there was a fair degree of noise, with pots rattling in the cupboards, doors shaking and general noise from the back – but look, this isn’t a pin-dropquiet luxury sedan. Nevertheless, all side walls, cabinet walls, countertops, cupboard doors and latches proved their resilience and were still in place after we’d completed our route.

I heard an account a while ago about an unfortunate collision between a Discoverer motorhome and an ox in Botswana. The vehicle and cab section of the motorhome were a write-off, but the living section had been so strongly built that it was salvaged, removed from the wreck, and placed on a new chassis. Impressive. This model offers travellers sleeping space for four, in the form of two double beds – a large bed in the far rear, and a slightly smaller bed just behind the cab. The kitchenette has enough counter space, and a glass-covered Smev sink with hot and cold water. There’s also a Dometic two-plate gas stove top that has a fold-down glass top for when you’re not using it. (Yes, don’t try to cook on top of the glass!) A compact 80-litre fridge-freezer comes standard. Eye-level cabinets surround the living quarters, and there’s a large hatch above the driver’s cab for bulky items, including the additional mattress cushions for the front bed, plus pillows and duvets.

The bathroom is basically a wet room – but to keep the toilet dry there’s a curtain you can draw across. I’d just suggest removing the toilet roll from the holder when you shower. There’s also a cabinet, basin and mirror. The tap in the basin doubles as the shower rose: you mount the hand unit on a catch at head height.

To keep you cool, an aircon is fitted as standard, but it only works when you’re hooked up to 220 V mains power at your campsite. The same goes for the microwave. The geyser uses gas or 220 V electricity.

Options

Though Motorhome-World is a production-line manufacturer, there are one or two layout options available for private buyers. If you want a larger fridge-freezer, for example, a 190-litre unit can be fitted, which occupies the hanging cupboard space that’s normally above the smaller fridge.

There are also one or two cupboard configuration options. Liaise with the guys at Motorhome-World when you contact them. And of course there is an optional extra list, which includes items like a grey-water tank system, a larger fresh-water tank, a second spare wheel and a 30-litre convection microwave.

Our test unit had a five-speed manual gearbox and a 2.3‑litre turbo-diesel engine, which delivered a fuel consumption reading of 10.6 l/100 km, excellent for a vehicle of this size. There is a sixspeed manual version available, which will make touring even more relaxing.

An alternative to the Iveco chassis is a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, though the Merc only comes with a manual transmission.

And the great news? Well, if you’re considering investing in one of these, but aren’t yet sure, why not rent before you buy, to see if the lifestyle is for you? Contact Bobo Camper Rentals, who are closely affiliated to Motorhome-World

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